Synonyms: Macropiper APNI*
Description: Climbers, herbs or shrubs, mostly aromatic.
Leaves palmately or pinnately veined; petiole with expanded base, scars encircling stem at nodes.
Spikes or racemes simple, bracts closely appressed to stem. Floral bracts triangular, round-triangular or calciform. Flowers [bisexual or] unisexual and then plants monoecious; stamens several (up to 6); anther loculi short and separate on a distinct connective. Ovary glabrous, carpels usually 3 or 4 arising from initially distinct primordia, stigmas usually 2–4, not penicillate.
Fruit fleshy, immersed in the swollen fleshy rachis.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 2000 species, tropical regions. Australia: 11 species (c. 7 species endemic; 2 naturalised species on Christmas Island), Qld, N.S.W., N.T.
Piper includes the pepper plants or pepper vines, and is an ecologically and economically important genus; Piper nigrum Black Pepper being a significant source of peppercorns for cullinary and other uses, Betel Leaf P. betle mostly used in Asia, and Kava P. methysticum consumed mainly in the western Pacific; Piper species provide spices and vegetables, as well as being used in folk medicines and as ornamentals.
M.A. Jaramillo et al., A phylogeny of the tropical genus Piper using ITS and the chloroplast intron psbJ-petA. Systematic Botany 33(4): 647-660 (2008), found Macropiper to be a clade within Piper and treated it as a synonym.
Text by G.J. Harden, Fl. NSW Vol. 1 (1990); updated by P.G. Kodela, March 2017
Taxon concept: M.A. Jaramillo et al., A phylogeny of the tropical genus Piper using ITS and the chloroplast intron psbJ-petA. Systematic Botany 33(4): 647-660 (2008)
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Climber; leaf venation pinnate to palmate; inflorescences leaf-opposed||Piper hederaceum|
|Shrub or small tree; leaf venation palmate; inflorescences axillary||2|
|2||Fruit yellow or orange; individual drupelets coalescent, dimpled at apex; leaves (5-)8–10(-15) cm long, (6-)8–10(-17) cm wide, with 5–7(-9) principal veins||Piper excelsum|
|Fruit red; individual drupelets not coalescent, rounded-conical at apex; leaves (7-)10–14(-18) cm long, (8-)12–16(-20) cm wide, with 7–9(-11) principal veins|
Back to 1