Tasmannia lanceolata (Mountain Pepper Bush)

This is a rounded shrub to 2 metres high by 2 metres wide. It has dark green, shiny elliptical (like an ellipse) leaves to 7 cm long and cream flowers in summer. The fruits (berries) are almost black and the stems red. It sounds a most attractive plant to grow. As it is alpine, it would probably do best in a pot here, although Tasmannia species are adaptable according to my reasearch. A shade house would be a good place to try one of these plants.

The plants are frost hardy and prefer a well composted soil and half to full shade. Definitely won’t cope with the high pH soil in the garden. Sounds like a pot specimen to me. They are usually grown from cuttings, but it is worth trying seed.

All parts of the plant have a hot flavour. I think the leaves are quite mild, but the flavour is very good. I still haven’t tried the dried berries yet but they are bound to be much hotter in flavour.


6 Responses to “Tasmannia lanceolata (Mountain Pepper Bush)”

  1. des and sher says:

    we have just planted a pepper bush and could you tell us how you can tell the defference from male / female.The plant is about 300mm high.
    ave a good day and keep on smillin.

  2. Ivy Rooks says:

    I grow and use both the leaves and berries. I got the following info from another site for you.

    Tasmannia lanceolata

    It is possible to determine the sex of pepper berry trees when they flower; female flowers are small, pale cream and have only a few petals each. Males are larger, borne in clusters and have many more petals. Generally , the berries form only on the female plants. Pepperberry trees tolerate most soil types as long as they are well drained, cool and moist. Sandy soils are generally free draining. They prefer neutral to slightly acid soil pH so as long as your greywater was not too alkaline it should be fine.
    Grows in cool to moist elevated areas of Tasmania and SE Australia. In lower latitudes this elegant tree will grow to 4 metres tall, or a little smaller in higher altitudes. It has striking red stems and cream flowers borne in clusters. Male and female plants are needed for production of berries (female flowers develop into berries). The leaves are dark green, shiny and very aromatic. Berries are pea-sized, purple to black in colour and have a hot pepper/chilli flavour. The leaves are very useful fresh or dried and add a distinctive flavour which is less intense than the berries.

  3. Ivy says:

    I pick the berries and dry them in a very slow oven until they are hard. I usually do this overnight. Then I use them from a grinder just like normal black pepper. The leaves are also dried in the same way. I use them whole instead of bay leaves. They are also good ground to powder in a coffee grinder and used as a seasoning for just about anything. Just experiment on the amounts to taste.

  4. Joy says:

    Hi, I live in Adelaide and wondering if anyone can tell me where I could buy a female bush to plant?

  5. marguerite says:

    would like to purchase a fairly established tasmannia lanceolata but unable to locate one in the western sydney region. does anyone know where I can purchase one pr two. thanks.

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