Schinus leaves
Pepper tree
schinus terebinthefolius

The bright green and soft foliage of the Brazilian Pepper tree makes this an attractive addition to any patio. This tree grows moderate to fast and needs little water after establishment. Limbs are brittle and there can be leaf litter around tree. Limbs should be thinned out to minimize wind damage if it is planted in a windy area.

Not a great tree in a lawn as it is prone to root rot, but good for a dry spot where some light shade would be appreciated. This tree should be given room to spread away from walkways. The showy red berries appear in the winter and can be eaten as pepper. Some report gastric distress from ingesting quantites of the pepper and some persons have itchy reactions to the foliage.


Maximum height
30 feet talland wide

Life Span
80 + years

Criteria for Ranking

1 (low) - 5 (high)

Drought Tolerance after first year establishment 5
Wind Tolerance 4*
Frost Tolerance 5
Surface Roots/Sidewalk Lifting 3*
Power Lines Proximity

5 (good choice)
Cost/Maintenance 4
Disease Resistance/Hardiness 3*
*note asterisk denote species will be shaped by a prevailing wind. Single trunk trained trees need more protection than shrub to grow straight.
*note asterisk denote species has copius surface roots. Not so much a sidewalk lifter as hard to plant anything under the tree.
*note asterisk denote species can get verticillium wilt for which there is no cure.

Location Beautiful pepper tree on DeForest one block from Reservation Road.