Black Pepper
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Black Pepper
ative Photo: Aarti Khale
Common name: Black Pepper • Hindi: काली मिर्च Kali mirch • Marathi: गोलमिरिच Golmirich • Tamil: Kurumilagu • Malayalam: Kurumulaku • Telugu: Miryalatige • Kannada: Karimenasu • Urdu: Syah mirch • Gujarati: કાલો મિરિચ Kalomirich • Sanskrit: Marich • Marathi: काळी मिरी Kali miri • Mizo: Thinghmarcha
Botanical name: Piper nigrum    Family: Piperaceae (Pepper family)

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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