diemen pepper

The Plant

native pepper leaf

Tasmannia lanceolata
Native Pepper leaf and distictive crimson stem

Tasmannia lanceolata
Native Pepper berries

Tasmannia lanceolata
Native Pepper in flower

Tasmannia lanceolata - native or mountain pepper

Tasmania's native 'pepper' is a lovely rainforest shrub growing to 5 metres high with dark green leaves, black berries and distinctive crimson stems. Found from sea level to mountain tops in Tasmania, and the south eastern Australian mainland, it belongs to a family of plants from the ancient Gondwanan supercontinent, now found in the countries around the south Pacific rim.

The leaves and fruit of Tasmannia lanceolata contain a hot tasting compound (polygodial) which, together with many of the aromatic compounds common in many other Australian plants, gives an unusual fragrant, spicy taste and a 'bushy' rainforest feel.

Today the leaves and berries of native pepper give a 'wild, natural and spicy' taste to Australian native cuisine, and are finding their way onto menus and into pantries all around the world. Recent research has demonstrated the beneficial properties of the leaves and berries of Native pepper as well as many other native Australian plants. Ask us for more information.

Polygodial - an unusual and potent natural ingredient

The aromatic compounds in the foliage, fruit and bark of Tasmanian native pepper have prompted several investigations of its natural chemistry. Many interesting compounds have been identified, but the most unusual and interesting of these is ‘polygodial’.

Polygodial was first identified in leaf extracts in 1962 and has been a ‘compound of interest’ ever since. Besides the hot flavour, lots of other biological properties have been demonstrated - in particular the antimicrobial and antifungal activity which features in trials of shelf-life extension for fish and meat products, and application in therapeutic and nutritional products.