Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Peperomia tetraphylla Hook. & Arn.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
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Leaves and fruit. © R. Jensen
Habit, leaves and fruit. © R. Jensen
Flowers. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photographer: M. Fagg.
Leaves and inflorescences. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photographer: M. Fagg.
Herbarium specimen. © CSIRO

Hooker, W.J. & Arnott, G.A.Walker (1832) The Botany of Captain Beechey's Voyage 3: 97. Type: Society Island, Forster (holo: BM, fide H.Huber, Rev. Handb. Fl. Ceylon 6: 292 (1987), nut n.v. by author).


Succulent herb up to 10 cm tall. Stems erect, becoming decumbent and rooting at the nodes, glabrous to densely puberulous; internodes up to 25 mm long.


Leaves very succulent, in whorls of 4, petiolate; lamina ovate-rhomboidal to orbicular, 10-14 x 7-9 mm, glabrous above, with sparse trichomes below when young, secondary veins obscure; petiole 7-10 mm long with sparse trichomes.


Spikes terminal and up to 43 mm long, solitary; peduncle 7-8 mm long and sparsely covered in trichomes to shortly pubescent; fertile axes 10-35 mm long, densely hispid. Flowers deeply sunken into axis, spaced 0.6-1 mm apart; floral bracts rounded, 0.3-0.5 long and wide; ovary rounded, 0.4-0.6 x 0.3-0.5 mm.


Drupes sticky, smooth, ca. 1 x 0.6 mm.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NEQ, CEQ and southwards to south eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range from 180-1200 m. Grows on moss-covered rocks and especially on tree trunks in the shade of rainforest, vineforest, sclerophyll forest, Eucalypt forest and micriphyll moss/fern thicket. Widely distributed in Africa, Malesia, Melanesia, New Guinea to Lord Howe Island.

Natural History & Notes

Natural hybrids between Peperomia. blanda and P. tetraphylla are known from Qld.

Piper tetraphyllum G.Forst., Florulae Insularum Australium Prodromus : 5(1786). Peperomia affinis Domin ex F.M.Bailey, Queensland Agricultural Journal 24(5): 222(1910), Type: Atherton, J.F. Bailey; Tambourine Mountain, Dr. Karl Domin. Peperomia aemula (Endl.) Endl., Annalen des Wiener Museums der Naturgeschichte 1: 164, No. 836(1836). Piper reflexum L.f., Supplementum Plantarum : 91(1782). Piper reflexa P.I.Forst., Austrobaileya 4(1): 99(1993). Peperomia reflexa f. norfolkensis Miq., Systema Piperacearum : 172(1843), Type: Norfolk Is., F.L.Bauer; holo: B probably destroyed; iso: K. Piper aemulum Endl., Prodromus Florae Norfolkicae : 36(1833), Type: Crescit in insula Norfolk, mense Octobri florens. (Ferd. Bauer.). Peperomia reflexa var. aemula (Endl.) C.DC., Prodromus 16(1): 451(1869).
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