Drimys winteri
Common name: 
Winter's Bark
Pepper Bark
DRIM-is WIN-ter-i (WIN-te-ree)
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Evergreen tree or often a multi-stemmed shrub, to about 25 ft (7.5 m) tall, but reaches 50 ft (15 m) in its native habitat, branches droop, bark mahogany red, aromatic.  Leaves simple, alternate, leathery, elliptical to oblong-lanceolate, 3-20 cm long and 1-8 cm wide, margin entire, bright glossy green above, whitish bloom below; peppery odor when crushed.  Flowers with cream to white 5-7 petals, sepals red, as many as 10 flowers per cluster; blooms in winter or spring, fragrant.  Fruit bluish then glossy black.
  • Sun or light shade, well-drained soil
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 8     Native to Argentina and Chile
  • winteri: after Captain John Winter (1555–1638) (not his uncle William Winter as per Coombes, 1985), who sailed with Sir Francis Drake (1577-80).   Drake's ship the Golden Hind and Captain Winter's ship the Elizabeth were the only ships of the orginal five to survive the trip into the Pacific Ocean.,  However they became separated and the Elizabeth returned to the Straits of Magellan.  It was here that Captain Winter, a doctor, discovered from natives living in the Straits that the bark of a local tree called "Canelo," when brewed as a tea, would keep sailors from becoming ill. Vitamin C, vital to good health and unknown then, was present in the bark.  The Elizabeth, badly storm beaten, returned safely to England without circumnavigating the globe as did Drake..
  • Winter's Bark: the aromatic bark is used to treat Captain John Winter's stomach problems.  
  • Portland, Oregon: Hoyt Arboretum
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, in native habitat (southern Chile)

    plant habit, in native habitat (southern Chile)

  • leaves


  • flowers


  • leaves and young fruit

    leaves and young fruit

  • trunk, bark

    trunk, bark