Pepper Tree, California Pepper Tree, Molle
|Carefully consider your choices among these handsome, warm-climate ornamental trees. The two best-known United States species present many plusses -- and some serious minuses. Municipal landscapers rely on the showy, fire-resistant, drought-tolerant California Pepper Tree (Schinus molle). Though arguably just as beautiful, the introduced Brazilian Pepper Tree, Schinus terebinthifolius, has spread agressively across the southern states, Caribbean and Hawaii. Freed from the competitors of its original habitat, it forms dense thickets that crowd or shade out native plants. After fall and sometimes spring blooming, robins gorge on the bright red berries (sometimes becoming tipsy). The seeds they spread sprout with phenomenal tenacity, even springing back after brushfires. The leaves, pollen, sap and berries can trigger allergic responses. Some parts of Florida prohibit its planting. Despite this, it is still recommended for California planting, chiefly for its fire-resistance in dry areas. Other, lesser-known species include Schinus latifolus, which produces a lovely profusion of tiny flowers. Plant in spring, providing full sun and well-drained soil. Prevent wind damage by choosing a spot near a wall or larger trees, and keep pruned and thinned. They tend to form surface roots and can drop a messy litter, so locate away from buildings, paving, curbs, and paths.
Weeping branches of feathery leaves offer a refreshing oasis in hot, dry climes. Trees with more female flowers develop pink berries. Picturesque burls and gnarls form on older tree trunks.
Attributes - Schinus molle
Plant Type: Tree
Bloom Season: Early Summer through Mid Summer
Flower Color: White
Height: 35 ft. to 45 ft.
Width: 35 ft.
Sunlight: Full Sun
Climate: Zones 8, 9, 10, 11
Notes: Container Plants, Low Maintenance, Showy Flowers. Susceptible to Spider Mites.