Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition
Piper umbellatum L.
Linnaeus, C. (1762) Species Plantarum 2: 43. Type: Domingo, Lecto: Plate in Plumier, Descr. Pl.Amer. 53, t 73 (1693) Fide Huber, in Dassanayake & Fosberg Rev. Handb. Fl. Ceylon 6 :298 (1987).
Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-2 m tall.
Leaf blades orbicular to almost cordate, about 20-30 cm diam., petioles about 10-15 cm long. Petioles completely sheathing the stem when young but ruptured by the expanding buds leaving a narrow wing towards the base. Older twigs marked by leaf scars encircling the twig. Twigs very pithy. About ten or more veins radiate from the base of the leaf blade. Numerous brown glands visible with a lens on the underside of the leaf blade.
Infructescence narrowly cylindrical. Seeds very small, about 0.5 mm diam.
Cotyledons orbicular, about 1.5-2 mm diam. First pair of leaves +/- cordate arising almost at the same point as the cotyledons. First pair of true leaves, cordate, underside clothed in short erect white hairs. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade cordate, apex acuminate, somewhat aromatic when crushed. Petiole exudate slightly milky. Stipules about 25 mm long on the petiole and sheathing the terminal bud which splits the petiole as it expands. Stipules becoming dry and papery as the leaf expands. Stem longitudinally ribbed, stems and petioles hairy. Seed germination time 40 to 62 days.
This species may have medicinal properties.