Mount Donna Buang, Victoria, Australia
Tasmannia is a genus of woody, evergreen flowering plants of the family Winteraceae. The 40 species of Tasmannia are native to Australia, New Guinea, Sulawesi, Borneo, and the Philippines. The Winteraceae are magnoliids, and are associated with the humid Antarctic flora of the Southern Hemisphere. The members of the family generally have aromatic bark and leaves, and some are used to extract essential oils. The peppery-flavored fruits and leaves (especially dried) of this genus are increasingly used as a condiment in Australia. The peppery flavour can be attributed to polygodial.
The first description of the genus was published by Robert Brown. The species of Tasmannia were formerly classified in genus Drimys, a related group of Winteraceae native to the Neotropics. Recent studies have led to an increasing consensus among botanists to split the genus into two, with the Neotropical species remaining in genus Drimys, and the Australasian species classified in genus Tasmannia.
List of Tasmannia species
- Tasmannia acutifolia
- Tasmannia arfakensis
- Tasmannia beccariana
- Tasmannia brassii
- Tasmannia buxifolia
- Tasmannia coriacea
- Tasmannia cyclopum
- Tasmannia densifolia
- Tasmannia dictyophlebia
- Tasmannia dipetala
- Tasmannia elongata
- Tasmannia fistulosa
- Tasmannia glaucifolia - fragrant pepperbush
- Tasmannia grandiflora
- Tasmannia hatamensis
- Tasmannia insipida - brush pepperbush
- Tasmannia lamii
- Tasmannia lanceolata - mountain pepperbush (Aus) or Cornish pepperleaf (UK)
- Tasmannia macrantha
- Tasmannia membranea – pepper tree
- Tasmannia microphylla
- Tasmannia monticola
- Tasmannia montis-wilhelmii
- Tasmannia myrtoides
- Tasmannia obovata
- Tasmannia oligandra
- Tasmannia pachyphylla
- Tasmannia parviflora
- Tasmannia piperita
- Tasmannia pittosporoides
- Tasmannia purpurascens - broadleaf pepperbush
- Tasmannia reticulata
- Tasmannia rosea
- Tasmannia rubiginosa
- Tasmannia stipitata - Dorrigo pepper
- Tasmannia vaccinioides
- Tasmannia verticillata
- Tasmannia vickeriana - Baw Baw pepper
- Tasmannia xerophila - alpine pepperbush
Distribution and habitat
In Australia, the Tasmannia genus ranges from Tasmania and eastern Victoria and New South Wales to southeastern Queensland, and in the mountains of northeastern Queensland, where it grows in moist mountain forests and in wet areas in the drier forest and along watercourses to an elevation of 1500 m (5000 ft).
'Tasmanian pepper' or 'mountain pepper' (T. lanceolata, often referred to as Drimys lanceolata or T. aromatica) was the original pepperbush used by colonial Australians, and was introduced into cultivation in Cornwall, UK, to become the 'Cornish pepperleaf' associated with Cornish cuisine. It has large, peppery berries which are also high in antioxidants. Safrole is the biggest limitation with using wild strains of mountain pepper, and safrole-free strains of mountain pepper have been selected for the spice trade.
Tasmannia stipitata, Dorrigo pepper, is also sold as a spice and was the original pepperbush used in specialty native food restaurants in the 1980s. Dorrigo pepper is safrole free and has a strong peppery flavour.
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- "Tasmannia". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government.
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- Doust, Andrew N. and Drinnan, Andrew N., 2004. Floral development and molecular phylogeny support the generic status of Tasmannia (Winteraceae). American Journal of Botany 91: 321–331.
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