Pimenta dioica (allspice)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Latitude/Altitude Ranges
- Air Temperature
- Rainfall Regime
- Soil Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Impact: Biodiversity
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Wood Products
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Pimenta dioica (L.) Merr. 1947
Preferred Common Name
Other Scientific Names
- Caryophyllus pimento Mill.
- Eugenia micrantha (Kunth) DC
- Eugenia micrantha Bertol.
- Eugenia pimenta (L.) DC.
- Evanesca crassifolia Raf.
- Evanesca micrantha Bertol.
- Myrtus dioica L. 1759
- Myrtus pimenta L.
- Myrtus pimenta Ortega
- Myrtus piperita Sessé and Moc.
- Myrtus tabasco Willd. Ex Schltdl. and Cham.
- Pimenta aromatica Kostel
- Pimenta officinalis Lindl.
- Pimenta officinalis O. Berg
- Pimenta pimenta (L.) Cockerell
- Pimenta pimenta (L.) Karst
- Pimenta vulgaris Lindl.
- Pimentus vera Raf.
International Common Names
- English: clove pepper; English spice; Jamaica pepper; pimento
- Spanish: malagueta; pimenta inglesa; pimenta inglesa; pimienta gorda; pimiento; pimiento de Jamaica
- French: egalement appelé; myrte-piment; piment; piment de la Jamaique; piment des Anglais; poivre de Jamaique; poivre gireflé; quatre-épice; toute-epice
- Russian: Jamajskij perez; ormusch; wosditschnij perez
- Arabic: bahar
Local Common Names
- Germany: allerleigewürz; englischgewürz; jamaikapfeffer; nelkenpfefferbaum; nelkenpfefferbaum; neugewürz; pimentbaum; pimentbaum
- India: kebab cheene
- Italy: pepe della Giamaica; pepe garofanato; pimento inglese
- Netherlands: Jamaica peper; pimentboom
- Portugal: pimenta da Jamaica
- Slovenia: nové korenie
- Tonga: sipaisi
- PMTDI (Pimenta dioica)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
P. dioica is a small evergreen tree native to the West Indies. It has been spread throughout tropical regions through trade as an ornamental species and for its spice known as allspice (Rodriguez, 1969). P. dioica is listed in the Global Invasive Species Database (ISSG, 2012), the Global Compendium of Weeds (2012) and is 'likely to cause significant ecological or economic harm in Hawaii and on other Pacific Islands' (PIER, 2012a). It is a priority species for exclusion from the Cook Islands (Space and Flynn, 2002a), Palau (Space et al., 2009), and Samoa (Space and Flynn, 2002b). It is listed a top invasive plant species on Bermuda (Brown, 2008; Copeland, 2011), Hawaii (Staples et al., 2000; Hawaii State Alien Species Coordinator, 2012), and Tonga (Space and Flynn, 2001).
Seeds are spread by fruit-eating birds (Staples et al., 2000), and potentially also via bats, lizards and insects (Rodriguez, 1969). Being an aggressive species, it has the potential to outcompete native plants (Space and Flynn, 2001). It is currently unknown how to best manage P. dioica invasion as the full potential threat to native species is not yet well understood: public awareness and discouragement of planting in natural, moist, lowland areas is advised (Starr et al., 2003) alongside removal from native forested areas (Space and Flynn, 2001).
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Myrtales
- Family: Myrtaceae
- Genus: Pimenta
- Species: Pimenta dioica
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
It was originally named by Linnaeus as Myrtus dioica. It was included in the genus Pimenta as P. officinalis by Lindley in 1821, and the current widely accepted name, P. dioica, was ascribed in 1947.
The common name of allspice refers to the flavour of the berries of Pimenta dioica, which are picked when green and then dried to form a spice resembling nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper and cloves (Rodriguez, 1969). There are several varieties of allspice, which are also listed as synonyms of the species (see Identity section) (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2012).
The name ‘pimento’ originated from the Spanish word ‘pimienta’ (pepper or peppercorn), which is derived from ‘pigmentum’ a generic name in Medieval Latin for spice (Rodriguez, 1969).
DescriptionTop of page
P. dioica is a small dioecious evergreen tree, 7-10 m tall with a slender trunk (50-100 cm at the base) with many branches 1-2 m above the ground. The bark is pale silver-brown, smooth and shiny, and sheds strips 25-75 cm long. Leaves are borne in clusters at the ends of branches. Flowers are white and in branching clusters; berries are green when unripe, turning deep purple to glossy black when ripe.
Leaves are 6-15 cm long, 3-6 cm wide, simple, opposite, and aromatic when crushed. They are dark green on the upper surface and lighter green beneath. The midrib is impressed on the upper surface and prominent beneath; leaves are pinnately veined, with lateral veins not very prominent. Leaves are shed at intervals of 2-2.5 years.
Flowers are white, and occur on flower branches 5-15 cm long. Flowers are structurally hermaphrodite, but functionally male or female. They are aromatic and 8-10 mm in diameter. Flowers have four rounded petals about 3-4 mm long, which are quickly deciduous. The stamens are numerous, 5 mm long (100 in male flowers, 50 in female flowers). The anther is cream coloured, the style white and 5 mm long, and the stigma is yellow.
Fruits are round, drooping berries 4-6 mm in diameter, green when unripe turning deep purple to black when ripe. Fruits are aromatic on drying; dried unripe fruits are dark brown. The fruits consist of a thick pulp with two kidney-shaped seeds separated from each other by a membrane (Rodriguez, 1969;Parthasarathy et al., 2008).
Plant TypeTop of page
DistributionTop of page
P. dioica was first discovered in Jamaica by Spanish explorers around 1494, and trees were later discovered in Cuba, presumably dispersed there by migratory birds from Jamaica (Rodriguez, 1969; Parthasarathy et al., 2008). However there is some dispute over its exact origins (Parthasarathy et al., 2008).
Trees are also found in Central America: Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica (Parthasarathy et al., 2008). P. dioica has now been spread throughout tropical regions of the world through trade as an ornamental species and for its spice (Starr et al., 2003), including to India, Malaysia, South America and Pacific Islands (Rodriguez, 1969).
P. dioica is reported to be naturalized in Hawaii (Starr et al., 2003) and other Pacific Islands such as Tonga. There is disagreement over whether P. dioica is still present on Kwajalein (Kuwajleen) Atoll (Marshall Islands, Ralik Chain), but the most recent source states that is no longer present (PIER, 2012b).
Distribution TableTop of page
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.Last updated: 17 Feb 2021
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Algeria||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 7,600 MT (F)|
|Benin||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 15,000 MT (F)|
|Cabo Verde||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 1,250 MT (F)|
|Cameroon||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 6,500 MT (F)|
|Central African Republic||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 100 MT (F)|
|Côte d'Ivoire||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 14,000 MT (F)|
|Djibouti||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 300 MT (F)|
|Egypt||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 45,600 MT (F)|
|Ethiopia||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 115,000 MT (F)|
|Ghana||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 81,000 MT (F)|
|Kenya||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 5,000 MT (F)|
|Madagascar||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 3,400 MT (F)|
|Malawi||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 1,800 MT (F)|
|Mali||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 3,100 MT (F)|
|Morocco||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 14,000 MT (F)|
|Niger||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 400 MT (F)|
|Nigeria||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 50,000 MT (F)|
|Réunion||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 700 MT (F)|
|Senegal||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 3,000 MT (F)|
|Sierra Leone||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 3,000 MT (F)|
|South Africa||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 10,000 MT (F)|
|Sudan||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 7,600 MT (F)|
|Togo||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 3,000 MT (F)|
|Tunisia||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 7,000 MT (F)|
|Uganda||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 3,800 MT (F)|
|Zambia||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 900 MT (F)|
|Zimbabwe||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 13,000 MT (F)|
|Bangladesh||Present||Introduced||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 117,765 MT|
|Bhutan||Present||Introduced||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 10,700 MT (F)|
|Cambodia||Present||Introduced||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 10,000 MT (F)|
|China||Present||Introduced||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 252,000 MT (F)|
|India||Present||Introduced||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 1,244,000 MT (F)|
|Indonesia||Present||Introduced||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 0 MT (M)|
|Japan||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 0 MT (M)|
|Kazakhstan||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 300 MT (F)|
|Kyrgyzstan||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 100 MT (F)|
|Malaysia||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 1,800 MT (F)|
|Maldives||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 5 MT (F)|
|Myanmar||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 71,000 MT (F)|
|Nepal||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 16,362 MT|
|Pakistan||Present||Introduced||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 130,000 MT (F)|
|Syria||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 500 MT (F)|
|Thailand||Present||Introduced||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 39,000 MT (F)|
|Turkey||Present||Introduced||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 20,000 MT (F)|
|Uzbekistan||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 0 MT (M)|
|Vietnam||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 78,500 MT (F)|
|Bulgaria||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 700 MT (F)|
|Czechia||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 1,491 MT|
|Greece||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 350 MT (F)|
|Hungary||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 33,000 MT (F)|
|Romania||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 33,000 MT (F)|
|Slovenia||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 1,300 MT (F)|
|Spain||Present||Introduced||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 5,000 MT (F)|
|Grenada||Present||Native||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 90 MT (F)|
|Jamaica||Present||Native||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 8,200 MT (F)|
|Martinique||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 275 MT (F)|
|Mexico||Present||Native||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 60,000 MT (F). Grows in the region of Chiapas, bordering Guatemale|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Present||Introduced|
|United States||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 0 MT (F)|
|-Hawaii||Present, Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Introduced into O'ahu in 1929; Kaua'i in 1928 and Hawai'i in 1957|
|Federated States of Micronesia||Present, Only in captivity/cultivation||Introduced||Pohnpei Islands|
|Guam||Present, Only in captivity/cultivation||Introduced|
|Marshall Islands||Present, Only in captivity/cultivation||Introduced||Kwajalein (Kuwajileen) Atoll|
|Nauru||Present, Only in captivity/cultivation||Introduced|
|Tonga||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Lifuka, Foa, 'Eua, Tongatapu Islands|
|Argentina||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 3,300 MT (F)|
|French Guiana||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 0 MT (M)|
|Peru||Present||Chillies and peppers, dry production (2008) 165,000 MT (F)|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
Spanish explorers and settlers in Jamaica harvested the leaves and berries of allspice, and there has been almost continuous production of berries in Jamaica from around 1509 to the present day (Parthasarathy et al., 2008).
Allspice was introduced to other West Indian Islands (Grenada, Barbados, Trinidad and Puerto Rico (Parthasarathy et al., 2008), and early in the 19th century pimento berries and seedlings were sent from Jamaica to Madras (India), Singapore, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Costa Rica, Haiti, Panama, Colombia, Honduras and Australia. Since then it has been taken to Malaysia, Colombia, Venezuela and other tropical areas. With the exception of Grenada it has not thrived or produced as well as in Jamaica (Rodriguez, 1969). The berries first reached London in 1601 and were first cultivated in a hot house in 1732 (Parthasarathy et al., 2008).
Since being introduced as a crop plant and ornamental on Hawai’i in the 1900s, it has subsequently spread out of cultivation via dispersal by fruit-eating birds (Starr et al., 2003). Skolmen (1960, via Starr et al., 2003) writes that the Hawaiian forestry department planted 200 trees in 1928 on Kaua’i, 2,432 trees from 1929-1950 on O’ahu, and a single tree on Hawai’i in 1957.
Detailed records of first introduction or invasion history for P. dioica are generally lacking for other territories.
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|Australia||Jamaica||1800s||No||No||Rodriguez (1969)||Deliberate introduction|
|Colombia||Jamaica||1800s||No||No||Rodriguez (1969)||Deliberate introduction|
|Costa Rica||Jamaica||1800s||No||No||Rodriguez (1969)||Deliberate introduction|
|Fiji||Jamaica||1800s||No||No||Rodriguez (1969)||Deliberate introduction|
|Haiti||Jamaica||1800s||No||No||Rodriguez (1969)||Deliberate introduction|
|Hawaii||1928-1957||Crop production (pathway cause); Escape from confinement or garden escape (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Deliberate and accidental introduction|
|Honduras||Jamaica||1800s||No||No||Rodriguez (1969)||Deliberate introduction|
|India||Jamaica||1800s||No||No||Rodriguez (1969)||Deliberate introduction|
|Panama||Jamaica||1800s||No||No||Rodriguez (1969)||Deliberate introduction|
|Singapore||Jamaica||1800s||No||No||Rodriguez (1969)||Deliberate introduction|
|Sri Lanka||1824||No||No||Parthasarathy et al. (2008)||Deliberate introduction|
|UK||1601||Botanical gardens and zoos (pathway cause)||No||No||Parthasarathy et al. (2008)||Deliberate introduction|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
P. dioica already widely occurs in warm regions around the world and has been present for many years in some cases (Starr et al., 2003). In Jamaica P. dioica is an economic crop, with exports of around 5,000 tonnes per year (Neal, 1965, via Starr et al., 2003). It is also a valued specimen and street tree. Because of its ornamental and economic value, it is likely that continued deliberate introductions by humans will occur. Seeds can be dispersed via birds (Staples et al., 2000), so it is likely that P. dioica will escape from cultivation and become established as a potentially invasive species once introduced.
New introductions are likely to affect island systems in particular, and the species is thought to pose significant risk to island flora due to its aggressive nature and ability to naturalize (PIER, 2012a). For example on Tonga, it is widely naturalized and in one area on ‘Eua it has been observed to form dense thickets of saplings: given this aggressive nature, the species is predicted to become a major threat in the future (Space and Flynn, 2001).
However, P. dioica has not always persisted in new regions it has been deliberately introduced to, and so may not threaten habitats unless conditions are favorable for reproduction and establishment (Rodriguez, 1969).
P. dioica is not listed as a quarantine pest, however it is a priority species for exclusion from the Cook Islands (Space and Flynn 2002a), Palau (Space et al., 2009), and Samoa (Space and Flynn, 2002b).
HabitatTop of page
No specific details of habitats affected by P. dioica invasion other than geographical location (country) are available. Countries where P. dioica is present and invasive are within its broad temperature and rainfall tolerances (Parthasarathy et al., 2008).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial||Managed||Cultivated / agricultural land||Principal habitat||Productive/non-natural|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Protected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production)||Present, no further details||Productive/non-natural|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Present, no further details||Productive/non-natural|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
The basic chromosome number for the genus is x = 11 and Pimenta dioica is a diploid with 2n = 22.
There is a lot of variation in allspice with regard to yield and essential oil content, and on Jamaica there are many varieties, including dwarfs; some varieties produce many berries whilst others do not. Mexican trees have larger berry size, but yield is lower (Rodriguez, 1969). Two seedling variant types with dwarf/semi-dwarf habit and bushy nature are being conserved in the Indian Institute of Spices Research. The leaves of these variants are around 1/3 smaller than normal allspice leaves, and because of the bushy form with many branches, they may offer potential for crop improvement programs (Parthasarathy et al., 2008).
Germination occurs after 9–10 days and continues over a month. There is some discrepancy over when trees become fully fruit bearing: Parthasarathy et al. (2008) states that trees grown from seed flower after 5–6 years, and take 18–20 years before becoming full bearing trees, whereas Rodriguez (1969) suggests full bearing is achieved between 25–35 years.
The time and extent of flowering is affected by local conditions and climate, particularly the onset of spring rains (Parthasarathy et al., 2008), and this can mean that flowering times can vary spatially within short distances such as between different sides of an island. Seeds germinating in the wild may take up to 10 years before flowering and fruiting. Full bearing can last for many years, over 100 for exceptional trees (Rodriguez, 1969).
Seeds can be dispersed by fruit-eating birds (Starr et al., 2003) as well as lizards, bats and insects (Rodriguez, 1969). Space and Flynn (2001) indicate that germination success is high, having observed ‘dense mats of seedlings’ growing under the parent tree; P. dioica seed production is >1000/m2 (PIER 2012a).
Some trees can be barren, but the cause of this is currently unknown. Barren trees do however have a higher concentration of oil in their leaves. The species does not readily thrive outside of Jamaica and Grenada, possibly due to reproductive processes when certain critical environmental factors are absent, or in an unbalanced or unsatisfactory state (Rodriguez, 1969).
In general, P. dioica is tolerant of a wide range of rainfall, temperature and altitude within tropical areas. It can grow from sea level to 1000 m and annual rainfall of 100–200 cm and mean monthly temperature of 27°C are preferred (Thankamani et al., 1994). It is somewhat selective over soil type, requiring free-draining coarse soil preferably in limestone areas. Soil type is thought to affect reproductive output, and is a possible reason why outside of Jamaica and Grenada the species is not as productive (Rodriguez, 1969).
ClimateTop of page
|A - Tropical/Megathermal climate||Preferred||Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually|
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Absolute minimum temperature (ºC)||15|
|Mean annual temperature (ºC)||18||24|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||32|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||15|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Mean annual rainfall||120||250||mm; lower/upper limits|
Rainfall RegimeTop of page
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Calonectria quinqueseptata||Pathogen||Plants|Leaves||not specific|
|Ceratocystis fimbriata||Pathogen||Plants|Stems||not specific|
|Helopeltis antonii||Herbivore||Plants|Stems||not specific|
|Puccinia psidii||Pathogen||Plants|Inflorescence; Plants|Leaves||not specific|
|Zeuzera coffeae||Antagonist||Adults||not specific|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Leaf rust caused by Puccinia psidii is the most serious disease of Pimenta dioica in Jamaica, first recorded in 1932. Young leaves, shoots, flowers, and young fruits are covered by bright yellow powder (parasitic fungal spores) in infested trees. Severe infestation results in defoliation, with successive attacks over 3-4 years leading to the death of the tree (Rodriguez, 1969). Leaf rust can be observed on both upper and lower surfaces of leaves, and mature leaves can bear brown lesions also covered with fungal spores (Parthasarathy et al., 2008). Puccinia psidii is native to, and present throughout, Central and South America as well as the USA (Florida, Hawai’i and California) (EPPO, 2012), and has a limited number of host species including rose apple (Rodriguez, 1969); Puccinia psidii has potential for use as a biological control agent of Pimenta dioica, but field trials are needed (Rayachhetry et al., 2001), and spores cannot develop in hotter temperatures of low altitudes (Rodriguez, 1969).
Pimenta dioica is also affected by die back or canker, caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fimbriata. The disease is usually localized and spreads to other parts of the tree. Infected trees display bark canker, dark streaks in the wood, and drying of leaves (Parthasarathy et al., 2008). Trees die within a few months when primary infection occurs low in the tree trunk, compared to infection via the branches (Rodriguez, 1969). C. fimbriata is widely distributed throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceana, but it is unclear as to whether it is native or introduced (EPPO, 2012).
In India, severe leaf rot between May-September has been caused by Cylindrocladium quinqueseptatum. (Parthasarathy et al., 2008). The larvae of red borer Zeuzera coffeae have also been reported to cause damage to trees, but this species of moth only occurs in Asia and Oceana (Parthasarathy et al., 2008; EPPO, 2012). The tea mosquito Helopeltis antonii has been also reported to attack Pimenta dioica in India, causing lesions on young shoots (Parthasarathy et al., 2008). This species only occurs in Asia, and is a minor pest of Pimenta dioica (EPPO, 2012).
Termites and ants have also been reported to damage trees due to nest building, and carrying other pests such as scale insects which attack the tree (Rodriguez, 1969).
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Staples et al. (2000) suggests that seed dispersal is via fruit-eating birds, and Rodriguez (1969) also cites bats, lizards and insects as potential vector species. Vector transmission is probably most effective at local scales, but migratory bird species may also carry seeds between islands for example (Rodriguez, 1969).
P. dioica has been introduced intentionally at all scales from local to international, as an ornamental species and as a crop plant (Starr et al., 2003).
Pathway CausesTop of page
|Crop production||Species is used as a crop in many countries||Yes||Yes||Parthasarathy et al. (2008)|
|Digestion and excretion||Fruits are eaten by birds, bats and lizards and seeds excreted locally; migratory birds could cause||Yes||Rodriguez (1969)|
|Escape from confinement or garden escape||Seeds are vector-dispersed eg. birds causing local escape from gardens||Yes|
|Ornamental purposes||Often used as an ornamental species in many countries.||Yes|
Impact SummaryTop of page
Economic ImpactTop of page
Jamaica is the largest producer and exporter of allspice, accounting for 70% of world trade. The remaining 30% is produced by Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Brazil and Belize. Major importers include the USA, Germany, UK, Finland, Sweden and Canada. Jamaican allspice is the most sought after, and in 2000 was fetching prices of over USD 3.5 per pound.
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Where the species is considered to be invasive, it invades natural forest areas and could outcompete native plants (Space and Flynn, 2001). Details of invasiveness and subsequent impacts are lacking in current literature.
Although P. dioica is thought to negatively impact some environments, it has also been shown that when cultivation of allspice is in a mixed productive system, it can offset some of the losses to biodiversity from surrounding deforestation; plantations should still be complemented by protected areas (King et al., 2006).
Impact: BiodiversityTop of page
Where the species is known to be invasive, it invades natural forest areas and can outcompete native plants (Space and Flynn, 2001). Details of invasiveness and subsequent impacts are lacking in current literature.
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad native range
- Long lived
- Has high reproductive potential
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Threat to/ loss of native species
- Competition (unspecified)
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
UsesTop of page
Several economically important products are derived from P. dioica: dried mature but unripe berries, berry oleoresin, berry oil and leaf oil. These are used in a variety of ways within the food, medicine and perfume industries. Two species of Pimenta that are of commercial importance are P. dioica (allspice) and P. racemosa (bay or rum tree, providing oil of bay).
The dried, mature but unripe berries are the commercial pimento spice, and the berry oil has a warm sweet scent coming from its 60 constituent compounds. Pimento leaf oil has a similarly warm, sweet aroma. Oleoresin is extracted from the crushed spice: it is concentrated and therefore only a small quantity is needed in food production.
Historically, allspice was used to embalm Mayan leaders’ bodies. Today, the major use of allspice is the food industry (65–70%), pimento berry oil production (20–25%), domestic use (5–10%), oleoresin extraction (1–2%), and in the pharmaceutical and perfume industries (Parthasarathy et al., 2008).
Allspice has been shown to have insecticidal properties against Japanese termites Reticulitermes speratus and therefore has potential use as a fumigant for termite control (Seo et al., 2009). P. dioica essential oils are also effective as an antifungal agent (Hitokoto et al., 1980), and are bactericidal against Escherichia coli (Friedman et al., 2002). P. dioica compounds have nematacidal properties against the pinewood nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, and so could provide a means of control (Park et al., 2007).
The powdered fruit of allspice is used in traditional medicine to treat many common ailments such as stress and congestion, and is useful for oral hygiene (Parthasarathy et al., 2008). P. dioica has anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer properties, which could be developed for human use (Al-Rehaily et al., 2002).
Uses ListTop of page
Drugs, stimulants, social uses
- Biological control
- Botanical garden/zoo
Human food and beverage
- Spices and culinary herbs
- Essential oils
- Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
Wood ProductsTop of page
Sawn or hewn building timbers
Detection and InspectionTop of page
P. dioica is a distinctive species, but care should be taken in the field to avoid confusion with P. racemosa (the bay or bay rum tree): P. racemosa has elliptical leaves with finer venation, slightly larger fruit and a five-lobed calyx (Neal, 1965; Bailey and Bailey, 1976 both via Starr et al., 2003).
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
It is currently unknown how to best manage the invasiveness of this species, as the full potential threat to native species is not yet well understood; public awareness and discouragement of planting in natural, moist, lowland areas is advised (Starr et al., 2003) alongside its removal from native forested areas (Space and Flynn, 2001).
Starr et al. (2003) stated that ‘P. dioica is likely controlled by herbicide applications using frill or cut stump methods’, but no specific herbicides are mentioned.
Gaps in Knowledge/Research NeedsTop of page
There is very little detailed information concerning the invasiveness of P. dioica. Few sources explain how the species is invasive (invasion mechanisms) and its impacts on other species, habitats or ecosystem functioning; empirical studies into the effects of P. dioica presence on native flora could not be found. There is also very little information surrounding the management of the species once it has become established, and only brief mention of how invasion may be prevented. More information on the factors affecting its reproductive success would be useful.
ReferencesTop of page
Brown N, 2008. Climate change in the UK overseas territories: An overview of the science, policy and you. Peterborough, UK: Joint Nature Conservation Committee, 84 pp
Copeland A, 2011. UK overseas territories and crown dependencies: 2011 biodiversity snapshot. Peterborough, UK: Joint Nature Conservation Committee, 35 pp
Friedman M, Henika PR, Mandrell RE, 2002. Bactericidal activities of plant essential oils and some of their isolated constituents against Campylobacter jejuni, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella enterica. Journal of Food Protection, 65(10):1545-1560
Global Compendium of Weeds, 2012. Department of Agriculture and Food, Government of Western Australi, Perth, Australia, and HEAR (online). http://www.hear.org/gcw/
Global Database EPPO, 2012. Pimenta dioica. EPPO. http://gd3.eppo.int/organism.php/PMTDI/pests
Hawaii State Alien Species Coordinator, 2012. Hawaii's most invasive horticultural plants. http://www.state.hi.us/dlnr/dofaw/hortweeds/specieslist.htm
ISSG, 2012. Invasive Species Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). http://www.issg.org/database
King DI, Hernandez-Mayorga MD, Trubey R, Raudales R, Rappole JH, 2007. An evaluation of the contribution of cultivated allspice (Pimenta Dioca) to vertebrate biodiversity conservation in Nicaragua. Biodiversity and Conservation, 16(4):1299-1320. http://springerlink.metapress.com/content/601q665025666670/?p=5181b9e9ee64439880af65fac8311953&pi=30
Krishnamoorthy B, Rema J, 1991. Allspice. Spice India, 4(10), 9-10.
Missouri Botanical Garden, 2012. Tropicos database. St Louis, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/
Park IlKwon, Kim JunHeon, Lee SangGil, Shin SangChul, 2007. Nematicidal activity of plant essential oils and components from ajowan (Trachyspermum ammi), allspice (Pimenta dioica) and litsea (Litsea cubeba) essential oils against pine wood nematode (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus). Journal of Nematology, 39(3):275-279. http://palmm.fcla.edu/nematode/index.htm
Parthasarathy VA, Parthasarathy U, Kumar A, 2008. Allspice. New Delhi, India: Today and Tomorrow's Printers and Publishers, 11-28. [Spices: Vol 2.]
PIER, 2012. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk., USA: Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry . http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html
PIER, 2012. Pimenta dioica: Risk Assessment Results. PIER. http://www.hear.org/pier/wra/pacific/pimenta_dioica_htmlwra.htm
Purseglove JW, Brown EG, Green CK, Robbins SRG, 1981. London, UK: Longman Group Ltd'.
Seidemann J, 2005. World spice plants: Economic usage, botany, taxonomony. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer, 286-287
Seo SeonMi, Kim JunHeon, Lee SangGil, Shin ChangHoon, Shin SangChul, Park IlKwon, 2009. Fumigant antitermitic activity of plant essential oils and components from ajowan (Frachyspermum ammi), allspice (Pimenta dioica), caraway (Carum carvi), dill (Anethum graveolens), geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), and litsea (Litsea cubeba) oils against Japanese termite (Reticulitermes speratus Kolbe). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 57(15):6596-6602. http://pubs.acs.org/journals/jafcau/index.html
Space JC, Flynn T, 2001. Report to the Kingdom of Tonga on invasive plant species of environmental concern. Hawaii, USA: USDA Forest Service, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 79 pp
Space JC, Flynn T, 2002. Report to the Government of Samoa on invasive plant species of environmental concern. Hawaii, USA: USDA Forest Service, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 80 pp
Space JC, Flynn T, 2002. Report to the Government of the Cook Islands on invasive plant species of environmental concern. Hawaii, USA: USDA Forest Service, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 148 pp
Space JC, Lorence DH, LaRosa AM, 2009. Report to the Republic of Palau: 2008 update on invasive plant species. Hawaii, USA: USDA Forest Service, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 233 pp
Staples GW, Herbst D, Imada CT, 2000. Survey of invasive of potentially invasive cultivated plants in Hawai'i, 65:1-33
Starr F, Starr K, Loope L, 2003. Pimenta dioica Allspice Myrtaceae., USA: United States Geological Survey - Biological Resources Division. http://www.hear.org/starr/hiplants/reports/pdf/pimenta_dioica.pdf
Arun Gupta, Chattopadhyay M, Gupta S K, 2014. On a collection of mites infesting herbs used as spices and oil seeds in India with special reference to Western Ghat Areas. Records of the Zoological Survey of India. 114 (2), 251-262.
Brown N, 2008. Climate change in the UK overseas territories: An overview of the science, policy and you., Peterborough, UK: Joint Nature Conservation Committee. 84 pp.
CABI Data Mining, Undated. CAB Abstracts Data Mining.,
CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI
CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI
Copeland A, 2011. UK overseas territories and crown dependencies: 2011 biodiversity snapshot., Peterborough, UK: Joint Nature Conservation Committee. 35 pp.
FAO, 2009. FAOSTAT Database., Rome, Italy: FAO. http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#home
ISSG, 2012. Invasive Species Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. Global Invasive Species Database (GISD)., http://www.issg.org/database
Missouri Botanical Garden, 2012. Tropicos database., St Louis, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/
Parthasarathy VA, Parthasarathy U, Kumar A, 2008. Allspice., 2 New Delhi, India: Today and Tomorrow's Printers and Publishers. 11-28.
PIER, 2012. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk., USA: Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html
Razi S, Bernard E C, Laamari M, 2017. A survey of thrips and their potential for transmission of viruses to crops in Biskra (Algeria): first record of the species Frankliniella intonsa and Thrips flavus. Tunisian Journal of Plant Protection. 12 (2), 197-205. http://www.iresa.agrinet.tn/tjpp/SiteWeb/CurrentIssue/TJPP12-2.pdf
Seidemann J, 2005. World spice plants: Economic usage, botany, taxonomony., Heidelberg, Germany: Springer. 286-287.
Space JC, Flynn T, 2001. Report to the Kingdom of Tonga on invasive plant species of environmental concern., Hawaii, USA: USDA Forest Service, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry. 79 pp.
Space JC, Flynn T, 2002. Report to the Government of Samoa on invasive plant species of environmental concern., Hawaii, USA: USDA Forest Service, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry. 80 pp.
Space JC, Flynn T, 2002a. Report to the Government of the Cook Islands on invasive plant species of environmental concern., Hawaii, USA: USDA Forest Service, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry. 148 pp.
Velázquez-Silva A, García-Díaz S E, Robles-Yerena L, Nava-Díaz C, Nieto-Ángel D, 2018. First report of Colletotrichum spp. in fruits of allspice (Pimenta dioica) in Veracruz, Mexico. Revista Mexicana de Fitopatología. 36 (2), 342-355. http://www.rmf.smf.org.mx/Vol3622018/RMF1711-1.pdf
ContributorsTop of page
04/12/12 Original text by:
Isabel Jones, Consultant, UK
Distribution MapsTop of page
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