2 Schinus molle

Schinus molle.

In Family Anacardiaceae the Peppercorn or Peruvian pepper tree is also seen as Schinus molle var. areira or Schinus areira.
Plants of the World Online recognises 2 varieties – Schinus molle var. molle and Schinus molle var. rusbyi.
This invasive tree, occasionally seen as a garden or street tree is naturalised in areas of S. E. Queensland.
In Brisbane it is much rarer than the broad leaved S. terebinthifolius.

They are evergreen trees up to 10 or 15 m high and occasionally more.
The thicker older branches are erect to semi-erect and the young ones are drooping.
The smooth brown bark on young branches has orange-brown lenticels (small nodules).
The trunk has dark greyish-brown fissured bark and the stems and leaves have a clear sap.
Young twigs and small branches may have microscopic hairs which are gradually lost.
Trees sometimes sucker from the roots.

The alternately arranged once divided (pinnate) leaves are on a petiole up to 5 cm long.
The leaf midrib has very small wings down the sides.
The long and narrow leaves have blades around 25 (10 to 30) cm long.
Each leaf has up to 30 or 40 leaflets plus a single terminal one.
The lance-shaped leaflets, 1 to 3 cm long have no stalk (petiolule) or a 1 mm long one.
Teeth on the edge of young leaflets are mostly lost over time.
Leaflets have a pointed tip and there may be a few very small hairs.

Drooping branched terminal and axillary inflorescences are panicles 10 to 15 cm long.
The many tiny flowers are unisexual with male and female flowers on the same plant.
Flowers are on a stalk or pedicel up to 2 mm long but this lengthens on the fruit.
The deciduous triangular shaped bracts have microscopic hairs on the outer surface and longer ones on the edge.
The inflorescence branches, pedicles and sepals may also have microscopic hairs.

The flowers, under 3 mm long have 5 sepals alternating with 5 petals.
The pale green sepals, around 1 mm long are fused at the base.
They have a few hairs on the edge but none on the outer surface.
The flaring oblong white petals are around 2 mm long.
There is a yellow nectiferous disc inside the stamens.

Male flowers have 10 stamens in 2 whorls of different lengths.
The anthers open inwards through longitudinal slits.
There is no ovary or a tiny rudimentary one.

Female flowers have the 10 stamens reduced to very small infertile staminodes.
The spherical superior ovary has 3 styles and stigmas.
The ovary typically has a single locule with 1 ovule.

The fruit are spherical 6 mm fleshy drupes maturing from green to pink or reddish.
The sepals remain attached and the stem lengthens up to 5 mm.
When mature the skin flakes off releasing the single hard coated seed.