Invasive, poisonous tree found in Newlands

| 17/01/2023 | 17 Comments

(CNS): A cluster of Brazilian peppertrees (Schinus terebinthifolia), a poisonous and highly invasive South American plant, has been found in Newlands. Also known as the Brazilian pepper, aroeira, rose pepper, Christmas berry or Florida holly, it is a member of the poison oak and ivy family that found its way to the Cayman Islands in a shipment of ornamental plants. It was first detected in Cayman Brac in 2009 and later seen in Grand Cayman in 2020.

Department of Environment Research Officers who found the trees in Newlands have treated them to kill their root systems and marked them with caution tape to alert members of the public not to get close to this potent and harmful plant.

Brazilian peppertrees can grow in most environments but thrive in disturbed areas where water collects, like canals, drainage ditches, ponds, walking paths and roadsides. It is often confused with mangrove and buttonwood but can be identified by the compound leaf pattern and the distinct flowers and berries that turn from green to red. These berries do attract birds, which aids in wide seed dispersal.

Members of the public are urged not to attempt to cut down the tree if they come across one, as it is toxic to the skin and eyes, and new shoots can grow from old stumps, stimulating propagation. Burning these trees releases an irritating and noxious smoke, so the only way to ensure it does not spread is for it to be treated by professionals.

Anyone who comes across what they believe is a Brazilia peppertree is asked to contact the DoE by emailing with the location and photographs or call 949-8469.

Share your vote!

How do you feel after reading this?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: ,

Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (17)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Geez, deal with it and spray them with Roundup. This kind of thing happens everywhere. Not news.

  2. J. A. Roy Bodden says:

    Most jurisdictions that I am aware of have strict protocols and regulations for plant, soil,etc importation. I cannot understand why the Cayman Island’s authorities have allowed certain developers to import literally whole forests when we do not have the expertise or infrastructure to identify, process and segregate these alien species. Worse , we have destroyed many valuable and historically indigenous species, replacing them with alien ,harmful and frighteningly invasive species as in this instance.

    It is a formula for environmental and zoological disaster and one of the development sins of the Cayman Islands that I claim “cry out to heaven for relief from greedy and oppressive devlopers and uninformed bureaucrats.

  3. Anonymous says:

    WARNING! The Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolia), is NOT a Florida Holly (Ilex cassine)! They getting confused as being the same plant because people are unaware of the difference.
    The Florida Holly is a very popular ornamental plant in Florida, while the Brazilian Pepper is invasive, poisonous, and even illegal in Florida.

    The article gives the true Florida Holly a very bad rap.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This sounds like something that Jay and Wayne might need to collaborate on to sort out. Hopefully they can play nice and get these poisonous trees, which are not indigenous to the Cayman Islands, eradicated.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Another undesirable import!

    • Anonymous says:

      Like many of these shipwrecked folk that landed here two or three hundred years ago.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am sure that the MLA for Savannah will liaise with Premier to take car of this issue. They should be very busy this weekend.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “Brazilian peppertrees can grow in most environments but thrive in disturbed areas where water collects, like canals, drainage ditches, ponds, walking paths and roadsides.”

    Nice, as developers disrupt the natural flood areas and create new ones

  7. Anonymous says:

    Mother Nature strikes back again

  8. Anonymous says:

    Seen them for decades. Nothing new. Cut down deroot and remove.

  9. Anonymous says:

    We have poisonous elements in parliament as well, let’s put caution tape around them too!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.