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Health Services > Queensland Poisons Information Centre

Plants and mushrooms

Brazilian pepper tree

Close up of flowers of Brazilian pepper tree Close up of fruit of Brazilian pepper treeClose up of leaves of Brazilian pepper tree
Category 2 toxicity iconCategory 3 toxicity iconCategory 4 toxicity icon

 Common name   Brazilian pepper tree 
 Botanical name   Schinus terebinthifolius
 Other common names   Broad-leaved pepper tree
Family   Anacardiaceae
 General description   A small tree which grows up to 6m tall, sometimes up to 16m, previously planted as a garden ornamental, but now a weed in coastal areas. The tree is quite resinous and aromatic, especially when the leaves are crushed.
Flowers   The flowers are small and white, with petals about 2mm long, and occur in massed inflorescences.
Leaves   The leaves consist of 5 to 9 leaflets opposite to each other. The leaflets are 3 to 8cm long and 1.5 to 3.5cm wide.
 Fruit/Berries   The fruits are bright red, shiny berries, rounded in shape, about 6mm in diameter.
Other   The sap is clear and sticky.
Symptoms   If berries are eaten they may cause vomiting and diarrhoea. The sap may cause dermatitis and eye irritation.
When flowering, the tree may cause sneezing, asthma-like reactions and headache.
Toxicity category   2, 3, 4
Warning   For all eye exposures rinse the eye with water for 15 minutes and then seek urgent medical assistance.

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Last Updated: 24 August 2010
Last Reviewed: 30 October 2008