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Schinus molle

California Pepper Tree
  • Plant Type:
  • Tree
  • Evergreen-Deciduous:
  • Evergreen
  • Overall Mature Size:
  • Medium
  • Also Grown As:
  • Multi Trunk, Standard Tree
  • Mature Height & Spread :
  • 25-40' x 25-40'
  • Natural Growth Habit:
  • Rounded
  • Native To:
  • South America
  • Exposure:
  • Full Sun
  • Water:
  • Medium Water, Low Water
  • Flower Color:
  • Yellow
  • Bloom Time:
  • Spring
  • Special Features:
  • Attractive Bark, Desert Conditions, Drought Resistant, Seacoast Conditions
  • Container Sizes:
  • #15, 24" Box, 36" Box, 48" Box
  • Sunset Garden Zones:
  • 8, 9, 12-24
  • Minimum USDA Hardiness Zone:
  • 9


An iconic feature in our Southern California landscape, Schinus molle is actually a Peruvian native which arrived with the San Diego missionaries in the 1830’s. It has adapted so well to our coastal, inland and valley areas that it is commonly seen throughout this and other arid states in the Southwest. Evergreen and naturally drought tolerant, it will survive where only occasional rainfall exists. In the low deserts, however, irrigation is essential. It is an excellent choice for large parks or play areas, in courtyards or along long broad driveways. It can become very large, exceeding 40 feet in height and width. The trunk will become gnarled and fabulously interesting with age. The foliage is bright green and comprised of many narrow leaflets. The flowers are insignificant but the papery pink to red berries are wonderfully ornamental in the fall and winter. Given adequate space in Western Garden zones 8,9, and 12-24, it will attract birds, butterflies, and shade-seekers wherever it is planted.