. Piper aduncum is a shrub or small tree that is
of the West Indies and mainland tropical
America from Mexico
to northern Argentina. It is an invader of disturbed
it is able to form thickets, and spreads
by sprouts and suckers
It is a problem in some Pacific Islands, where it can interfere with
the harvesting of the related kava plant. It has a number of uses,
including traditional medicines and agroforestry. Provides food and
for wildlife, can be used for revegetating disturbed areas,
and contributes to the biomass
(Francis, 2003). P.
aduncum stakes are used in Papua New Guinea to create terraces
for agriculture and to prevent erosion (Bourke, 1997).
Wood can be used for basic construction, fuel, stakes and fences. Has ornamental value and the fruit is used to season food. Essential oils from this species have antibacterial properties and may also be used as an insecticide and a molluscicide. Tea made from the leaves and roots is used to treat diarrhea , dysentery, vomiting, ulcers, and can also be used for the control of bleeding (Francis, 2003).
Click on the language to view common names.
Common Names in English:
Aerta Ru, Anisillo, Bamboo Piper, False Matico, Higuillo De Hoja Menuda, Santa Mar, Spiked Pepper
Common Names in Fijian:
Yaqona Ni Onolulu
Common Names in Portuguese:
Common Names in Spanish:
, or climbers
, rarely trees
, usually aromatic
. Vascular bundles
in a monocotyledonlike manner. Tip
of stem sometimes enclosed within a stipulelike sheath
, the prophyll, sometimes adnate
, absent in Peperomia. Leaves alternate, often opposite or whorled
in Peperomia, simple
, palmately or pinnately veined. Inflorescence a pedunculate
spike, rarely grouped into an umbel, rarely a raceme
(in Zippelia), leaf-opposed or axillary
, rarely terminal
. Flowers small, bisexual
, polygamous or dioecious, nearly always sessile; bracts small, usually peltate or cupular, usually without perianth. Stamens 1-10; filaments
, longitudinally dehiscent
. Gynoecium 2-5-carpellate, connate; ovary superior, 1-locular, ovule 1, orthotropous
; stigmas 1-5, sessile or with very short styles. Fruit a small drupe or nutlet
; pericarp fleshy
, thin or dry, sometimes with sticky papillae (in Peperomia) or glochidiate
spines (in Zippelia) . Seeds with copious
and a minute embryo embedded
in small endosperm.
About eight or nine genera and 2000-3000 species: tropical and subtropical regions, mostly in North and South America, rather fewer in Asia, a few in Africa; three genera and 68 species (36 endemic, four introduced ) in China.
Species Artanthe adunca
Piper aduncum is a shrub or small tree up to 7 m tall and 10 cm or more in stem diameter, with short silt roots and medium-hard, brittle wood ; foliage and twigs aromatic . Can grow as individual plants or in thickets. Branches are erect , but with drooping twigs and swollen, purplish nodes. Leaves alternate, distichous, elliptic , 12-22 cm long, shortly petiolate ; lamina scabrid above, with sunken nerves , softly hairy beneath . Inflorescence a leaf-opposed, curved spike on a 12-17 cm peduncle, white to pale yellow, turning green with maturity. Flowers crowded in regular transverse ranks . Perianth absent; usually 4 stamens. Fruit a 1-seeded berry, compressed into greyish, wormlike spikes. Seeds brown to black, 0.7 -1.25 mm long, compressed, with a reticulate surface (Waterhouse and Mitchell, 1998 in PIER , 2003).
rainforest areas and rainforest margins
. Can grow up to
(Bourke, 1997). In the Highlands of PNG this species
goes up to 2000 m (Pers. comm.
, Dr. Jan Leps) . In Fiji, it is an
from sea level to 400 m, most often along roadsides
and in thickets, but also sometimes in secondary forest
or on forested
, rarely found in intact rainforests (Smith, 1981 in PIER
Lives in areas that receive from 1500 to greater than 4000 mm of mean annual rainfall. Colonizes most soil types, apart from excessively well-drained soils, where it only grows at the upper end of the rainfall range ; dry soils; and salty soils (Francis, 2003).
Requires high light levels and a bare soil surface, which means that disturbance is necessary for this species to establish. Moderately intolerant of shade, as it requires at least partial exposure to sunlight for it to reach a large size and flower (Francis, 2003).
Biome: agricultural areas, disturbed areas, natural forest
Ecology: A pest in the Pacific, where it can become mixed with the kava (Piper methysticum) crop during harvesting, lowering its quality. Also competes with kava and other crops. May act as a host for kava pests and pathogens (Plant Protection Service, 2001).
Seeds can be dispersed by birds and a number of species of bat (PIER
2003; Lobova and Mori, 2002). May be introduced
into new areas on
machinery, particularly logging
equipment. Locally, it spreads
, forming large clumps
Propagation of this species can be carried out by planting cuttings directly into soil (Bourke, 1997). Piper aduncum flowers and fruits year-round. Seeds have a low germination rate , while cuttings are more successful (Francis, 2003). The seed weight reported is 0.17 mg (Leps et al. 2002). Also Garcia et al. reported that P. aduncum was the most common in viable seeds in faeces of bats.
Sprouts and suckers are able to grow more than a metre in their first year. Individual stems can live from 2 to several years, but through sprouting they can live for much longer (Francis, 2003).
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- Haeckel, 1866
- Cavalier-Smith, 1981
- Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Vascular Plants
- Kenrick & Crane, 1997
- Class: Magnoliopsida () - Brongniart, 1843 - Dicotyledons
- Infraphylum: Radiatopses () - Kenrick & Crane, 1997
- Subphylum: Euphyllophytina ()
- Phylum: Tracheophyta () - Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998 - Vascular Plants
- Subkingdom: Viridaeplantae () - Cavalier-Smith, 1981
- Kingdom: Plantae () - Haeckel, 1866 - Plants
Piper aduncum L. • Steffensia Adunca
Publishing author : Miq. Publication : Comm. Phyt. 49. t. 4
Members of the genus Artanthe
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 2 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:
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- ISSG Global Invasive Species Database (http://www.issg.org/database)
- The International Plant Names Index. Accessed Jan 19, 2007.
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 9245956
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 15730905
- Globally Unique Identifier: urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:677277-1
- International Plant Names Index (IPNI) ID: 677277-1
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 17590