OVERVIEW Pimenta dioica (allspice), native to the West Indies, southern Mexico, and Central America, is widely cultivated in warm regions of the world (Riffle 1998). P. dioica is spread by fruit eating birds and has escaped from cultivation in some areas, including Tonga and Hawai'i (PIER 2003). In Hawai'i, P. dioica has long been cultivated. It was recently published as naturalized for the islands of Kaua'i and Maui (Lorence et al. 1995, Wagner et al. 1999, Starr et al. in press). It is also spreading on O'ahu (Charles Chimera pers. comm.). P. dioica is currently documented from moist lowland disturbed scrub and secondary forests, where it forms a sub-canopy tree. It is not yet known from natural areas, but is still occasionally cultivated, and will likely continue to spread as it is planted. Island wide control would likely not be feasible at this time. Perhaps it could be discouraged from plantings in and near natural areas located near moist lowland areas, where P. dioica is most likely to become invasive. TAXONOMY Family: Myrtaceae (Myrtle family) (Wagner et al. 1999). Latin name: Pimenta dioica (L.) Merrill (Lorence et al. 1995, Wagner et al. 1999). Synonyms: Pimenta officinalis Lindl. (Bailey and Bailey 1976). Common names: Allspice, pimento, Jamaican pepper (Bailey and Bailey 1976, Riffle 1998). Taxonomic notes: The genus, Pimenta, is made up of about 2 to 5 species of aromatic trees in tropical America (Bailey and Bailey 1976). The family, Myrtaceae, is comprised of about 140 genera and over 3,000 species of tropical and subtropical origins worldwide and also temperate Australia (Wagner et al. 1999). Nomenclature: The common name, allspice, refers to its spicy berries which are picked when green and dried creating a spice that resembles nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves (Neal 1965). Related species in Hawai'i: A related species of Pimenta, the bay or bay rum tree, Pimenta racemosa (Mill.) [syn. Pimenta acris Kostel., Myrtus acris Swartz], native to the West Indies, Venezuela, and Guiana, is similar to allspice and can be distinguished by having elliptic leaves with fine venation, slightly larger fruit, and 5 lobed calyx (allspice is 4 lobed) (Neal 1965, Bailey and Bailey 1976). In Hawai'i, P. racemosa is cultivated in at least Olu Pua Botanical Gardens, Kaua'i, Lyon Arboretum, O'ahu, and Hilo, Hawai'i, based on herbarium specimens housed at Bishop Museum. Seeds of P. racemosa are spread by birds and the tree is cultivated and sometimes naturalized in lowlands of Fiji and most of the southern group of the Cook Islands (PIER 2003).