The California Pepper that is now a part of the new patio in front of Barrett Junction Cafe & Mercantile is estimated to be 75 years old.
According to Wikipedia, the California Pepper, also known as Peruvian Pepper, (Latin name: Schinus molle) will grow to 50 feet tall and 16 to 33 feet in diameter. The trunk on this tree is at least within that range if not more. They are a slow growing tree, the more water the faster they grow. The peppercorns have been mixed with traditional pepper, however, the berries and leaves are poisonous. Following the short paragraph at Wikipedia it would seem that the tree has a few medicinal uses, with antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It has shown some promise as an alternative to traditional insecticides.
The Mexican curanderos use the branches of the S. Molle, California Pepper, to brush over the ill person and bury them, as part of a healing ritual. While the berries have been carried for protection. To go one step further, you can make a broom of the branches and leaves to sweep away any evil lurking around your home or yard. To create a purification bath, add the leaves and let sit before taking your bath.
The back country areas and many populated ones, have California Pepper as a shade tree. Although as an insecticide I am not sure how well it works. If you look closely around the bark you will find trails of ants. I would be interested to hear if you have had luck with using it for other insects. Not much will grow around the base of the tree. Grass won’t grow, the tree takes too much of the nutrients, water, and shades the ground very well.
Come out and have lunch under this ol’ tree, the benches, tables, and chairs are waiting for you.