Please donate to support our ‘Plants to Save the Planet’ Project. The Project is directed at enabling designers of ‘carbon farms’ and ‘food forests’: agroecosystems of perennial plants, to choose the most appropriate plants for their requirements and site conditions. We are working on a subset of plants in the PFAF database identified as having the most potential for inclusion in such designs. We are adding search terms and icons to those plants pages, and providing a range of search options aligned to categories of plants and crop yields, with Help facilities including videos. More >>>

Follow Us:


Schinus molle - L.

Common Name California Peppertree, Peruvian peppertree
Family Anacardiaceae
USDA hardiness 8-12
Known Hazards The seed contains an allergenic substance that can irritate the mucus membrane[200].
Habitats Dry regions in the Andes, it is found as a bush in dry lands but reaches tree size in dry river beds with accessible underground water[200].
Range Southern and western S. America - Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Schinus molle California Peppertree, Peruvian peppertree
Schinus molle California Peppertree, Peruvian peppertree


Translate this page:


Bloom Color: White, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early fall, Late fall, Mid fall. Form: Rounded.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Schinus molle is an evergreen Tree growing to 8 m (26ft) by 8 m (26ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 9. It is in leaf all year, in flower from April to June. 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), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map



Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Inner bark  Oil  Stem
Edible Uses: Condiment  Drink  Gum  Oil

The dried and roasted berries are used as a pepper substitute[46, 177, 181, 183, 200]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. An (essential?) oil distilled from the fruit is used as a spice in baked goods and candy[183]. The fruits are pulverised and used in cooling drinks called 'horchatas' in S. America[2, 46, 183]. A wine is made from the twigs and another from the berries[2]. A gum that exudes from the bark is used for chewing[46, 177].


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.
Antiemetic  Antirheumatic  Appetizer  Digestive  Miscellany  Purgative

A resinous gum obtained from the bark has been used in folk medicine to treat digestive disorders[229]. A purgative known as 'American Mastic' is obtained from the tree[245]. This report is probably linked to the one above[K].


Our new book Edible Shrubs is now available.

Edible Shrubs provides detailed information, attractively presented, on over 70 shrub species. They have been selected to provide a mix of different plant sizes and growing conditions. Most provide delicious and nutritious fruit, but many also have edible leaves, seeds, flowers, stems or roots, or they yield edible or useful oil.

Read More

Edible Shrubs Book

Other Uses

Gum  Miscellany  Oil

An oil from the leaves reduces the surface tension of water[200].

Special Uses

Scented Plants


Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Specimen. Prefers a well-drained soil in full sun[200]. It likes growing in sandy soils[188] and succeeds in a hot dry position[166]. A fast-growing tree[188] in its native habitat, though it is likely to be much slower in areas where it is marginally hardy[K]. This species is not very hardy outdoors in Britain, though it can succeed when grown against a sunny wall in the milder areas of the country[166, 200]. The oily leaves smell and taste of pepper when they are crushed[245]. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Special Features: Not North American native, Naturalizing, Attractive flowers or blooms.


Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

Shop Now


Seed - we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a warm greenhouse in mid spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter before planting out in early summer[K]. Cuttings of almost ripe wood, 8cm with a heel, August to early September in a frame. Fair to good percentage[78].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Peruvian Peppertree, California Pepper, Peppercorn, Peruvian Mastic Tree, Aguaribay, Brazilian mastic tree, Californian pepper, Hucchu menasina mara, Mirimiri, Mpilipili, Muelle, Mugaita, Mulli, Peperboom, Pepper tree, Peppercorn, Pimiento Falso, Pink peppercorns, Pirul, Qundo, aguaribai, aguaribay, anacahuita, aroeira-do-amazonas, aroeira-folha-de-salso, aroeiro-mole, baie rose, california pepper tree, california pepper-tree, california peppertree, californian pepper tree, chichita péndula, chichita sauce, corneiva, curanguay, false pepper tree, falso pimentero, faux poivrier, ipepile, molle, molée des jardins, mulli, pepper tree, pepper-tree, peppercorn, peppertree, peruvian mastic tree, peruvian mastic-tree, peruvian pepper tree, peruvian peppertree, peruvian-mastictree, pfefferbaum, pimenteira-do-peru, pimentero, pimientero falso, pirul, schinus molle, umngcunube, árbol de la pimienta.

Found In

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

Peru, Africa, Algeria, Andes, Argentina, Asia, Australia, Botswana, Brazil*, Bolivia, Canada, Central America, Chile, Colombia, East Africa, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Europe, France, Gambia, Greece, Hawaii, India, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Mediterranean, Mexico, North Africa, North America, Pacific, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru*, Portugal, Somalia, South Africa, Southern Africa, South America, Spain, Tanzania, Tasmania, Uganda, Uruguay, Turkey, USA, Venezuela, West Africa, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe,

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 : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Schinus polygamusHuigen, Hardee peppertreeShrub4.5 7-10  LMHSNDM11 

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.


Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment



Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

Readers comment

Arne Skytt Andersen   Mon Nov 29 14:30:20 2004

"molle" probably means soft in latin, but Linne named the plant after a peruvian name (Mullie) for the tree (ref. Bailey STD encl. Horticulture, 1935)

Peter Wendes   Mon Aug 14 2006

I brought some seeds back from California, and now have 6 healthy seedlings, raised inddors on a sunny windowsill. I'm wondering if it would be safe to plant some of these outside in the Spring, and whether there are any mature trees outside in the UK. I live on the South coast. Best wishes Peter

Jenny Neal   Thu Feb 21 2008

There is an extremely large tree (20 metres high) growing in an olive grove in South West Crete(Mylos, Paleochora). I have been carrying out a botany project here in South West Crete and the locals asked me if I could identify the tree.

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.

3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the website on their phone.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Schinus molle  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.
Web Design & Management