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Piper nigrum

sanskrit name > V > Piper nigrum
Piper nigrum photo

Latin Name: Piper nigrum

Common Name: Black Pepper, White Pepper

Sanskrit Name: Krishna, Vellaja, Maricha

Family: Piperaceae

Taste: Bitter

Parts Used: Fruit

Habitat: Originally from the humid jungles of the Malabar Coast of Southwest India.

Type: Tender evergreen perennial tropical vine.

Size: 15'

Site and Zone: Partial-shade, Z10, Z11

Soil: Any-garden-soil, rich-soil, well-drained-soil. Does well near a pond and likes-humidity. Does not like to be watered with chlorinated tap water. Use rain water.

Will it Grow in Texas?: Yes, but only in the tropical parts of Texas. Easy to grow but difficult to get it to fruit outside of the tropics.

Propagation: Very easy by layering. Rooted cuttings. Difficult to start from seed. Best germination is from over-ripe pepper seeds, which is not what is available from most suppliers. Germination is best at 77 degrees.

Collection: For black peppercorns, harvest the berries when they are still green before they are fully ripe. Boil briefly to start the browning process, then dry for several days. The wrinkling is the dried fruit around the seed. For white peppercorns, pick berries once they are red and nearly fully ripe, before they fall off the fruiting spike. Waiting too long loses pungency. Soak the berries in water for about a week, during which time the fruit decomposes. Rub off the fruit to reveal the naked greyish white fruit. Green peppers are also made from unripe fruit like the black peppers, but treated to retain the green color, usually with sulfur dioxied or freeze-drying.

Websites for photos and more info: Specialty Crops for Pacific Island Agroforestry