Piper auritum. Also known as a Mexican pepper.
Perennial. Morning to Filtered Sun – prefers ‘cool’ sunlight, not direct heat. Height: up to 8 ft tall.
A herbaceous, tropical plant with large dark green, shiny leaves and is ubiquitous along the San Antonio river. Has a distinctive root beer aroma.
In the Garden
Easy to grow, thrives in moist conditions, only needs good soil with good draining. Best to plant away from the garden and home because of the heights it reaches. Spreads tuber roots out to 10’, creating a neighboring plant in the next growing season. Grows well in containers.
Small amounts of leaves are edible and often used in South American cooking to flavor dishes and wrap fillers of meat. For medicinal purposes, It is said to help relieve nervous anxiety, stress and restlessness. It can be eaten or taken as a tea, however, it is very powerful and should be used on a limited basis. Long term use may cause liver problems.