Black Pepper Known as the ‘king of spices’, black pepper has remained the most precious and valuable form of spices in the world. It is the 3rd most added ingredient in food among the wide range of spices. India is one of the largest producers of black pepper and also one of the leading exporters of black pepper in international trade. Black pepper has played a pivotal role in India’s international trade. Black pepper names are taken from the areas where they are grown and differ in terms of color, shape, chemical characteristics, flavor, etc. Tellicherry and Malabar varieties of Indian Black Pepper are in great demand.
It is the dried mature berry of Piper nigrum, a climbing, perennial shrub mostly found in hot, moist region of Southern India. Under cultivation pepper vines are trailed over support as columns, 5-6 mtr tall, 1-2 meter diameter. The climbing woody stems have swollen nods with clinging roots at each node, which helps in anchoring the vine to the support trees (standards). It has straight upward growing main stem and have lateral shoots from the axils of the leaves having shorter inter nodes without adventitious roots. In such branches the terminal buds get modified into an inflorescence (spike) and the auxiliary buds continue further growth.
The root system confined to 75-100 cm radius and depth. The inflorescence is a pendent spike, 3-15 cm long with 50-150 flowers. Flowers are minute, white pale yellow, arranged spirally on fleshy pedantries. The specie is naturally self-pollinated and pollen dispersal is aided by the presence of water droplets. Fruit is a single seeded drupe often called berry. It is spherical in shape, green in colour, changing to red on ripping.