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a family of dicotyledonous plants. The plants are erect or climbing shrubs, herbs, and, less often, small trees. The entire leaves are commonly alternate and fleshy. Small and unattractive flowers, which are usually bisexual, are frequently in dense spikes. The perianth is absent. There are one to ten stamens. The gynoecium has two to five carpels. The fruit is a berry or drupe. The Piperaceae have oil-secreting cells in the parenchymatous tissue. The family has more than 2,000 species, making up ten to 12 genera. The plants grow mainly in the tropics. The largest genera are Piper and Peperomia (approximately 600 species). Several species of Peperomia are grown as ornamentals.