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Related to pepper: black pepper, green pepper


name for the fruits of several unrelated Old and New World plants used as spices or vegetables or in medicine.

Old World (True) Peppers

Black pepper (Piper nigrum), the true pepper, is economically the most important species of the pantropical pepper family (Piperaceae). It is native to Java, whence it was introduced into other tropical countries. A perennial climbing shrub, it bears pea-sized fruits, the peppercorns of commerce. Black pepper, sold whole or ground, is the dried whole fruit; white pepper, made by removing the dark outer hull, has a milder and less biting flavor. Pepper owes its pungency to a derivative of pyridinepyridine
or azine
, C5H5N, colorless, flammable, toxic liquid with a putrid odor. It melts at −42°C; and boils at 115.5°C;. Chemically, it is a heterocyclic aromatic tertiary amine (see under amino group).
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. In the earliest days of commerce black pepper was a great luxury and a staple article of trade between India and Europe. So high was its price that a few pounds made a royal gift, and the great demand was one of the causes of the search for a sea route to the East. Pepper was valued by Hippocrates for its medicinal properties as a heart and kidney stimulant, and it is still used as a powder or tincture, as a local irritant or liniment, or as a gargle. Many other species of Piper are used medicinally throughout the tropics. The leaves of the betel pepper (P. betle) of the Indomalaysian region are a principal ingredient of the masticatory betelbetel
, masticatory made from slices of betel palm seeds (called betel nuts) smeared onto a betel pepper leaf together with other aromatic flavorings and lime paste and rolled up.
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Cubeb is the name for the berry and for the oil obtained from the unripe berry of the East Indian climbing shrub P. cubeba. The dried fruits are sometimes used as a condiment or are ground and smoked in cigarette form as a catarrh remedy. The oil is used medicinally and also in soap manufacture. The masticated roots of kava, P. methysticum, widely grown in its native Pacific islands, are made into a beverage called kavakava, which contains soporific alkaloids. It is an integral part of religious and social life there. A preparation of kava for commerce, also called kavakava, is sold widely as an herbal remedy for anxiety and insomnia.

New World Peppers

The red peppers, native to warm temperate and tropical regions of America and widely cultivated elsewhere, are various species of Capsicum (of the nightshadenightshade,
common name for the Solanaceae, a family of herbs, shrubs, and a few trees of warm regions, chiefly tropical America. Many are climbing or creeping types, and rank-smelling foliage is typical of many species.
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 family), especially the numerous varieties of C. frutescens. These bushy, woody-stemmed plants were cultivated in South America prior to the time of Columbus, who is said to have taken specimens back to Europe. The "hot" varieties include cayenne pepper, whose dried ground fruit is sold as a spice, and the chili pepper, sold similarly as a powder or in a sauce (one variety is known in the United States by the trade name Tabasco). The chili pepper is much used in cooking in Mexico, where some 200 varieties are known. Paprika (the Hungarian name for red pepper) is a ground spice from a less pungent variety widely cultivated in Central Europe.

The pimiento, or Spanish pepper, with a small fruit used as a condiment and for stuffing olives, and the sweet red and green peppers, with larger fruits used as table vegetables and in salads, are mild types. (The pimiento should not be confused with the pimentopimento
or allspice,
common names for a tree (Pimenta dioica or P. officinalis) of the family Myrtaceae (myrtle family) cultivated in the West Indies for its dried unripe berries, used medicinally and as a spice (also called pimento or allspice).
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 or allspice, of the myrtle family.) A variety of C. frutescens with delicate leaves and cherrylike fruit is grown as an ornamental and house plant.


True pepper is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Piperales, family Piperaceae.



(Piper nigrum), a species of plants of the genus Piper of the family Piperaceae. The pepper, a perennial climbing plant, has a semilignified, flexible, slender stalk, measuring 10–12 m long, and adventitious aerial roots, which form on the nodes. The entire leaves are ovate, leathery, and alternate. The small flowers, which are grayish green or white, are gathered into loose inflorescences measuring 7–10 cm long. The fruit, a globose one-seeded drupe, is 3–5 mm in diameter. Originally green in color, the drupe turns red when ripe and black when dried.

The pepper is native to India. It is cultivated in the tropical regions of Southeast Asia, Eastern Africa, and America. In the USSR the plant is grown in hothouses. The cultivated pepper is monoecious; the wild form is dioecious. When propagated by seeds, the pepper flowers in the third or fourth year. Plants that have been propagated vegetatively flower in the fifth or sixth month. The plant flowers only once; the fruit ripens in five to ten months. Peppers graft well; they branch profusely after pruning.

The harvest from one pepper plant is 0.6–1.5 kg. The optimal air temperature is 24°-26°C. The plant, which is not drought resistant, grows best on fertile soils that are moist but drained. As many as 7,500 plants may be planted per hectare (with three seeds in each hole).

The pepper plant is used as a spice in cooking and by the food-processing industry. Its pungency and spiciness depend on its content of the alkaloid pipeline and essential oils.


What does it mean when you dream about a pepper?

Pepper can represent spiciness, irritation, or warmth—all of which are metaphors for aspects of human interaction. In a dream, pepper could be representing any one of these qualities.


Any of several warm-season perennials of the genus Capsicum in the order Polemoniales, especially C. annum which is cultivated for its fruit, a many-seeded berry with a thickened integument.
(food engineering)
Any of various spices and condiments obtained from the fruits of plants of the genus Piper.


1. a woody climbing plant, Piper nigrum, of the East Indies, having small black berry-like fruits: family Piperaceae
2. the dried fruit of this plant, which is ground to produce a sharp hot condiment
3. any of various other plants of the genus Piper
4. any of various tropical plants of the solanaceous genus Capsicum, esp C. frutescens, the fruits of which are used as a vegetable and a condiment
5. the fruit of any of these capsicums, which has a mild or pungent taste
6. any of various similar but unrelated plants, such as water pepper


A variant of POP-11 by Chris Dollin <>.
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