Piperaceae

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Description: a family of shrubs, herbs, and epiphytes in this region, with two lianas (Piper multiplinervium and Sarcorhachis naranjoana). The leaves are simple, alternate, entire, and frequently asymmetrical at the base, with sheathing petiole bases (rare outside of the monocots) and no stipules. The nodes of the stem are conspicuously jointed. Piperaceae have a strong and characteristic odor, somewhere between pepper and wintergreen. The plants have sympodial growth (the main lateral meristem terminates at a node and is replaced by another meristem, often giving the twig a zigzag appearance). The Piperaceae inflorescence is absolutely unmistakable: a long spike of much reduced flowers (often compared to a rat’s tail), produced from the leaf axil.

Economic uses: Piper nigrum, native to the Kerala region of India, produces black pepper. Kava kava (Piper methysticum) is used as a stimulant in the South Pacific, and can be found in health food stores in the U.S.


Descripción: Una familia de arbustos, hierbas, y epífitas en este sector, con dos bejucos (Piper multiplinervium y Sarcorhachis naranjoana). Las hojas son simples, alternas, enteras, y frecuentemente con la base asimétrica. Carecen de estípulas. La base de los pecíolos es envolvente (una característica poco común fuera de las monocotiledóneas). Los nudos son conspicuos. Las Piperaceas tienen un olor fuerte y característico, similar a la pimienta y la menta. El crecimiento de las ramas es simpodial; es decir, cada rama resulta de una serie de brotes en los cuales cada pedazo de la rama se desarrolla del botón axilar del brote anterior. Como resultado, este crecimiento le da a la rama una apariencia de zigzag. La inflorescencia de la Piperaceas es completamente inconfundible: una espiga larga de flores muy reducidas, como la cola de una rata, que nace de la axila de la hoja.

Usos económicos: Piper nigrum, del estado de Kerala in India, fuente de la pimienta. Kava kava (Piper methysticum) es un estimulante de las islas del sur del mar Pacífico, que a veces se encuentra en tiendas de medicina natural.


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