Botanical Name: Tasmannia lanceolata
*Drimys aromatica (R.Br.) F.Muell.
*Drimys lanceolata (Poir.) Baill.
*Tasmannia aromatica R.Br.
*Winterana lanceolata Poir.
*Winterania lanceolata orth. var. Poir.
Common Names: Tasmanian pepperberry, Mountain pepper (Aus), or Cornish pepper leaf.
Habitat: Tasmannia lanceolata is native to woodlands and cool temperate rainforest of south-eastern Australia.
it is found from Tasmania, northwards through Victoria to Barrington Tops in New South Wales. It is found in gullies in rainforest.
Tasmannia lanceolata is an evergreen shrub or tree, to 6-30 ft (2-10 m) tall, in the landscape a shrub, 8-12 ft (2.5-3.5 m) and 4-8 ft wide (1.2-2.5 m). Compact rounded growth habit. Stems are bright red to purple-red in color. Leaf arrangement variable, alternate then more sub-opposite or opposite towards the ends of branches. The leaves are aromatic, simple, 4-12 cm long and 0.7-2.0 cm wide, lanceoate to narrow-elliptic, dark green with a pale underside. Male and female flowers are on separate plants, both in small terminal custers. Male flowers are pale brown to flesh colored and have 20-25 stamens. The small female flowers have 3-8 petals that are yellow-cream or white; they appear in late winter, spring or early summer (depending on the climate) and are followed by red and finally black, globose, berries 5–8 mm wide.
It can be grown as a garden plant, and its berries attract birds. Currawongs are among those which feed on them. It can be propagated from cuttings or seed, and can grow in a well-drained acidic soil with some shade, but is sensitive to Phytophthora cinnamomi.
The leaf and berry are used as a spice, typically dried. Mountain pepper was used as a colonial pepper substitute. More recently, it has become popularised as bushfood condiment. It can be added to curries, cheeses, and alcoholic beverages. It is exported to Japan to flavour wasabi. The berries are sweet at first with a peppery aftertaste. Dried T. lanceolata berries and leaves have strong antimicrobial activity against food spoilage organisms. It also has high antioxidant activity. Low safrole clonal selections are grown in plantations for commercial use, as safrole is considered a low-risk toxin.Australian herbs and food species being supported by the Australian Native Food Industry Ltd, which brings together producers of food species from all parts of Australia.
The leaf is edible and has a hot peppery taste which makes a perfect addition to winter dishes. Please dry the leaf or chop finely before adding to meals as, like the bay leaf, the whole fresh leaf can be a choking hazard.
Used in colonial medicine as a substitute for Winter’s bark, a stomachic, it was also used for treating scurvy.
Other Uses: The pepperberry can be used as a fish poison.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.