Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Piper caninum Blume

Slender Vine
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Female flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and fruits. © CSIRO
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Fruit. © W. T. Cooper
Male flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and male flowers. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Blume, C. (1826) Verhandlungen van het Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten & Wetenschappen 2: 214. Type: Woonplaats, in vochtige wouden van bergachtige streken, op Java, bij de Sundas bekend als Serung-Lowong. Holo: L?.

Common name

Piper, Common; Common Piper


A slender vine not exceeding a stem diameter of 2 cm.


Leaf blades about 9-18 x 3.5-12 cm, petioles about 0.5-4 cm long with a triangular scar extending from the base almost to the apex. Lower surface of the leaf blade clothed in erect hairs, upper surface glabrous. Stipules caducous, about 0.5-2 cm long, sheathing the terminal bud. Leaves slightly aromatic when crushed.


Male flowers: Inflorescence a dense spike about 3-6 cm long, peduncle about 10-15 mm long, leaf-opposed or at least not axillary. Flowers very small, about 0.6-0.8 mm diam., consisting of a petal scale and stamens. Stamens about 0.6-1 mm long. Anthers about 0.2-0.25 mm long, filaments about 0.4-0.75 mm long. Female flowers: Inflorescence a dense spike about 15 mm long, peduncle about 8-10 mm long, leaf-opposed. Flowers small, difficult to discern, consisting of a peltate bract about 0.8 mm diam. and an ovary. Ovary about 0.8 mm long, surrounded by multicellular short hairs. Stigmas small, glandular and elongated. Ovules 1.


Infructescence about 6-13 cm long, on a peduncle about 1.5 cm long. Individual fruits ellipsoidal, about 6-8 x 6 mm. Pedicels about 2-3 mm long. Seeds ellipsoidal, about 5-6 x 3.5-4 mm. Embryo linear, about 0.7 -1.5 x 0.4 mm, enclosed in a conical structure. Radicle longer and wider than the cotyledons.


Cotyledons +/- reniform or orbicular-cordate, about 20-27 x 21-26 mm, petioles densely clothed in hairs. Cotyledon apex broadly mucronate or abruptly acuminate, base +/- truncate. Cotyledons hairy or almost glabrous on the upper surface, lower surface densely clothed in hairs. First leaves cordate, +/- 5-veined at the base. Both surfaces of the leaf blades clothed in hairs, the lower surface more densely clothed. Leaf blades and cotyledons very pale, almost white on the lower surface. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade ovate, apex acuminate, base cordate with the lobes +/- overlapping, 3-7-veined close to the base but becoming penninerved towards the apex. Underside of the leaf blade clothed in pale, erect hairs, upper surface with hairs +/- confined to the main veins. Midrib raised on the upper surface. Stipules caducous, glabrous, about 6-15 mm long, enclosing the terminal bud and attached to the adaxial surface of the petiole. Adventitious roots present at most nodes. Roots emit a spicy odour when crushed. Seed germination time 41 to 47 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ and in south-eastern Queensland. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 1100 m. Grows in lowland and upland rain forest. Also found in SE Asia and Malesia.

Natural History & Notes

This species may have medicinal properties. The antibacterial compound, bornyl coumarate has been isolated from it. ( tml)

Piper banksii Miq., Pip. Nov. Holl. : 9(1866), Type: Queensland, Endeavour River, 1770, J. Banks s.n. Holo: BM?.
RFK Code
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