Tasmannia lanceolata – Mountain Pepper (seed)
Tasmannia lanceolata (Winteraceae family) is a dioecious, insect pollinated shrub or small tree occasionally reaching heights of 10 m. The dried fruit is increasingly becoming utilized as a pepper substitute. T. lanceolata is one of eight species of Tasmannia in Australia and is distributed across â¼ 10° of latitude within the mountainous regions of southeastern Australia as well as the island of Tasmania where it is the only representative of the genus. T. lanceolata is restricted to locations where annual rainfall exceeds â¼ 930 mm and occurs in a wide range of vegetation types, including wet Eucalyptus forest, near the margins or within cool temperate rainforests, along creek lines in dry Eucalyptus forest, and, in Tasmania, in alpine shrublands. It is common as an early successional species in disturbed forest and grassland but also colonizes canopy gaps in mature forests (Chloroplast evidence for geographic stasis of the Australian bird-dispersed shrub Tasmannia lanceolata (Winteraceae), J. R. P. WORTH et al, Molecular Ecology, Volume 19, Issue 14, pages 2949â2963, July 2010)
Tasmannia species contain polygodial, the substance responsible for the warm/hot/pungent flavour. The biological activity of polygodial has been reported in the scientific literature to include antifungal and antimicrobial activities, antihyperalgesia, potent attachment-inhibitory activity, insect antifeedant activity, antinociception, vasorelaxation action in vessels of rabbit and guinea pig, anti-inflammatory and antiallergic activities (wikipedia, sic).
Care and Cultivation of Tasmannia lanceolata
Tasmannia lanceolata seed should be sown just under surface of good seed raising mix in full sun to part shade. Untreated seeds can take 6-9 months to germinate. Hot water treatment may be advantageous or cold stratification (pending our investigations, it has a dormancy which is either physical or physiological). Likes a full sun or part shade position with adequate moisture and regular fertiliser.
50+ seeds per packet