Also known as Brazilian pepper, this South American tree grows vigorously in coastal regions, crowding out native species and dominating the understorey.
In agricultural areas broad-leaf pepper tree can damage pasture, block access for livestock and host horticultural diseases of mango and citrus. It is also a toxic plant, with pollen, sap and berries causing severe reactions in people and animals. The tree is recognised by its dark green leaves, divided into 3-9 leaflets. These leaflets are oval shaped and opposite along the stem, with a single leaflet at the tip. They smell like pepper when crushed.
Flowers are relatively small but produce bright red berries, which are dispersed by birds. Fruit can survive floating in salt water, enabling broad-leaf pepper to invade new areas along coastal estuaries. Broad leaf pepper tree is a priority weed on the North Coast. It must be eradicated when detected but can be very persistent, requiring many attempts to control successfully. It cannot be sold or traded in this region.
Further information and control options are detailed in the NSW WeedWise app, which is free to download, or on the website here: NSW WeedWise. If you find this weed on your property, Council’s Biosecurity Officer is happy to provide advice to help you bring this nasty weed under control.