52 Pepper Tree Schinus molle

Family: Anacardiaceae

Native to the Peruvian Andes, it has bright pink fruit that resemble peppercorns and are often sold as such even though they can be poisonous in large quantities. The tree is not related to the true Pepper. In Peru the tree is host to the Pepper Tree Moth but in NZ it is the Emperor Gum Moth that is attracted to the tree. The hard small walnut sized cocoon can be seen on this tree and in summer you may find the large attractive green caterpillars on the tree. Regarded as an invasive species in some parts of the world as it is drought tolerant and can take over in dry areas.