Several parts of the plant contain irritants, which can cause allergies.
The berries cannot be used in their natural state. Consumed in large quantities they can be indigestible.
Origin: A species of tree coming from South America, with a drooping habit, divided leaves, clusters of small white-cream flowers, and its dried fruits, similar to peppercorns, are pink when ripe (“pink pepper” in the trade).
Habitat: Dry forests
Characteristics: Its delicately serrated dark green leaves are reminiscent of fern fronds.
Its flowers are in the form of a swab, gathered in large clusters, very productive of honey and attract birds, butterflies and bees. The fruits are dehiscent pods containing one or two flat winged seeds.
Flowering period: Spring
Uses and properties: In the Peruvian Andes, where it is called “molle” (pronounced “moye”), it is used as fuel and as a barrier in fields and pastures. Its bark and its resin have recognised medicinal virtues, known since ancient times, the resin was used to embalm the Inca kings.
A tree rich in essential oils. The edible drupes are used as a spice under the name of pink pepper.
History and oddities
When crushed, its leaves give off a strong smell of pepper.