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Drimys lanceolata - (Poir.)Baill.

Common Name Mountain Pepper
Family Winteraceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Moist places in mountain forests and also in alpine zones to 1500 metres[152].
Range Australia - New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade
Drimys lanceolata Mountain Pepper

Drimys lanceolata Mountain Pepper


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Drimys lanceolata is an evergreen Shrub growing to 4.5 m (14ft) by 2.5 m (8ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 8. It is in leaf all year, in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). . The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


D. aromatica. (R.Br.)Muell. non Murray. Tasmannia aromatica. Winteriana lanceolata.

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Hedge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Seed
Edible Uses: Condiment

The fruit and seed are used as a pepper and allspice substitute[1, 2, 11, 46, 61, 105, 183]. A pungent flavour[183, 193]. The aromatic berries are edible according to one report[238], whilst another says that they taste somewhat like cinnamon.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiscorbutic  Stomachic

Antiscorbutic, stomachic[152].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Hedge  Hedge  Wood

This species makes an excellent windbreak in woodland, it is widely grown as a hedge in mild temperate regions[238]. Wood - soft, only moderate strength[154].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Hedge  Hedge  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Requires a light lime-free soil in semi-shade[200]. Prefers a fertile moist but well-drained soil[188]. A fairly hardy species, surviving very cold winters in various parts of the country so long as it is in a suitable position[120]. It tolerates temperatures down to about -15°c[184], but plants are liable to be damaged in cold winters. This species is hardier than D. winteri according to one report[120] whilst another says that it is less hardy than D. winteri[200]. All parts of the plant are very aromatic and pungent[182, 184]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Plants are usually dioecious though monoecious and hermaphrodite forms are known. Male and female plants must usually be grown if seed is required.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a greenhouse[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10 - 15 cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Approximately 60% take[78]. Layering in March/April. Takes 12 months[78]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth with a heel of older wood, November in a cold frame[78].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Australia, Tasmania*,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Drimys insipidaBrush PepperbushShrub6.0 -  LMHSNM00 
Drimys winteriWinter's BarkShrub7.5 7-10 MLMSM323

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

peter coxhead   Fri Nov 1 22:39:20 2002

Hi The information above is incorrect about this plant in regards to flowering time , seed ripening time and propogation The flowers occur in the natural state....Oct/Nov The seeds ripen in the natural state......Apr/May This may have occurred because it is naturally found in the southern hemisphere....your info above is correct for the northern hemisphere where it is not naturally found As for propogation....it is difficult to germinate because it normally needs to go through the digestive tract of a bird You can soak for a day or two in either vinegar or urine before sowing or better still use cuttings to strike....the cuttings may form a ball at the base but still not form roots ....if this occurs then gently scratch this ball and replant....roots will then strike from your scratch You could also try feeding some seeds to a duck and collect the seeds fro her droppings

   Sun Apr 3 17:22:30 2005

Is this plant deer proof?

Chris Read   Tue Jan 16 2007

The botanical pedant will criticise the use of an obsolete latin binomial. The species was renamed in the late sixties as Tasmannia lanceolata. The genus Drimys is confined to South America.

Diemen Pepper Site includes info about the plant and some commercial content

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Sat Jan 20 2007

Here is a case where the botanists have still to make their minds up about a name. As Chris states, the name Tasmannia lanceolata was proposed for this plant in the 1960's. Whilst some botanists felt that this and a number of other plants that had been included in the genus Drimys were sufficiently distinct to warrant a new genus, other botanists disagreed and have continued to classify this plant in the genus Drimys. When deciding which name to use, we consult a number of authoritative databases. The overall concensus of these databases is that this plant remains as Drimys lanceolata.

Sherry Godfrey   Sun Sep 2 2007

I purchased this plant from Inverewe Gardens, Poolewe. This plant came from Osgood Hanbury MacKenzies own stock at these world famous gardens which are situated on 58 degrees latitude. I intend to plant it in my garden in Lauder in the Borders so will keep you posted on how he does further south and as a centre piece in my garden. Thank you for the information.

Jay   Thu Nov 27 2008

Hi there... I have several Drimys lanceolatas planted in gardens around lake winderemere area Cumbria and they are very happy attractive plants especialy when planted with pittosporum tenuifoliums or Crinodendrons Happy gardening

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