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Useful Tropical Plants

Piper aduncum

L.

Piperaceae

+ Synonyms

Artanthe adunca (L.) Miq.

Artanthe celtidifolia (Kunth) Miq.

Artanthe elongate (Vahl) Miq.

Artanthe galleoti Miq.

Piper aduncifolium Trel.

Piper anguillaespicum Trel.

Piper angustifolium Ruiz & Pav.

Piper celtidifolium Kunth

Piper cuatrecasasii Trel.

Piper cumbricola Trel.

Piper disparispicum Trel.

Piper elongatifolium Trel.

Piper elongatum Vahl

Piper fatoanum C.DC.

Piper flavescens (C.DC.) Trel.

Piper herzogii C.DC.

Piper illudens Trel.

Piper intersitum Trel.

Piper kuntzei C.DC.

Piper multinervium M.Martens & Galeotti

Piper multinervium Trel.

Piper nonconformans Trel.

Piper purpurascens D.Dietr.

Piper reciprocum Trel.

Piper stevensonii Trel. & Standl.

Piper submolle Trel.

Steffensia adunca (L.) Kunth

Steffensia elongate (Vahl) Kunth

Common Name: Matico

Piper aduncum
Plant
Photograph by: Starr, F. & K.
Image credit to Australian National Botanic Gardens
Piper aduncum Piper aduncum Piper aduncum Piper aduncum Piper aduncum Piper aduncum Piper aduncum Piper aduncum Piper aduncum Piper aduncum

General Information

Matico is an evergreen shrub or small tree with a spreading crown; it can grow from 2 - 8 metres tall. The bole is around 7cm in diameter, often with prop-roots and often branching at or near the base[
359
Title
Trees of Sungai Wain
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.nationaalherbarium.nl/Sungaiwain/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site with factsheets on almost 1,000 species of forest trees growing at Sungai Wain in Indonesia. Each factsheet has good quality pictures plus basic information on the ecology and uses of the plants.
,
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
].
A very popular herbal remedy, the plant is commonly gathered from the wild and is sold locally. It is sometimes cultivated to provide soil cover and the plant also has ornamental value[
359
Title
Trees of Sungai Wain
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.nationaalherbarium.nl/Sungaiwain/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site with factsheets on almost 1,000 species of forest trees growing at Sungai Wain in Indonesia. Each factsheet has good quality pictures plus basic information on the ecology and uses of the plants.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

S. America - Brazil, Bolivia and Peru, north to the Caribbean and through Central America to Mexico.

Habitat

Open or disturbed areas, roadsides, forest edges and along streams[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. Disturbed rainforest areas and forest margins[
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height5.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of tropical regions, found mainly at lower elevations up to 1,000 metres, but extending to over 2,000 metres in places. It grows best in areas with a mean annual rainfall from 1.500 - 4,000mm or more[
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
].
The plant is moderately intolerant of shade, as it requires at least partial exposure to sunlight for it to reach a large size and flower[
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
]. It colonizes most soil types, apart from excessively well-drained soils (where it only grows at the upper end of the rainfall range); dry soils; and salty soils[
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
].
An invader of disturbed areas, where it is able to form thickets and spread by sprouts and suckers[
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
]. The plant has spread through cultivation and has become naturalized in many areas including southeast Asia, the Pacific and north America. It has been declared a noxious weed in parts of N. America and is a problem in some Pacific Islands, where it can interfere with the harvesting of the related kava plant[
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
]. It requires high light levels and a bare soil surface, which means that disturbance is necessary for this species to establish[
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
]. The tree produces cord-like, white to pale yellow, inflorescence spikes that contain many minute flowers that are wind-pollinated and that soon develop into numerous tiny drupes with black seeds. The seeds are then scattered easily by bats and birds[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
]. From these many seeds, it can form large stands of quickly-growing shrubby trees that can choke out other native vegetation[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
]. Established plants also thicken into clumps or stands by suckers arising from the root crown[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
The plant can flower and produce fruit all year round[
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
].
The fruits, leaves and seeds have a peppery taste and aroma[
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
].

Edible Uses

The fruits are used as a spice[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
,
359
Title
Trees of Sungai Wain
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.nationaalherbarium.nl/Sungaiwain/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site with factsheets on almost 1,000 species of forest trees growing at Sungai Wain in Indonesia. Each factsheet has good quality pictures plus basic information on the ecology and uses of the plants.
]. A peppery flavour[
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
]. When black and ripe, they are said to be very sweet[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Leaves - cooked and eaten as a potherb[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Medicinal

Matico has a long history of traditional use in S. America, where it was valued especially for its antiseptic qualities and used to treat wounds etc. These uses were quickly adopted by the incoming Europeans and the plant has maintained its role in modern herbalism.
Modern research has confirmed the presence of a range of medically active compounds in the plant, including flavonoids, sequiterpenes, monoterpenes, heterocycles, phenylpropanoids, alkaloids, and benzenoids[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
A group of chemicals called chromenes have been found in the leaves (and in its essential oil) which have evidenced toxic effects to cancer cells and bacteria[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
Other chemicals, including a group of bezenoid chemicals, have also demonstrated antibacterial and cytotoxic actions as well[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
The plant has demonstrated broad spectrum antimicrobial actions, which may help to explain its long history of use for various infections and infectious diseases. In various studies, the leaves and the essential oil extracted from the leaves or the fruits have demonstrated antibacterial actions against various gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. It has also been reported with actions against fungi and yeast. In addition, researchers in France reported it had antiviral actions against the polio virus[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
In two studies, the plant has been shown to be an effective treatment for leishmaniasis, a parasitic, tropical disease spread that is spread by the bite of infected sand flies. Both the plant, and an extracted chalcone compound in the plant, were reported to either kill the parasite or treat the disease[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
In the treatment of other parasitic infections, matico has been shown to be useful in the treatment of schistosomiasis, where it has a molluscicidal action against the fresh water snail that carry the parasite, as well as against the parasite itself[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
]. It also has insecticidal actions against the mosquito that carries and spreads yellow fever[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].

The leaves are antimicrobial, astringent, carminative, diuretic, a mild aromatic tonic, stimulant, stomachic, and internal styptic[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Taken as an infusion, the leaves are widely used as a remedy for all types of digestive disorders including stomach aches, vomiting, dyspepsia, diarrhoea, gastric ulcers, intestinal gas and even stomach cancer; they are considered an excellent genitourinary tonic and are used in the treatment of kidney stones, urinary tract infections, cystitis, urethritis, leucorrhoea, vaginitis, and various venereal diseases such as gonorrhoea and trichomonas; they are also employed for various upper respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, pulmonary haemorrhages, pleurisy, pneumonia, colds and flu, and tonsillitis[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
,
359
Title
Trees of Sungai Wain
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.nationaalherbarium.nl/Sungaiwain/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site with factsheets on almost 1,000 species of forest trees growing at Sungai Wain in Indonesia. Each factsheet has good quality pictures plus basic information on the ecology and uses of the plants.
].
The leaves are an effective antiseptic wound healer, used to stop bleeding, prevent infections and to speed healing. They are either crushed or powdered and sprinkled directly onto the affected area, or an infusion is made from the leaves and used as a wash[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
]. Sometimes the leaves are heated, pounded and then used as a poultice instead[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is cultivated locally as a soil cover[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Other Uses

An essential oil in the leaves contains asarone and coneol[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. It can be used as an insecticide and a molluscicide[
359
Title
Trees of Sungai Wain
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.nationaalherbarium.nl/Sungaiwain/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site with factsheets on almost 1,000 species of forest trees growing at Sungai Wain in Indonesia. Each factsheet has good quality pictures plus basic information on the ecology and uses of the plants.
].
It also contains safrol, which has been used successfully in making powerful insecticides, fragrances, soaps and detergent products[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].

The whitish wood is medium hard, brittle[
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
,
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
]. Although small, it can be used for basic construction, fuel, stakes and fences[
359
Title
Trees of Sungai Wain
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.nationaalherbarium.nl/Sungaiwain/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site with factsheets on almost 1,000 species of forest trees growing at Sungai Wain in Indonesia. Each factsheet has good quality pictures plus basic information on the ecology and uses of the plants.
,
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
].

Propagation

Seed -
Cuttings
Suckers.

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