- Safari Park
Bloom time (approximate):
Pepper Tree Schinus molle
FAMILY: ANACARDIACEAE (Sumac Family)
The graceful, pendulous branches of pepper trees Schinus molle are ideal for creating shade in the sun-drenched field exhibits at the Safari Park. They do not produce true peppercorns, but their pin-red fruits do contain compounds similar to those found in black pepper and are sometimes used as a substitute.
These trees are native to Peru, although they are well-known in California because they were brought here as seeds by visitors traveling from mission to mission up the West Coast. The so-called mother of all California pepper trees, planted from seed by the shade-loving Spanish missionaries in the early 19th century, can still be seen at Oceanside's San Luis Rey Mission and a number of its graceful descendants are scattered around the Safari Park.