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Drimys lanceolata - (Poir.)Baill.                
Common Name Mountain Pepper
Family Winteraceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Moist places in mountain forests and also in alpine zones to 1500 metres[152].
Range Australia - New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade


Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of shrub
Drimys lanceolata is an evergreen Shrub growing to 4.5 m (14ft) by 2.5 m (8ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Synonyms D. aromatica. (R.Br.)Muell. non Murray. Tasmannia aromatica. Winteriana lanceolata.
Drimys lanceolata Mountain Pepper

Drimys lanceolata Mountain Pepper
Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Hedge;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment.

The fruit and seed are used as a pepper and allspice substitute[1, 2, 11, 46, 61, 105, 183]. A pungent flavour[183, 193]. The aromatic berries are edible according to one report[238], whilst another says that they taste somewhat like cinnamon.
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiscorbutic;  Stomachic.

Antiscorbutic, stomachic[152].
Other Uses
Hedge;  Hedge;  Wood.

This species makes an excellent windbreak in woodland, it is widely grown as a hedge in mild temperate regions[238]. Wood - soft, only moderate strength[154].
Cultivation details                                         
Requires a light lime-free soil in semi-shade[200]. Prefers a fertile moist but well-drained soil[188]. A fairly hardy species, surviving very cold winters in various parts of the country so long as it is in a suitable position[120]. It tolerates temperatures down to about -15°c[184], but plants are liable to be damaged in cold winters. This species is hardier than D. winteri according to one report[120] whilst another says that it is less hardy than D. winteri[200]. All parts of the plant are very aromatic and pungent[182, 184]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Plants are usually dioecious though monoecious and hermaphrodite forms are known. Male and female plants must usually be grown if seed is required.
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a greenhouse[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10 - 15 cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Approximately 60% take[78]. Layering in March/April. Takes 12 months[78]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth with a heel of older wood, November in a cold frame[78].
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Expert comment                                         
Botanical References                                         
Links / References                                         

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[78]Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[120]? The Plantsman. Vol. 2. 1980 - 1981.
Excerpts from the periodical giving cultivation details and other notes on some of the useful plants including Billardiera spp, Calochortus spp, Drimys spp.
[152]Lassak. E. V. and McCarthy. T. Australian Medicinal Plants.
A very good and readable guide to the subject.
[154]Ewart. A. J. Flora of Victoria.
A flora of eastern Australia, it is rather short on information that is useful to the plant project.
[182]Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos.
Contains a wide range of plants with a brief description, mainly of their ornamental value but also usually of cultivation details and varieties.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[184]Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Shrubs.
Excellent photographs and a terse description of 1900 species and cultivars.
[188]Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers
Excellent range of photographs, some cultivation details but very little information on plant uses.
[193]Low. T. Wild Food Plants of Australia.
Well presented, clear information and good photographs. An interesting read for the casual reader as well as the enthusiast
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.

Readers comment                                         
Elizabeth H.
peter coxhead Fri Nov 1 22:39:20 2002
Hi The information above is incorrect about this plant in regards to flowering time , seed ripening time and propogation The flowers occur in the natural state....Oct/Nov The seeds ripen in the natural state......Apr/May This may have occurred because it is naturally found in the southern hemisphere....your info above is correct for the northern hemisphere where it is not naturally found As for propogation....it is difficult to germinate because it normally needs to go through the digestive tract of a bird You can soak for a day or two in either vinegar or urine before sowing or better still use cuttings to strike....the cuttings may form a ball at the base but still not form roots ....if this occurs then gently scratch this ball and replant....roots will then strike from your scratch You could also try feeding some seeds to a duck and collect the seeds fro her droppings
Elizabeth H.
Sun Apr 3 17:22:30 2005
Is this plant deer proof?
Elizabeth H.
Chris Read Tue Jan 16 2007
The botanical pedant will criticise the use of an obsolete latin binomial. The species was renamed in the late sixties as Tasmannia lanceolata. The genus Drimys is confined to South America.

Diemen Pepper Site includes info about the plant and some commercial content

Elizabeth H.
Ken Fern, Plants for a Future Sat Jan 20 2007
Here is a case where the botanists have still to make their minds up about a name. As Chris states, the name Tasmannia lanceolata was proposed for this plant in the 1960's. Whilst some botanists felt that this and a number of other plants that had been included in the genus Drimys were sufficiently distinct to warrant a new genus, other botanists disagreed and have continued to classify this plant in the genus Drimys. When deciding which name to use, we consult a number of authoritative databases. The overall concensus of these databases is that this plant remains as Drimys lanceolata.
Elizabeth H.
Sherry Godfrey Sun Sep 2 2007
I purchased this plant from Inverewe Gardens, Poolewe. This plant came from Osgood Hanbury MacKenzies own stock at these world famous gardens which are situated on 58 degrees latitude. I intend to plant it in my garden in Lauder in the Borders so will keep you posted on how he does further south and as a centre piece in my garden. Thank you for the information.
Elizabeth H.
Jay Thu Nov 27 2008
Hi there... I have several Drimys lanceolatas planted in gardens around lake winderemere area Cumbria and they are very happy attractive plants especialy when planted with pittosporum tenuifoliums or Crinodendrons Happy gardening
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