Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 130 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PEPPER TREE, a tree which has no proper connexion with the true pepper (Piper), and is really a member of the natural order Anacardiaceae, being known botanically as Schinus Molle, from the Peruvian name Mulli. It is a native of tropical South America and is grown in the open air in the south of Europe. It is a small tree with unequally pinnate leaves, the segments linear, entire or finely saw-toothed, the terminal one longer than the rest, and all filled with volatile oil stored in large cells or cysts, which are visible to the naked eye and appear like holes when the leaf is held up to the light. When the leaves are thrown upon the surface of water the resinous or oily fluid escapes with such force as violently to agitate them. The flowers are small, whitish, arranged in terminal clusters and polygamous or unisexual, with five sepals, as many petals, ten stamens (as large as the petals in the case of the male flower, very small in the female flower, but in both springing from a cushion-like disk surrounding the base of the three-celled ovary). The style is simple or three-cleft, and the fruit a small, globose, pea-like drupe with a bony kernel enclosing a single seed. The fleshy portion of the fruit has a hot aromatic flavour from the abundance of the resin it contains. The resin is used for medicinal purposes by the Peruvians, and has similar properties to mastic. The Japan pepper tree is Xanthoxylum piperitum the fruits of which have also a hot taste. Along the Riviera the tree known as Melia Azedarach, or the " Pride of India," is also incorrectly called the pepper tree by visitors.
End of Article: PEPPER TREE
WILLIAM PEPPER (1843–1898)

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