Broadleaved pepper tree

Native to South America, broadleaved pepper tree is a large, spreading tree. In Australia, it has escaped gardens and invaded coastal dune lands, wetlands and streambanks. It also out-competes and replaces native grasses used in grazing, and can harbour mango black spot disease and witches' broom diseases that affect citrus. Broadleaved pepper tree is common in many habitats in South East Queensland and in the mid-north coast region of New South Wales.

Broadleaved pepper tree is a restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Schinus terebinthifolius


  • Broad, spreading tree up to 10m tall.
  • Leaves are dark green, consist of 5-9 leaflets, 4-12 opposite pairs.
  • Flowers are small, whitish, growing at end of branches.
  • Fruits are red, bunched, glossy, round, 6mm across.
  • Berries are 4-5mm wide, containing one seed.
  • Leaves and berries have pepper smell when crushed.
  • Not all trees bear fruit.


  • Prefers coastal dune areas, wetlands, streambanks.

Distribution in Queensland

  • Found in South East Queensland in many habitats from coastal dunes to mangroves.

Life cycle

  • Reproduces from 3 years old.
  • Can live up to 35 years.
  • Flowers mainly in autumn, but can flower year-round.

Affected animals

  • humans; grazing stock; native animals; birds



  • Out-competes and replaces native grasses used in grazing.


  • Forms dense thickets that can choke native plants.
  • Establishes in disturbed bushland.
  • Competes with ground covers and shrubs, and tolerates shade.
  • Spreads rapidly in waterlogged or poorly drained soils.


  • Contains toxic resins that can affect human and animal health.

How it is spread

  • Berries spread by birds and animals.


Physical control

  • Hand-pull or chip out young plants.
  • Remove trees in winter.
  • Felled trees may regrow from suckers for up to 18 months. If chopping, mulch branches, especially if trees have seed. Alternatively, cut trees 5cm below soil, chip away bark and nail tin plate over stump.

Herbicide control

  • Herbicides are available using foliar application, basal bark and cut-stump methods.

See the Broadleaved pepper tree fact sheet (PDF, 948KB) for herbicide control and application rates.

Biological control

  • No known biological control agents.

Legal requirements

  • Broadleaved pepper tree is a restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be given away, sold, or released into the environment without a permit.
  • The Act requires everyone to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation (GBO).
  • At a local level, each local government must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in its area. This plan may include actions to be taken on certain species. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.
Last updated
12 October 2016


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