w ~Pimientillo (Trichilia trifolia), A New Shrub for South Florida'er
Alan W. Meerow and Timothy K. Broschat Library
University of Florida, IFAS
Ft. Lauderdale Research & Education Center APR 1 1989
FLREC Ornamentals Research Report 88-7
University of Florida
Trichilia trifolia, the pimientillo, is a small, medium-textured, evergreen-tree
or shrub in the Mahogany family native to Mexico, the West Indies, and parts of
Central and South America. The pimientillo is drought-tolerant, grows well on
alkaline soils, and may be fairly salt-tolerant since it often occurs near the coast. The
tree grows at a moderately fast rate, eventually reaching 15-20 feet if unpruned. If
trained into a tree form, the trunk eventually takes on a picturesque gnarled
appearance. The trifoliate (ocassionaly unifoliate) leaves are dark green and several
inches long. Flowers and fruit are inconspicuous.
The pimientillo shows excellent promise as a low-maintenance hedge or
foundation plant. It takes clipping very well. Four plants established in the ground at
the Center have been maintained at about 4 feet in height, and are densely branched
from top to ground level. It can also be grown as a small specimen tree. The
pimientillo has proven hardy to 280 F at the Research Center.
Trichilia roots easily from cuttings under intermittent mist. No pest or disease
problems have as yet been encountered.