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|Piper nigrum, from Koehler (1887)|
The Piperaceae, also known as the pepper family, are a large family of flowering plants. The group contains roughly 3,600 currently accepted species in 13 genera. The vast majority of peppers can be found within the two main genera: Piper (2000 species) and Peperomia (1600 species).
Members of the Piperaceae may be small trees, shrubs, or herbs. The distribution of this group is best described as pantropical.
The APG III system of 2009 recognizes this family, and assigns it to the order Piperales in the unranked clade magnoliids. The family consists of five genera: Piper, Peperomia, Zippelia, Manekia, and Verhuellia. The previously recognised Pacific genus Macropiper, was recently merged into Piper. A tentative cladogram showing relationships based on Wanke et al. (2007) is shown below. This phylogeny was based on 6000 basepairs of chloroplast DNA. Only recently has it become clear that Verhuellia is sister to the other four genera in the family.
Roots and stems
Leaves are simple with entire margins, and are positioned at the base of the plant or along the stem, and can be alternate, opposite, or whorled in arrangement. Stipules are usually present, as are petioles. The leaves are often noticeably aromatic when crushed.
Inflorescences (in the form of spikes) are terminal, opposite the leaves, or located in the axils. Flowers are bisexual, with no perianth, each flower is subtended by a peltate bract. Stamens are 2-6, and hypogynous, with 2-locular anthers. There are usually 3-4 stigmas attached to a single pistil per flower, which is 1 or 3-4 carpellate. The ovary is 1 locular, and superior.
Fruits and seeds
Subfamily Verhuellioideae Samain & Wanke
- Verhuellia Miquel 1843 (three species)
Subfamily Zippelioideae Samain & Wanke
Subfamily Piperoideae Arnott
- Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2009). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III" (PDF). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161 (2): 105–121. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- Stevens, P. F. (2001 onwards). Angiosperm Phylogeny Website Version 9, June 2008 http://www.mobot.org/mobot/research/apweb/welcome.html
- Ravindran PN. 2000 Black Pepper, Piper nigrum. Harwood Acadiic, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 553 p.
- Wanke, S., Jaramillo, M.A., Borsch, T., Samain, M.-T., Quandt, D., and Neinhuis, C. (2007) Evolution of Piperales—matK gene and trnK intron sequence data reveal lineage specific resolution contrast. Mol. Phy. Evol. 42: 477-497.
- Wanke, S., Vanderschaeve, L., Mathieu, G., Neinhuis, C., Goetghebeur, P., and Samain, M.S. (2007) From Forgotten Taxon to a Missing Link? The Position of the Genus Verhuellia (Piperaceae) Revealed by Molecules. Annals of Botany, 99: 1231-1238.
- Samain et al. (2010) Verhuellia is a segregate lineage in Piperaceae: more evidence from flower, fruit and pollen morphology, anatomy and development. Annals of Botany, 105.
- Boufford, D.E. (1997)). Flora of North America - Piperaceae. http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=10692l
- Angiosperm Phylogeny Website
- Piperaceae at the DELTA Online Families of Flowering Plants
- Piperaceae at the online Flora of North America
- Piperaceae at the online Flora of China
- Piperaceae at the online Flora of Zimbabwe
- Piperaceae at the NCBI Taxonomy Browser
- Piperaceae at the online Piperaceae in Thailand