Common name: Kawakawa
Piper excelsum G.Forst. APNI*
Synonyms: Macropiper excelsum (G.Forst.) Miq. APNI*
Description: Shrub or tree up to 6 m tall, branching ± zigzag, jointed and swollen at nodes.
Leaves slightly aromatic and peppery; lamina broadly ovate to suborbicular; base cordate to rounded passing through a shallow 'V'-shape onto petiole; apex abruptly narrowed to obtuse; petioles 1–5(-7) cm long.
Spikes unisexual, solitary or usually paired, 1.5–8 cm long; peduncles c. 1 cm long.
Fruit fleshy, drupe-like, broadly obovoid, yellow to orange. Seeds ellipsoidal.
Distribution and occurrence: occurs in Australia (Lord Howe Island), Norfolk Island, New Zealand (Kermadec Island and Chatham Islands).
NSW subdivisions: LHI
Two subspecies: Piper excelsum subsp. psittacorum occurs in Australia (Lord Howe Island) and Norfolk Island; subsp. excelsum is confined to New Zealand and the Chatham Islands.
Text by B.J. Conn following H.H. Allan (1961), as Macropiper excelsum (G.Forst.) Allan; updated 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)
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.