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Black pepper(Piper nigrum)-introduction and full detail(Habitat, Morphology and chemical contents)

Black pepper(Piper nigrum)-introduction and full detail(Habitat, Morphology and chemical contents)

Views: 11 | Updated On: | By Dr. Rachana Jangir

Black pepper (Piper nigrum), usually known as pepper, is a perennial climbing vine in the Piperaceae family that produces a strongly aromatic spice from its fruits. Black pepper is native to India's Malabar Coast and is one of the oldest spices known. Pepper is widely used as a spice all over the world, but it is also used in medicine as a carminative (to reduce flatulence) and as a stimulant of stomach secretions.

Early in history, pepper was widely cultivated in Southeast Asia's tropics, where it became popular as a condiment. Pepper became an important item of overland trade between India and Europe, and it was frequently used as a means of exchange; in ancient Greece and Rome, tributes were paid in pepper. During the Middle Ages, the Venetians and Genoese became Europe's primary distributors, and their virtual monopoly on the trade aided in the hunt for an eastern sea route. The plant is commonly farmed in Indonesia and has been transferred to tropical African and Western Hemisphere countries.

The black pepper plant is a woody climber with aerial roots that can reach heights of 10 meters (33 feet). It has large, lustrous green leaves that are placed alternately. The little blooms are arranged in thick, thin spikes of approximately 50 blossoms each. The fruits, often known as peppercorns, are drupes approximately 5 mm (0.2 inch) in diameter. At maturity, they turn yellowish-red and bear a solitary seed. Their odour is strong and aromatic, and their flavour is spicy, stinging, and pungent. Ground black pepper contains up to 3% essential oil, which has the aromatic flavour but not the pungency of capsicum peppers. The characteristic flavour is principally derived from the chemical piperine, though the seeds also contain chavicine, piperidine, and piperettine.

For maximum growth, the plant requires a long rainy season, moderately high temperatures, and partial shade. Propagation is typically accomplished through stem cuttings, which are planted near a tree or a support pole. Pepper plants are occasionally found on tea or coffee farms. They begin bearing in 2 to 5 years and can continue to yield for up to 40 years.

The fruits are picked when they begin to turn red. The collected fruits are immersed in boiling water for about 10 minutes, which causes them to turn dark brown or black in an hour. Then they are spread out to dry in the sun for three or four days. The whole peppercorns, when ground, yield black pepper. White pepper is obtained by removing the dark outer part of the pericarp, and the flavour is less pungent than that of black pepper. The outer coating is softened either by keeping the berries in moist heaps for 2 or 3 days or by keeping them in sacks submerged in running water for 7 to 15 days, depending on the region. The softened outer coating is then removed by washing and rubbing or by trampling, and the berries are spread in the sun to dry. Whole white peppers can also be prepared by grinding off the outer coating mechanically.

Pepper plants, such as the pepper tree (Schinus molle), the pepper vine (Ampelopsis arborea), and the sweet pepper bush (Clethra alnifolia), are planted as aesthetic plants and are not used as spices.





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