Back to Biodiversity Explorer main pageGo to Iziko Museums of Cape Town home pageAbout Biodiversity Explorer - history, goals, etc.Send us your questions about southern African biodiversityPeople who have contributed content and images.Search Biodiversity Explorer

Schinus (Pepper tree genus)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Order: Sapindales > Family: Anacardiaceae

About 25 species, native to South and Central America. Two species have become naturalised in southern Africa: Schinus molle (Pepper Tree) and Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian Pepper Tree). A further species is cultivated in the region.

Species naturalised in southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI)

Schinus molle (Pepper tree)

Native from Mexico to Argentina. Fruit are used for producing red pepper but can be toxic if eaten in quantity. See Flora of Zimbabwe.


Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree) 

Native to Brazil. See Flora of Zimbabwe.

Other species, cultivated in southern Africa

Information from Glen (2002).

Schinus polygamus (Chilean pepper tree)

Native to Bolivia and Chile.



  • Barkley, F.A. 1944. Schinus L. Brittonia 5, 2: 160-198.

  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.


Contact us if you can contribute information or images to improve this page.

Biodiversity Explorer home   Iziko home   Search