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Datasheet

Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 11 October 2017
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Pest
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Schinus terebinthifolius
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Brazilian pepper tree
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • S. terebinthifolia, native to South America, is now a highly invasive species that has proved to be a serious weed in South Africa, and the United States (i.e., California, Florida and Hawaii). It is also noted...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); mature fruits and foliage.
TitleFruits
CaptionSchinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); mature fruits and foliage.
Copyright©Sheldon Navie
Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); mature fruits and foliage.
FruitsSchinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); mature fruits and foliage.©Sheldon Navie
Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); habit.
TitleHabit
CaptionSchinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); habit.
Copyright©Sheldon Navie
Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); habit.
HabitSchinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); habit.©Sheldon Navie
Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); typical foliage.
TitleLeaves
CaptionSchinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); typical foliage.
Copyright©Sheldon Navie
Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); typical foliage.
LeavesSchinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); typical foliage.©Sheldon Navie
Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); typical bark.
TitleBark
CaptionSchinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); typical bark.
Copyright©Sheldon Navie
Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); typical bark.
BarkSchinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); typical bark.©Sheldon Navie
Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); flower spike.
TitleFlowers
CaptionSchinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); flower spike.
Copyright©Sheldon Navie
Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); flower spike.
FlowersSchinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); flower spike.©Sheldon Navie
Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); typical male flowers.
TitleMale flowers
CaptionSchinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); typical male flowers.
Copyright©Sheldon Navie
Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); typical male flowers.
Male flowersSchinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); typical male flowers.©Sheldon Navie
Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); female flowers and immature green fruits.
TitleFemale flowers
CaptionSchinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); female flowers and immature green fruits.
Copyright©Sheldon Navie
Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); female flowers and immature green fruits.
Female flowersSchinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); female flowers and immature green fruits.©Sheldon Navie
Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); immature green fruits.
TitleFruit
CaptionSchinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); immature green fruits.
Copyright©Sheldon Navie
Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); immature green fruits.
FruitSchinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); immature green fruits.©Sheldon Navie
Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); leaf, typical of a young plant.
TitleLeaf
CaptionSchinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); leaf, typical of a young plant.
Copyright©Sheldon Navie
Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); leaf, typical of a young plant.
LeafSchinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper tree); leaf, typical of a young plant.©Sheldon Navie

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi

Preferred Common Name

  • Brazilian pepper tree

Other Scientific Names

  • Sarcotheca bahiensis Turcz.
  • Schinus mellisii Engl.
  • Schinus mucronulatus Mart.
  • Schinus terebinthifolia Raddi
  • Schinus terebinthifolius var. damaziana Beauverd
  • Schinus terebinthifolius var. raddiana Engl.
  • Schinus weinmanniifolius Mart.

International Common Names

  • English: broadleaf pepper tree
  • Spanish: copal; pimienta de Brasil
  • French: baie rose; encent; faux poivrier; poivre marron; poivre rose; poivrier d'Amérique; poivrier du Bresil

Local Common Names

  • Argentina: chichita
  • Bahamas: Christmas-berry tree
  • Brazil: abacaíba; aguaraíba; araguaraíba; aroeira; aroeira; aroeira da praia; aroeira do sertao; aroeira mansa; aroeira negra; aroeira pimenteira; aroeira preta; aroeira vermelha; aroeira-braba; aroeira-branca; aroeira-comum; aroeira-corneíba; aroeira-da-praia; aroeira-de-minas; aroeira-de-remédio; aroeira-de-sabiá; aroeira-do-brejo; aroeira-do-campo; aroeira-do-paraná; aroeira-do-sertao; aroeira-fria; aroeira-legítima; aroeira-mansa; aroeira-negra; aroeira-pimenteira; aroeira-precoce; aroeira-preta; aroeira-rasteira; aroeira-vermelha; aroeirinha; aroeirinha; aroeirinha-do-campo; aroeirinha-preta; arundeúva; arvore-da-pimenta; bálsamo; bugre; cabuí; cambuí; coraçao-de-bugre; corneíba; falsa-aroeira; fruta-de-cutia; fruta-de-raposa; fruta-de-sabiá; jejuíra; lentisco; pau-de-bugre; pimenteira-do-peru
  • Cuba: copal; falso copal; racimos de rubí
  • Fiji: warui
  • Germany: Brasilianischer Pfefferbaum
  • Paraguay: molle-i
  • South Africa: Brasiliaanse peperboom
  • USA: Bahamian holly; Christmasberry tree; Florida holly
  • USA/Hawaii: naniohilo; wilelaiki

EPPO code

  • SCITE (Schinus terebinthifolius)

Trade name

  • Brazilian pepper tree

Summary of Invasiveness

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S. terebinthifolia, native to South America, is now a highly invasive species that has proved to be a serious weed in South Africa, and the United States (i.e., California, Florida and Hawaii). It is also noted as invasive in Spain, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific, Caribbean and Indian Ocean islands where present. The tree has an attractive appearance and has been introduced as an ornamental and street tree. Although it is not invasive in its native range (Cronk and Fuller, 1995), it has become an aggressive woody weed in exotic locations, displacing native vegetation as well as rapidly invading disturbed sites, often naturalizing (Ferriter and Clark, 1997). High growth rate, wide environmental tolerance, prolific seed production, a high germination rate, shade tolerant seedlings, attraction of biotic dispersal agents, possible allelopathy and the ability to form dense thickets all contribute to this species' success in its exotic range. It has also been found to invade pastures in its native range (Santos et al., 2006). The species should be monitored where introduced but not yet regarded as invasive.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Sapindales
  •                         Family: Anacardiaceae
  •                             Genus: Schinus
  •                                 Species: Schinus terebinthifolius

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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S. terebinthifolia is a member of the Anacardiaceae (cashew family) and is among 873 species in 81 genera (Stevens, 2012). Members of the Anacardiaceae family may be fairly readily recognized because of their often black and/or rather resinous-smelling exudate. The leaves are often odd-pinnate and the leaflets are opposite to alternate. The flowers are small, and the fruits often have an excentric style or styles and are often more or less flattened and single-seeded drupes (Stevens, 2012). 

Description

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S. terebinthifolia is an evergreen shrub or small tree, 3-10 m tall (occasionally 15 m) with a trunk 10-30 cm diameter (occasionally 60 cm). Bark gray, smooth or becoming furrowed into long narrow flat ridges. Twigs light brown, finely hairy when young, with many raised dots (lenticels). Sap aromatic, resinous, suggesting turpentine, turning blackish upon exposure. Leaves alternate pinnate 7.5–15 cm long, with narrowly winged green finely hairy axis of 2.5–7.5 cm and mostly 5, 7, or 9 (3–13 or more in varieties) stalk less leaflets paired except at end. Leaflets are glabrous, elliptical or oblong, 2.5–5 cm long and 1.3–2 cm wide, the largest at the end of the leaf to 7.5 cm by 2.5 cm, short-pointed at both ends, often with inconspicuous small blunt teeth toward apex, slightly thickened, hairless or nearly so, upper surface shiny green with several straight side veins, and lower surface dull light green. Flower clusters (panicles) mostly at base of upper leaves, 2.5–10 cm long, much branched, composed of many short-stalked flowers, male and female on different plants (dioecious). Flower about 3 mm long and broad consists of calyx of five tiny pointed green sepals; corolla of five spreading white petals less than 3 mm long; 10 stamens attached at base of large ring-shaped disk; and pistil with rounded ovary, short style, and dot stigma. Fruits (drupes) many in dense clusters, bright red, with calyx at base, with aromatic resinous brown pulp, slightly bitter, 4-5 mm in diameter. Seed single, elliptical, light brown, less than 3 mm long (Little and Skolmen, 2003). 

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub
Tree
Vegetatively propagated
Woody

Distribution

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S. terebinthifolia is native to central and eastern South America including Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay (USDA-ARS, 2007). It has been widely introduced to many parts of North America, Africa, Australasia, Europe, West Indies, and the Pacific and there are records of the species having naturalized and become invasive in each of these regions. It is present in, but probably introduced to, Bolivia and Chile. It is also recorded from Sicily, Italy (Polizzi et al., 2001), Spain and Portugal and may be more widespread in Mediterranean and sub-tropical regions than indicated in the distribution list.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

China
-Hong KongPresentIntroducedWu, 2001Cultivated as an ornamental
IsraelPresentIntroducedCABI, 2005
JapanPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2007Bonin (Ogaswara) Islands
SingaporePresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedChong et al., 2009

Africa

AlgeriaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014Cultivated
AngolaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014Cultivated
BotswanaPresentIntroducedBuss, 2002
EgyptPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014Cultivated
KenyaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014Cultivated
MauritiusPresentIntroduced Invasive Cronk and Fuller, 1995; PIER, 2007
MayottePresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
MozambiquePresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014Cultivated
NamibiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Bethune et al., 2004
RéunionPresentIntroduced Invasive Weber, 2003; PIER, 2007
Saint HelenaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014Cultivated
South AfricaPresentIntroduced Invasive Henderson, 2001; Linden et al., 2008Invasive in Zululand, where it occurs 'frequently in the open coastal thornveld but [is] absent from the closed coastal thornveld '
Spain
-Canary IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive DAISIE, 2014
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014Cultivated
UgandaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014Cultivated

North America

BermudaPresentIntroduced Invasive Kairo et al., 2003
MexicoPresentIntroducedCABI, 2005
USARestricted distributionIntroduced1832 Invasive Luken and Thieret, 1997
-CaliforniaPresentIntroduced Invasive Luken and Thieret, 1997; USDA-NRCS, 2007
-FloridaWidespreadIntroduced1891 Invasive Cronk and Fuller, 1995; USDA-NRCS, 2007
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedbefore 1911 Invasive Cronk and Fuller, 1995; Luken and Thieret, 1997
-TexasPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2007

Central America and Caribbean

BahamasPresentIntroduced Invasive BEST Commission, 2003; Kairo et al., 2003
British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012; USDA-ARS, 2014Anegada. Naturalized
CubaPresentIntroduced Invasive Martinez et al., 1996; Kairo et al., 2003; Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014Naturalized
HaitiPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014Naturalized
JamaicaPresentIntroduced Invasive IABIN, 2003
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Francis and Liogier, 1991; Kairo et al., 2003; USDA-NRCS, 2007
United States Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012; USDA-ARS, 2014St John, St Croix

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeCronk and Fuller, 1995; USDA-ARS, 2007
BoliviaPresentIntroducedCABI, 2005
BrazilWidespreadNativeCronk and Fuller, 1995
-AlagoasPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2007
-BahiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2007
-CearaPresentNativeSilva-Luz and Pirani, 2014
-Espirito SantoPresentNativeCABI, 2005
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNativeCABI, 2005
-Minas GeraisPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2007
-ParaibaPresentNativeSilva-Luz and Pirani, 2014
-ParanaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2007
-PernambucoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2007
-PiauiPresentNativeSilva-Luz and Pirani, 2014
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2007
-Rio Grande do NortePresentNativeCABI, 2005
-Rio Grande do SulPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2007
-Santa CatarinaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2007
-Sao PauloPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2007
-SergipePresentNativeCABI, 2005
ChilePresentIntroducedCABI, 2005
ParaguayPresentNativeCronk and Fuller, 1995; USDA-ARS, 2007
UruguayPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2007

Europe

ItalyRestricted distributionIntroduced Not invasive Polizzi et al., 2001Sicily
MaltaPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2014Cultivated and Naturalized
PortugalPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2014Cultivated and Naturalized
SpainPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2014Cultivated and Naturalized

Oceania

American SamoaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014Cultivated
AustraliaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2007
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 2007
-New South WalesPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2007; Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 2007
-QueenslandPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2007; Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 2007
-VictoriaPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 2007
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 2007
FijiPresentIntroducedPIER, 2007
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2007
GuamPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2007
Johnston IslandPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2007
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2007
Midway IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2007
New CaledoniaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2007
New ZealandPresentIntroduced Invasive Owen, 1996; PIER, 2007
Norfolk IslandPresentIntroduced Invasive Cronk and Fuller, 1995; PIER, 2007
SamoaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2007
US Minor Outlying IslandsPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014Cultivated
VanuatuPresentIntroducedPIER, 2007

History of Introduction and Spread

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S. terebinthifolia was introduced into Florida as an ornamental in 1840. It was noted as invasive as early as the 1950s and now covers at least 280,000 ha (Williams et al., 2005). Molecular analysis reveals two separate introduction events, with one population originating from the Brazilian coast at approximately 27°S and the other from an as yet unidentified origin, although there is now considerable hybridization between the two (Williams et al., 2005). In Hawaii S. terebinthifolia was introduced before 1911 as an ornamental. It has escaped widely in dry lowlands and now is very common in Kau and North Kona on Hawaii, southeastern Maui, and on Oahu near Mokuleia (Little and Skolmen, 2003). In the West Indies, this species was first recorded in 1849 and by 1915 it had been collected in Puerto Rico and Cuba (US National Herbarium).  

Risk of Introduction

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Given the high degree of invasiveness shown by the species in locations such as Florida (USA), it would be prudent to monitor behaviour in other countries and to conduct thorough risk assessments before any further introduction in new countries with similar climate and environment regimes. S. terebinthifolia has been listed as one of the “100 World’s Worst Invaders” by the IUCN (ISSG, 2011) and currently it is declared a noxious weed in parts of the USA, including in Florida, California, Texas and Hawaii (USDA-NRCS, 2007). In Australia it is invasive in Queensland and is declared a W2 noxious weed in northeastern New South Wales. In South Africa, S. terebinthifolia is a declared invasive in Kwazulu-Natal and a category 3 invader across the rest of the country (Henderson, 2001). It appears on invasive species lists for Puerto Rico (Francis and Liogier, 1991), Jamaica, Bermuda, Bahamas, and Cuba (Kairo et al., 2003), as well as in the Canary Islands and on several islands in the Pacific and Indian Ocean (ISSG, 2011).  

Habitat

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It its native range S. terebinthifolia is a colonist of open areas, and is particularly found on forest borders and river margins, associated with damp soils and riparian forest habitats, although it may also appear as a dry savannah plant. Cronk and Fuller (1995) report a broader ecological tolerance in regions where it has been introduced and become invasive, enabling colonization of a wider range of habitat types including farmed land, mangrove, pineland, grassland, coastal wetlands, riparian systems, forests and roadsides (Cronk and Fuller, 1995; Henderson, 2001; Weber, 2003). It has also been found to invade pastures in its native range (Santos et al., 2006).

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Present, no further details Natural
Mangroves Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial-managed
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
semi-natural/Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Wetlands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)

Hosts/Species Affected

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S. terebinthifolia is generally an environmental weed, though it can invade cultivated and pasture land as well as forests.


 

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for S. terebinthifolia is 2n = 28 and several cultivars have been created (Pedrosa, 1999).

Reproductive Biology

The age of first seed production may be as young as 3 years (Randall, 2003). It is a dioecious species. The flowers are pollinated by diurnal insects, including a number of dipterans (especially a syrphid fly, Palpada vinetorum in Florida), hymenopterans, and lepidopterans (Cronk and Fuller, 1995). Male and female flowers produce nectar (secreted by the floral disc). Seed production is high and the seeds are dispersed by animal vectors, particularly birds. Some authors attribute its success in Florida to the fact that its fruits are very attractive to biotic dispersers because its winter fruiting does not overlap with that of native species (Ferriter and Clark, 1997; Randall, 2003). There is a high seed germination rate and good seedling survival, partly because of the plant's ability to tolerate shade. The longevity of the seeds is generally about 5 months (Randall, 1997). Vegetative reproduction from root suckers is achieved, even when no damage to the roots has occurred (Ferriter and Clark, 1997; Randall, 2003).

Physiology and Phenology

S. terebinthifolia has a high ecological plasticity, short life cycle and very rapid growth. In dense stands, S. terebinthifolia grows more like a vine than a tree, with stem height:diameter ratios nearly twice than those observed in open-grown individuals, indicating that the biomechanical plasticity of S. terebinthifolia allows it to adapt its growth form to suit habitat conditions. Thus it can also dominate the edges of salt marshes as a sprawling shrub and maritime forests as either a free-standing tree or a woody vine (Spector and Putz, 2006). In Florida, it has been seen in flower in every month of the year, with the most intense period of flowering in the autumn season, September through November. In Australia, flowering occurs throughout the year, but mostly during spring and autumn. In the West Indies, it flowers and fruits intermittently throughout the year (Francis, 2000). In Hawaii, female plants produce abundant fruits which mature mostly in autumn and remain attached until December (Little and Skolmen, 2003).

Longevity and Activity Patterns

S. terebinthifolia is a perennial, long-lived tree. The survivorship of naturally established seedlings is very high, ranging from 66 to 100%. The tenacity of its seedlings makes it an especially difficult species to compete with, as its seedlings seem to survive for a very long time in the dense shade of an older stand where they grow, although slowly, while in openings they grow very fast (ISSG, 2011).

Associations

S. terebinthifolia is associated with mycorrhizal fungi, which aid establishment as a pioneer species (Pasqualini et al., 2007). It is also associated with many animals for seed dispersal, including the introduced red-whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) on La Reunion (Mandon-Dalger et al., 2004).

Environmental Requirements

S. terebinthifolia is a moderately frost-sensitive, tropical or sub-tropical species preferring moist conditions and full sunlight for optimal growth, though it can survive partial shade and a short dry season.

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
A - Tropical/Megathermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
40-5 0 2000

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -6 3
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 12 26
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 20 28
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 8 24

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration06number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall9502200mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Summer
Uniform

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • impeded
  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile

Notes on Natural Enemies

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CABI (2003) lists two insect species which are considered pests of intended plantings, Ceroplastes grandis and Veneza phyllopus. Insects identified feeding on the plant in its native range in Brazil include the leaflet galling psyllids Calophya terebinthifolii (Vitorino et al., 2011) and C. latiforceps (Burckhardt et al., 2011), the lepidopteran Paectes longiformis (Manrique et al., 2012) and the thrip Pseudophilithrips ichini (Manrique et al., 2014).

 

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

Water and gravity are minor dispersal agents (Ferriter and Clark, 1997).

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

Animals are the principal dispersal agents. The fruits are eaten by birds (Hasui and Hofling, 1998), including American robins accounting for a major component of the dispersal in the USA (Ferriter and Clark, 1997), whereas among mammals, both raccoons and possums are known to eat and disperse seeds (Ferriter and Clark, 1997). The attraction of S. terebinthifolia fruit to dispersers is thought to be high in Florida, USA, because production occurs at a time when native trees are not in fruit (Ferriter and Clark, 1997; Randall, 2003). In La Reunion, seed are also eaten and dispersed by the introduced red-whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) which also significantly increased germination (Mandon-Dalger et al., 2004).

Intentional Introduction

Williams et al. (2007) used molecular techniques in Florida to elucidate that spread was due to both human-mediated long distance dispersal alongside local dispersal assumed to be by animals around these foci.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Digestion and excretionBirds and other wild animals Yes Ferriter and Clark, 1997
Disturbance Yes
Flooding and other natural disastersLikely Yes Ferriter and Clark, 1997
Habitat restoration and improvement Yes
Hedges and windbreaks Yes Baggio, 1988
Ornamental purposes Yes Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
WaterMinor importance Yes Ferriter and Clark, 1997

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Animal/plant collections None
Animal/plant products None
Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Crop production None
Economic/livelihood Negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative
Fisheries / aquaculture None
Forestry production None
Human health Negative
Livestock production None
Native fauna Negative
Native flora Negative
Rare/protected species Negative
Tourism Negative
Trade/international relations None
Transport/travel None

Economic Impact

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S. terebinthifolia was estimated to cover 280,000 ha in Florida (Williams et al., 2005), and control of this species incurs an economic cost. There is also concern that the spread of this species may damage income from tourism as protected sites such as the Everglades National Park are further degraded (Ferriter and Clark, 1997). However, Florida beekeepers derive a large income from Brazilian pepper honey (Ferriter and Clark, 1997). It is also listed as a noxious weed in California, Hawaii and Texas.  

Environmental Impact

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S. terebinthifolia has become an aggressive woody weed, displacing native vegetation as well as rapidly invading disturbed sites. Henderson (2001) regards S. terebinthifolia as a potential habitat transformer. It is able to outcompete other understory species because of its tolerance of shade and drought and is able to form dense thickets (Weber, 2003). Native assemblages that are damaged include 'rare sand dune vegetation' (Luken and Thieret, 1997). S. terebinthifolia has allelopathic properties which suppress other plants’ growth (Cronk and Fuller, 1995), Morgan and Overholt (2005). For some birds and mammals the fruit is toxic (Sanchotene, 1985; Carvalho, 1994).

In Florida, it is displacing populations of endangered species such as Jacquemontia reclinata and Remirea maritima (Langeland et al., 2008), and is regarded as a serious threat to the delicate ecosystem of the Everglades National Park (Shetty et al., 2011). In the Bahamas and Bermuda, this species competes very aggressively with native plants. It forms very dense stands, casting very heavy shade, which hampers the growth of native plants principally in coastal forests and margins of mangroves. In New Zealand it is regarded as a weed for concern when occurring on conservation land. In Hawaii, S. terebinthifolia is also negatively impacting several threatened and endangered plant species such as Argyroxiphium sandwicense macrocephalum, Acaena exigua, and Alectryon micrococcus (ISSG, 2011). 

Social Impact

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S. terebinthifolia may cause allergies in sensitive people even without direct contact with its leaves and fruits. Leaves, flowers, and fruits can irritate human skin and respiratory passages. 

Risk and Impact Factors

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Impact mechanisms

  • Allelopathic
  • Causes allergic responses
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Interaction with other invasive species
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Poisoning
  • Rapid growth

Impact outcomes

  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of hydrology
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts forestry
  • Negatively impacts human health
  • Negatively impacts tourism
  • Reduced amenity values
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
  • Transportation disruption

Invasiveness

  • Abundant in its native range
  • Fast growing
  • Has a broad native range
  • Has high genetic variability
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Invasive in its native range
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Long lived
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc

Likelihood of entry/control

  • Difficult/costly to control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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S. terebinthifolia has been promoted as a wildlife food plant and for the restoration of degraded areas and especially gallery forests. The tree is also used in hedges, and is used to stabilize sand dunes on the Brazilian Atlantic coast. This species does not have significant commercial value in Brazil, but the wood is used for posts, fuelwood, charcoal and it is a source of tans and resins (Baggio, 1988). The fruits are highly appreciated as a condiment in Europe, where they are used as a substitute for black pepper (Piper nigrum; Laca-Buendia et al. 1992). However, the common 'red peppercorns' seen for sale in Europe (of a similar size to black peppercorns, and often sold in mixtures also with white pepper) are produced by Schinus molle, the false (or Peruvian) pepper tree. S. terebinthifolia is well known for its medicinal characteristics and produces good quality fodder, especially for goats, but it must be used carefully because of the toxicity of some of the plant parts. Essential oils extracted from the seeds of S. terebinthifolia have pesticidal activity against the common house fly, Musca domestica. Its antimicrobial properties have also been investigated (Martinez et al., 1996).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed
  • Forage

Environmental

  • Amenity
  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Land reclamation
  • Landscape improvement
  • Revegetation
  • Shade and shelter
  • Wildlife habitat
  • Windbreak

Fuels

  • Charcoal
  • Fuelwood

General

  • Ornamental

Human food and beverage

  • Honey/honey flora

Materials

  • Dye/tanning
  • Essential oils
  • Gum/resin
  • Wood/timber

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Wood Products

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Charcoal

Pulp

  • Short-fibre pulp

Roundwood

  • Pit props
  • Posts
  • Stakes

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Schinus molle is another widely introduced species that has also proved invasive where exotic, and although also having red fruit, the species’ are easily differentiated in the field, S. molle being generally much smaller, with drooping branches and compound leaves comprised of many narrow leaflets.

Prevention and Control

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Cultural Control

Weber (2003) lists fire as a potential control technique where S. terebinthifolia has invaded fire-adapted assemblages, and although seedlings are effectively killed (PIER, 2007), burned stumps can resprout (Cronk and Fuller, 1995). Weber (2003) also recommends the targeted removal of female trees as a way of preventing future production and dispersal of seeds into invaded habitats.

Randall (2003) cites work on the use of extended flooding periods to control S. terebinthifolia. Flooding is not effective as seedlings and trees will survive at least a two-month period of waterlogging (Mielke et al., 2005). On a specific invaded site in the Florida Everglades consisting of abandoned farmland, complete soil removal was found to prevent recolonisation of S. terebinthifolia and natural regeneration of native halophytes as compared to only partial soil removal (Dalrymple et al., 2003), though this is unlikely to be a practical or economic solution in most areas.

Mechanical Control

Removal of young S. terebinthifolia by hand pulling may be useful in the early stages of invasion; however, it is important to remove all portions of the root to prevent resprouting (Ferriter and Clark, 1997). Bulldozers are sometimes necessary but the disturbance of soil brings a risk that further invasion by exotic species may be promoted (Ferriter and Clark, 1997).

Chemical Control

S. terebinthifolia has been effectively controlled with a variety of chemicals and methods even when established (PIER, 2007), such as foliar applications of imazapyr, foliar and cut surface applications of triclopyr, dicamba and glyphosate, and basal bark applications of triclopyr. An additional advantage to chemical control over mechanical treatments is that plants are killed slowly which allows other plants to respond to increasing light and moisture availability over a couple of weeks, and dead stem can even be left to aid natural regeneration of native plants. However, Randall (2003) notes that foliar herbicides act rapidly but are less effective than other techniques except for seedlings. Ferriter and Clark (1997) provide further detailed information on herbicide techniques, products and doses. In the native range in Minas Gerais, Brazil, S. terebinthifolia invasion in pastures was 90% controlled with 2,4-D + picloram, fluroxypyr + picloram, and triclopyr alone (Santos et al., 2006).

Biological Control

Biological control has been attempted on Hawaii but has so far been ineffective (Cronk and Fuller, 1995). In 1950, Episimus utilis, whose larval stages defoliate S. terebinthifolia, was released in Hawaii but did not yield effective control due to unsuitable biotic and abiotic conditions. Elfers (1988) records that Bruchus atronotatus and Crasimorpha infuscata were introduced but they are not believed to have had any significant control. Biocontrol approaches in Hawaii are complicated by the fact that S. terebinthifolia is an important nectar source for the bee-keeping industry (Elfers, 1988).

A fruit-eating wasp, Megastigmus transvaalensis has also been trialled in Florida (Randall, 2003), but Luken and Thieret (1997) consider that other insects native to Brazil may hold greater potential. Natural enemies identified in Brazil include the psyllid Calophya terebinthifolii, believed to be a Schinus specialist (Vitorino et al., 2011), and the previously unknown natural enemy C. latiforceps (Burckhardt et al., 2011). Manrique et al. (2012) described a new species in the genus Paectes found feeding on the foliage of S. terebinthifolia. The species was named Paectes longiformis, and the predicted distribution includes the southeastern states of the USA including Florida, in addition to southern Texas and Arizona, and California.

Pseudophilothrips ichini is another species from Brazil which is being investigated as a potential biological control species for Florida (Manrique et al., 2014). Several other species rejected for biological control in the continental USA, but regarded as worth investigating for other areas such as Hawaii and Australia, include Leurocephala schinusae (McKay et al, 2012), Eucosmophora schinusivora (Rendon et al., 2012), and Omolabus piceus (Wheeler et al., 2013).

Pedrosa-Macedo et al. (2006) studied means of multiplying the sawfly Heteroperreyia hubrichi (Hymenoptera: Pergidae), as a potential biocontrol agent for Florida and Hawaii.

Fungal pathogens investigated for biological control include the seedborne pathogen Neofusicoccum batangarum (Shetty et al., 2011) and the foliar disease Corynespora cassiicola f. sp. schinii (Macedo et al., 2013).

IPM

Randall (2003) suggests the combined use of cutting and herbicides, to control resprouting from stumps.

References

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Contributors

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23/07/2014 Updated by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

29/11/2007 Updated by:

Nick Pasiecznik, Consultant, France

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