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Pepperbush

Tasmannia insipida
Winteraceae
Pepperbush
Occasional

The leaves of this shrub are dark glossy green, up to 20 cm by 5 cm, and taper to a narrow point at the tip. The shape of the base of the leaf clearly distinguishes this species from other shrubs in the area. Although the leaf narrows towards a point near the base, the taper stops abruptly, so that the base of the leaf is about 5-7 mm wide and truncate, or slightly lobed, where it joins the (very short) leaf stalk.

Pepperbush grows to about 2-4 m tall, rarely to 7 in, and the stems are often reddish.

The small, white flowers, seen in spring, are unisexual. the male and female flowers being carried on separate plants. The white, purple or black, fleshy fruit is egg-shaped, about 2 cm long, ripening in autumn_ winter. The fruit is edible, though fairly tasteless, but the seeds are hot, like pepper.

This shrub is quite common in the Robertson Nature Reserve but absent from some of the smaller or more disturbed remnant patches. It can be propagated from fresh seed, taking 1-3 months to germinate.

Distribution: Dampier State Forest (near Moruya, NSW) to Nth Qld.