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Piper longum


Piper longum L.

Family Name: Piperaceae
Common Name: Indian Long Pepper, 荜拔


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Climber, Vine & Liana
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 4 m to 6 m


Native Distribution India, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam
Native Habitat Terrestrial

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Climber which forms winding stems that are up to several meters long.
Foliage Leaves near the base of the stem are ovate (egg-shaped) to approximately reniform (kidney-shaped) and have long petioles (leaf stalks) up to 9 cm long. Leaves near the tip of the stem are ovate to ovate-oblong (intermediate between egg-shaped and elongated) and have almost no petiole and clasp the stem. They vary in size from 6-12 cm long and 3-12 cm wide.
Flowers Male and female flowers occur on separate plants. Male flowers are arranged in a narrow spike inflorescence (4-5 cm long, 3 mm wide). A male flower has 2 stamens which have short stalks and oval-shaped anthers (pollen-producing structure). Female flowers are also arranged in a spike inflorescence (1.5-2.5 cm long, 2.5-4 mm wide).
Fruits When the female spike inflorescence bears fruit, it becomes 2-3 cm long. The tiny, round fruits contain a stony pit and are known as drupes (2 mm wide).
Habitat They occur in forests at altitudes of about 600 m.

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade
Water Preference Lots of Water


Mature Foliage Texture(s) Powdery / Waxy Bloom
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Oblong, Reniform)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute, Acuminate
Foliar Base Cordate

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Unisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Inflorescence Type Spike

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Black
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Fleshy Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Non-Accessory Fruit

Image Repository



Master ID 32003
Species ID 6405
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 20 August 2021.