Schinus terebinthifolius
Brazilian pepper tree

Anacardiaceae (cashew family)
South America
Schinus terebinthifolius fruit-cluster, pinnate leaf. From An Illustrated Manual of Pacific Coast Trees, Howard E. McMinn & Evelyn Maino

This very handsome evergreen tree, quite different from the better known Peruvian pepper tree, has compound leaves that have 7 to 11 shiny green leaflets that are paler below and show a pleasing pattern of veins when held up to the light. They are an inch or so long and have occasional small teeth. The midrib, but not the leafstalk, has noticeable wings. When crushed, the leaves have an interesting smell. The clusters of small fruits consist of red papery globes loosely enclosing a single seed. For mention of Brazilian pepper in the Everglades, see Paperbark Notes.

Several once-fine specimens on the south side of Bowdoin Street between Campus Drive East and Pine Hill Road, having been cut back or frozen back, have resprouted with many trunks. A multitrunk specimen is between 4055 and 4073 Ben Lomond Drive, Palo Alto, next to the fence.

Name derivation: Schinus – Greek name for mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus), which it resembles; terebinthifolius – having leaves like Pistacia terebinthus.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005.