Piper consanguineum

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Piper consanguineum

Description

Herbaceous small shrub, 0.1-0.5 m tall, sometimes creeping, retrorsely crisp-pubescent. Petiole 0.2-1.5 cm long, crisp-pubescent, vaginate near base; blade dark green above often with a pale or white band along primary vein, pale green below, not conspicuously glandular-dotted, narrowly elliptic or lanceolate-oblong, 3.5-7(-12) x 1-2(-3.5) cm, apex obtuse-acute to acuminate, base equal or almost equally attached to petiole, rounded to subcordate, glabrous above, crisp-pubescent below especially on veins; pinnately veined, secondary veins 6-12 per side, originating from throughout primary vein, clearly anastomosing within margin. Inflorescence pendent; peduncle to 0.5 cm long, glabrescent; spike erect, 1.5-2.5 cm long, white, yellow to green, apiculate; floral bracts cucullate, glabrous; rachis pubescent. Infructescence 1-3 x 0.8-1 cm, green or brownish; fruits depressed globose, to 3 mm in diam., papillose, green, becoming exserted, stigmas 3, recurved on a very short style.

Distribution

Guianas: present SE Venezuela: present Southern America:, Brazil North (Amazonas present, Pará present, Rondônia present, Roraima present)
SE Venezuela, the Guianas and Brazil (Amazonas, Roraima, Rondônia, Pará); ca. 130 collections studied (GU: 10; SU: 24; FG: 96).

Common Name

English (Suriname, Republic of): nowtu, snekibita

Uses

According to Schulz, Suriname Amerindians use leaves extracted in spirit after snake bite (see also the vernacular name, meaning snake bite).

Notes

This species is easily recognizable by the many anastomosing secondary veins and the often variegate leaf pattern.
Several collections (e.g. Suriname, Wessels Boer 1533 and Venezuela, Morillo 9024) are quite similar to Piper consanguineum but differ in the size of the leaves up to 16 x 5 cm and glabrous somewhat abortive mature spikes. It may turn out that they belong to another taxon which can only be decided when more material is available.