Piper aequale

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Piper aequale


Shrub or treelet, 1-4 m tall, glabrous. Prophyll 10-15 mm long, slender, acute. Petiole slender, 1-1.5(-4) cm long, vaginate only at base; blade membranous or subcoriaceous, not conspicuously glandular-dotted, shiny green above, pale below, often drying yellowish green, lanceolate to lance-elliptic or elliptic-ovate, broadly ovate on sterile branches, often asymmetrical: with one side wider in the lower half, 12-23 x 3.5-9(-11) cm, apex acuminate, base equally attached to petiole, acute, cuneate or obtuse, may be truncate or subcordate on sterile branches; pinnately veined, secondary veins 4-6 per side, originating at a steep angle from 3/4 or more of primary vein, 2-3 lower ones from near base, slightly prominulous on both sides, often pale or yellow, tertiary venation inconspicuously reticulate, with some more prominent ones transverse. Inflorescence erect; peduncle slender, 1-1.5 cm long; spike to 10 cm long, white or green, apiculate or not; rachis glabrous; flowers densely crowded; floral bracts marginally fringed. Infructescence (grey-)green; fruits oblongoid to trigonous, 0.7-1(-3) mm in diam., brownish green, glabrous, stigmas 3, sessile.


C and S America present, Southern America
West Indies, C and S America; over 100 collections studied (GU: 26; SU: 30; FG: 49).

Common Name

English (French Guiana): tona tona keng, tumowato, yakamileni piĆ£, yalitakuĆ£ sili


This glabrous species is characterized by the equal leaf base and slender petiole, but usually distinctly asymmetrical lower half of blade; the leaves dry yellowish green.
Unlike Steyermark (1984: 312), I do not accept varieties, knowing how variable the shape of the leaves can be even on the same plant.