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Tasmannia facts for kids

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Tasmannia lanceolata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Magnoliids
Order: Canellales
Family: Winteraceae
Genus: Tasmannia

Tasmannia is a genus of woody, evergreen flowering plants native to Australia, New Guinea, Celebes, Borneo and the Philippines. Most species have aromatic bark and leaves. Some are used to extract essential oils. Their peppery-flavored fruits and leaves (especially dried) are increasingly used as a condiment in Australia. They have a peppery flavour due to the presence of polygodial. The taste is a cross between chile and peppercorn.

Distribution and habitat

In Australia, the genus ranges from Tasmania and eastern Victoria and New South Wales to southeastern Queensland. It is also found in the mountains of northeastern Queensland. There it grows in moist mountain forests and in wet areas in the drier forest and along watercourses to up to 1500 m (5000 ft).

Culinary use

'Tasmanian pepper' or 'mountain pepper' (pictured) was the original pepperbush used by colonial Australians. It was grown in Cornwall in England, to become the 'Cornish pepperleaf' (associated with Cornish cuisine). It has large, peppery berries which are also high in antioxidants. But due to the presence of safrole, safrole-free strains of mountain pepper are selected for the spice trade.

'Dorrigo pepper (Tasmannia stipitata) was the original pepper bush present in Specialty foods] restaurants in the 1980s. It is also sold as a spice today. Dorrigo pepper is safrole free and has a strong peppery flavour.

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