Shrub or treelet, 1.5-8 m tall. Stem densely pubescent to glabrescent. Petiole 3-7(-10) cm long, glabrous or densely brown-pubescent, green to brown, vaginate or winged to apex; blade not scabrous, not glandular-dotted, elliptic-ovate to oblong, 20-60(-70) x (12-)20-35 cm, apex acute to acuminate, base unequally attached to petiole difference up to 1 cm, unequally lobed, basal lobes shorter or longer than petiole, occasionally overlapping the latter, glabrous above, more or less brown-pubescent below, especially on veins; pinnately veined, secondary veins 5-9, per side originating from lower 3/4 of primary vein. Inflorescence pendent; peduncle 2-5 cm long, pubescent to glabrescent; spike (8-)20-60(-70) cm long, reddish when young, apiculate; rachis pubescent; floral bracts triangular-rounded to cucullate, glabrous. Fruits obovoid or oblongoid, sometimes flattened at apex, 1-2 mm in diam., minutely pubescent or glabrous or with a few basal hairs, stigmas 3, often quite long, sessile, sometimes on a short style.
Amazonian Brazil present, Guianas present, Southern America: Peru (Peru present)
Amazonian Brazil, Peru and the Guianas; ca. 90 collections studied (GU: 23; SU: 10; FG: 57).
There is a great variation in leaf shape and size and in the presence and density of the indument of leaf and stem. This has resulted in the creation of many species. Tebbs (1989: 129, f. 15, 17), in studying the variation of leaves in the taxon, concluded that many names can be reduced to synonymy. In her key, Tebbs separated Piper obliquum and the other large-leaved, tree-like P. cernuum by the indument of the fruits.