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Piperaceae, Peperomia pellucida

March 6, 2008

Peperonia

I am curious why this post receives more hits then practically any other on this blog. Any feedback to that effect would be appreciated. 

Peperonia, along with Purslane and Talinium triangulare, is one of those edible herbs that can be found growing out of the cracks of sidewalks and in abandoned niches throughout the city, few people understand that it is an excellent edible leaf, with a delicate taste, reminiscent of cilantro. It has a very shallow root and a succulent stem (also edible), it volunteers itself and grows extensively throughout my nurseries, usually self-propagating at the base of larger potted trees. 

The leaves can be added to salads. In the west Indies they are used to make tea. Medicinally the leaves adn stems are used in a poultice to treat eye infections. A deconcoction of the leaves is used to lower uric acid (for rheumatism and gout).

See link for more on Peperomia medicinal applications: http://www.drugs.com/npp/peperomia-pellucida.html

The other Piper species yielding edible leaves are Piper umbellatum and Piper stylosum, there are probably others. Piper betel is also worth mentioning because, although the leaf isn’t eaten as one would eat Peperomia, the leaves are used as a part of the betel quid, wrapped around the seed of Areca catechu, the betel nut palm, very common throughout southeast Asia. I am propagating the betel nut palm in my nurseries but have yet to find Piper betel.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. TNAndy permalink
    September 6, 2008 10:08:16 pm

    Try these sources for Piper betel plants:

    http://stores.ebay.com/Wellspring-Gardens (I bought mine for under $10, but they are out of stock from time to time)

    http://toptropicals.com/catalog/uid/piper_betle.htm

    http://www.bhatia-nurseries.com/paan.htm

    Good luck!

  2. September 12, 2008 10:08:47 pm

    Thanks. I’ll check it out. It would be a great plant to have.

  3. kristalopez permalink
    March 12, 2009 10:08:18 pm

    Awesome website,
    I am a biology teacher at Colegio Isaac Rabin, some professors here have been talking about you and your work. I am a botanist and will be teaching a section on plants later in the year. I would love to meet with you and see if we could arrange a field trip.

    I live in Gamboa and also work with the Smithsonian Institute. My husband is also a botanist and is working on Flora Exotica project with STRI and SENACYT across the country.

    I look forward to hearing from you,
    Krista

  4. November 4, 2009 10:08:01 am

    Do you know of a source for this plant? I have been looking for some. It seems all I can find is information – not plants for sale.

    Thanks!

    • OZARKS11 permalink
      November 29, 2009 10:08:34 pm

      TRY EBAY. I JUST ORDERED SOME FROM A SITE CALLED SEEDSGARDEN AND THEY WERE VERY INEXPENSIVE.

  5. March 9, 2013 10:08:43 am

    My guess is that it’s a house plant for most of the world and people don’t realise that they are actually useful for more than air purification. I didn’t know that they were edible. You learn something every day :)

    • March 9, 2013 10:08:21 pm

      I think there are a lot of Pepperomia that aren’t edible, P. pellucida is. I think I originally found it in a funky old medicinal plants of the Caribbean book. The book is pretty much full of plants that most consider to be “weeds”, all actually significant wild and semi-domesticated plants used for a wide range of medicinal purposes, found in traditional homegardens throughout the Caribbean.

      • March 9, 2013 10:08:01 pm

        I took cuttings from a peperomia when we were attending Polytechnic (way back ;) ) and they all grew. I have 5 of them still in the glasshouse going nuts. I might check them out to see if they have any use other than ornamental. Great post and very enlightening :)

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