Piper nigrum




pronounced: py-per-RAY-see-eye

the pepper family

Piper is the Latin name for pepper. These are climbers (or, in a few cases, small trees or shrubs) with stems jointed and enlarged at the nodes. Plants are often rhizomatous, and the stems can be simple or branched. The leaves are simple with entire margins, and can be alternate, opposite or whorled. The leaves are often noticeably aromatic when crushed. The inflorescence is generally leaf-opposed, usually condensed, a raceme or spike. The minute flowers are usually bisexual, with no perianth, each flower subtended by a peltate bract. There are up to 10 stamens, with opposite, discrete loculi. The ovary is unilocular, and superior. The fruit is drupe-like, with a single seed per fruit.



from a Dutch educational wallchart c. 1906