Botanical Characteristics


Root Black pepper, Piper nigrum L. belonging to the family Piperaceae, is a perennial, climbing vine . The plants form short roots, called adventitious roots, which connect to surrounding supports.
Vine The plant has a branching vine with a smooth, woody, articulate stem swollen at the joints. As a woody climber, it may reach heights of 10 m by means of its aerial roots.

Black pepper vines develop three types of aerial shoots, namely (a) primary stem with long internodes, with adventitious roots which cling to the standards (b) runner shoots which originate from the base of the vine and have long internodes which strike roots at each node and (c) fruit bearing lateral branches.

Leaves Leaves - arranged alternately on the stems. They are shaped like almonds and taper towards the tip. They are dark green and shiny above but paler green below.
Flowers Flowers - grow in clusters along flowering stalks known as spikes. Between 50 to 150 whitish to yellow-green flowers are produced on a spike.
Fruits The flowers develop into round, berry-like fruits. There may be 50-60 fruits on each spike. They grow to a diameter of 4 to 6 mm, each containing a single seed. Fruits are green at first but they turn red as they ripen. These fruits are picked when either green or red to produce black and white pepper.The odour is penetrating and aromatic; the taste is hot, biting and very pungent