Piper wachenheimii

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Piper wachenheimii

Description

Small shrub or even small treelet, to 1.5 m tall, nodose in lower part. Stem densely pubescent or hirsute, hairs often reddish brown (to 0.7 mm long). Petiole 0.3-0.5 cm long, densely pubescent or hirsute, vaginate at base; blade not scabrous, glandular-dotted, lance-elliptic to oblanceolate, 12-15 x 3.5-5 cm, apex acuminate, base equal or almost equally attached to petiole, acute or cuneate, glabrous above, erect-pubescent below, more so on veins; pinnately veined, secondary veins 4-5 per side, originating from lower 2/3 of primary vein, not anastomosing, plane to impressed above, prominulous or prominent below, tertiary veins reticulate. Inflorescence erect; peduncle to 0.5 cm long, crisp-pubescent; spike to 8(-12?) cm long, reddish, pinkish or brownish, apiculate; rachis glabrous; floral bracts densely marginally fringed. Fruits depressed globose or obovoid, ca. 1 mm thick, pubescent or hirtellous, separate from each other, stigmas 3, sessile.

Distribution

Guianas: present Southern America:, Brazil North (ParĂ¡ present)
Brazil (ParĂ¡) and the Guianas; ca. 58 collections studied (GU: 13; SU: 10; FG: 35).

Common Name

English (Guyana, Republic of): warabakakoro

Uses

The plants are used in religious ceremonies by Suriname Hindustani.

Notes

Recognisable by the symmetrical, acute leaf base and the erect pubescence on the lower leaf surface and veins. The plants have a strong peppery smell (according to T. van Andel, pers. comm.).
The collection French Guiana, Wachenheim 168 in Paris bears a type label. Although Trelease mentioned this collection together with Sandwith 231 in his protologue, he designated the latter as the type. The Paris collection thus is a paratype.
The Sagot 844 specimens in NY and P belong to Piper wachenheimii, this in contrast to the B specimen on which C. de Candolle based his P. rubescens; see also note to P. demeraranum.