Piper peltatum seeds, Monkey's hand
Piper peltatum seeds
Piper peltatum belongs to the family of the Piperaceae and is native to Centralamerica. It is also known as monkey’s hand. P. peltatum grows as a shrub und reaches a height of only about 2m. The leaves reach a length of 20 to 30 cm and are heart shaped. The petiole can get 21 cm long. From the leaf basis there are 10 to 15 nerves going palmate to the top of the leaf. Due to the fact that the leaves are so big they are used as kind of tablecloth or as food wrapping material. The flower stalks are shorter reaching a length of 1 to 7 cm. The flowers are very small, whitish and stand in spikes. The spikes can get 8 to 9 cm long and 3, 5 mm thick. The fruits, the trunk and the leaves smell pine- like. When the fruits are overripe their odor changes into a bad smell that is best described as cow breath or oyster like. The fruits are eaten by birds and bats and are so distributed.
P. peltatum is used in medicine against inflammation and malaria. It includes 4- Nerolidylcatechol, a substance that has that anti inflammatory properties. P. peltatum is therefore also used in cosmetics and is subject of current research. The leaves can be used against ticks without pretreatment. Therefore one has to rub the leaves over the body. P. peltatum is also used against tapeworms.
P. peltatum is a light germinator; the seeds should be sprinkled on the substrate and just slightly pressed in. P. peltatum should be placed very sunny and warm (25°C). The substrate should be slightly moist, but not wet. A high atmospheric humidity is an advantage for growing.
At its nodes P. peltatum can build adventives roots. If cutting a part of the shrub including such nodes one can grow new plants.