Adelaide Botanic Garden: Pepper Tree

This particular tree is in the Adelaide Botanic gardens, near the North Terrace entrance. It was planted in 1863, eight years after the founding of the gardens. In 2015 it is 152 years old, and expected to live for many more years. It was planted by George William Francis, founder of the gardens, and its first Director. It is of remarkable size, and typical of several trees planted by the early settlers and mentioned in two of the Botanic Gardens publications. It is considered to be of state importance.

The Pepper Tree or Peppercorn Tree (Schinus ariera, syn. Schinus molle) belongs to the Anarcardiaceae family, from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. It grows to a height of 6 to 15 metres and is a graceful tree with pendant branches. It was planted for its spice, known as pink peppercorn. In South Australia it is a ‘Proclaimed Plant’ meaning it has been declared as a threat to agriculture and the environment. Yet it is still very commonly found in old primary schools, especially in rural areas. It is one of several ‘early settler’ choices of tree. It is slow-growing and long-lived. It makes an attractive street tree, garden tree, and is valued for its dense shade.