Piper augustum

Primary tabs

Piper augustum


Shrub or treelet, to 2-4(-8) m tall, glabrous, except for ciliate leaf margin. Petiole 0.5-4 cm long, vaginate at base; blade glandular-dotted, elliptic-ovate to oblong-elliptic, 15-35 x (6-)9-15(-18) cm, margin ciliate, apex acute, base almost equal to unequally attached to petiole, acute or obtuse, occasionally truncate; pinnately veined, secondary veins 10-16 per side, strongly curved, originating from throughout primary vein. Inflorescence pendent, may be erect or horizontal at first; peduncle glandular-dotted, 1-2(-3) cm long, red to brown; spike 4-20 cm long, to 2.5 cm diam. (in vivo), (greenish) white or green with purple points, not or slightly apiculate; rachis glabrous, sometimes red; floral bracts densely marginally fringed. Fruits oblongoid, glabrous, may be somewhat papillose, to 4 mm long, 2 mm in diam., becoming stylose or mammiform at apex, stigmas obsolete.


Southern America: Costa Rica (Costa Rica present); Peru (Peru present), northern S America present
From Costa Rica to northern S America and Peru; ca. 90 collections studied (GU: 12; SU: 6; FG: 70).

Common Name

Boni (French Guiana): gan bushi man lembe lembe


Leaves have a spicy odour when crushed. In Amazonia Indians use stems as tooth brush. It was also used to prevent tooth decay (Davis & Yost, Bot. Mus. Leafl. 29(3): 182. 1983).


Piper augustum is easily recognizable by the large number of secondary veins, the ciliate leaf margin and the thick infructescence.
Yuncker (1957: 265) recognized P. augustum var. pubinerve Trel. & Yunck. with the veins beneath puberulent, said to occur in Guyana and French Guiana, and expected to occur in Suriname. I have no indication that this taxon, originally described from Chocó in Colombia, occurs in the Guianas.