Schinus molle, Peruvian pepper tree seeds
Schinus molle belongs to the family of the Anacardiaceae. It is also known as the pepper tree. It is native to South America and Central America. Today it is cultivated as an ornamental plant and as a plant for spices all over the world in warm areas for example Spain.
S. molle grows as a tree that can reach a height of about 15 m. The leaves of S. molle are pinnate. The pinnate leaf as a whole is 25 to 30 cm long. The leaves that build up the pinnate leaf are 2 to 5 cm long. The leaves smell like pepper.
The flower is small, white or yellowish. They stand together in inflorescences. The fruits are small and red and include the seeds. The outer part of the fruit is sweet, the inner one bitter. S. molle is diecious what means that a female and a male plant are needed for reproduction. The reddish fruits are often added to mixes of different pepper corns. Therefore it is often thought that Schinus is a kind of pepper, but it is not related to the pepper at all. Red pepper is only offered inlaid and not in a dried way.
S. molle includes alpha Phellandren which can be poisonous if one consumes to much of the Schinus berries. Eaten in a normal amount Schinus is not poisonous. S. molle shall have an antidepressive effect. This is still tested with mice.
Cultivation from seeds
The seeds of S. molle should be put in warm water for 24 h before planting. After that they can be put 0, 5 cm deep into the substrate. The substrate should be kept moist. At a temperature of 20°C germination occurs after 2 to 6 weeks.