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hoja santa, Vera Cruz pepper


Habit Shrubs or subshrubs (rarely herbaceous), reclining, 2-5 m, glabrous.

blade ovate, 20-35×17-20 cm, base narrowly and deeply obliquely cordate, apex abruptly short-acuminate to acute;

surfaces abaxially and adaxially minutely pubescent, most conspicuously so along veins.

blade conspicuously pinnately veined, lateral veins ascending-arching, connected by fainter, ladderlike, tertiary veins.


12-25 cm.

opposite leaves, ascending-arching, densely flowered, distally drooping.


sessile, borne on surface of rachis;

floral bracts fringed with whitish hairs;

stamens 2[-6];

stigmas [2-]3[-4].


not seen.

sessile, oblong (inversely pyramidal-3-angled in P. auritum);

beak minute.


trees, shrubs, subshrubs, or rarely herbs, erect or reclining, glabrous or pubescent.

Piper auritum


Phenology Flowering all year.
Habitat Thickets
Elevation 0-20 m (0-100 ft)
from USDA
Mexico; Central America; West Indies; n South America [Introduced, Fla.]
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
from USDA
Primarily tropics and subtropics
[BONAP county map]

Piper auritum has been collected as "wild" in Broward County, Florida.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Species 1000 (2 in the flora).

This genus includes Piper nigrum Linnaeus, the source of black pepper and white pepper.

Measurements for spike length in all descriptions include the peduncle.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

1. Leaf blade obliquely rounded to obliquely cuneate at base; petiole not winged.
P. aduncum
1. Leaf blade narrowly and deeply obliquely cordate at base; petiole winged at base.
P. auritum
Source FNA vol. 3. FNA vol. 3.
Parent taxa Piperaceae > Piper Piperaceae
Sibling taxa
P. aduncum
Subordinate taxa
P. aduncum, P. auritum
Name authority Kunth: in A. von Humboldt et al., Nov. Gen. Sp. 1: 54. (1816) Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 1: 28. 175: Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 18. (1754)
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