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No. 55 - Tasmanian Mountain Pepper

Quick Overview

Tasmania's native ‘pepper’ is also sometimes referred to as Mountain Pepper. When eaten alone, the berries have a sweet taste at the beginning, followed by short-lasting intense heat. We think they are an interesting alternative to conventional black pepper although you should use with a light hand as they are 10 times as hot!

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Tasmanian Mountain Pepper
No. 5055

Tasmanian Mountain Pepper (Tasmania lanceolata)


The Tasmanian Mountain pepper comes from the uplands of Tasmania and South East Australia.

Strangely, the indigenous Aboriginal peoples are thought not to have used these for spicing foods, although this may simply be colonial wishful thinking. The berries are dark blue-black in color and have a 5 to 8mm diameter knobby round shape, with a ridge around the centre.

It’s found in both the berries and the leaves of this attractive wild shrub which grows wild throughout Tasmania. The pepper bush is a Gondwanaland plant which evolved before that huge prehistoric continent broke up; that is why it has relatives in South America.


The berries are sweet at first, but the aftertaste lingers and builds over 5 or so minutes becoming really sharp, pungent and numbing they are way hotter than classic black peppercorns so use one-quarter of the amount. Best used in slow-cooked foods, stews and soups.

Tasmanian Mountain Pepper is roughly 5 times hotter than normal black.

It’s rather like the Sichuan pepper used so widely used in north-east Asia to produce the famous tongue-numbing hot dishes of the region.

This pepper adds a supplicated taste to a variety of meats, roasted vegetables, in salad dressings or in marinades.

What makes Tasmanian pepper so prized by chefs for its lingering after burn is a compound called polygodial (the experts say it’s a dialdehyde with a bicyclic sesquiterpenoid backbone, in case you really wanted to know).

Tasmanian Mountain Pepper is another special spice that The Spice Lab has had great fun tracking down and is only sold to our web customers.

Additional Information

Common Uses Use these berries to add a wild, natural and spicy taste to native foods such as emu burgers, flavored breads, pastas and pates, mustards and cheeses. They also can be used as a a spicy ingredient in soups and stews. Additionally, they contain a strong red dye which adds vibrant color to pale sauces and cheeses.
History Used in colonial medicine as a substitute for Winter's bark, a stomachache, it was also used for treating scurvy. Mountain pepper is one of a number of native Australian herbs and food species being supported by the Australian Native Food Industry Ltd, which brings together producers of food species from all parts of Australia.
Region(s) No
Ingredients No
Product of:
Organic No