Black pepper is a flowering vine, cultivated for its fruit, which is
usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. Black pepper is native to
South India and is extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical
regions. The pepper plant is a perennial woody vine growing to 4 m in
height on supporting trees, poles, or trellises. It is a spreading vine,
rooting readily where trailing stems touch the ground. The leaves are
alternate, entire, 5-10 cm long and 3-6 cm broad. The flowers are small,
produced on pendulous spikes 4-8 cm long at the leaf nodes, the spikes
lengthening to 7-15 cm as the fruit matures.
The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is a small drupe five
millimetres in diameter, dark red when fully mature, containing a single
seed. Dried ground pepper is one of the most common spices in European
cuisine and its descendants, having been known and prized since antiquity
for both its flavour and its use as a medicine. The spiciness of black
pepper is due to the chemical piperine.
Identification credit: Aarti Khale
Photographed at Jijamata Udyan, Mumbai.
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The flower labeled Black Pepper is ...