- Scientific name: Piper nigrum
- Family: Piperaceae (pepper)
Climber up to 4m tall. Stems round and smooth. Leaves up to 9cm long with prominent vein arrangement. Flower stalks (inflorescences) opposite leaves, solitary, hanging (pendulous). Fruits loosely arranged, dark red when fully ripe. Pollinated by insect and self-pollination.
- Pepper is the world's most important spice, accounting for a quarter of the world’s spice trade. Now harvested in great quantities it was once so scarce that is was worth its weight in gold and regularly used as a form of currency.
- Red, green, black and white peppercorns all come from the same plant: red is the mature seed, green is the immature seed, black has been dried and white has had the skin removed.
- Pepper is the spice that put the Americas on the map. Columbus sailed west not east in search of the East Indies and pepper. He didn’t find what he was looking for but he did discover the Americas!