Back to Biodiversity Explorer main pageGo to Iziko Museums of Cape Town home pageAbout Biodiversity Explorer - history, goals, etc.Send us your questions about southern African biodiversityPeople who have contributed content and images.Search Biodiversity Explorer

Piper capense (Wild pepper)

Bospeper, Wildepeper [Afrikaans]

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > magnoliids > Order: Piperales > Family: Piperaceae > Genus: Piper

Piper capense (Wild pepper)  

Piper capense, Bunga Forest, Vumba, Zimbabwe. [photo Bart Wursten , Flora of Zimbabwe]



A soft-wooded shrub or small tree, growing up to 4 m in height.

Distribution and habitat

Distribution extends from about Swellendam in the Western Cape, up the east coast of southern Africa including KwaZulu-Natal and then northwards through Swaziland, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. It also occurs in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe (including areas in adjacent Mozambique). It grows in moist, shaded places in forests and along streams.

Uses by humans

  • Dried fruit is ground up to produce pepper. However, it is unlikely that it is used for this purpose anymore because of the ready availability of pepper from the cultivated species Piper nigrum.



  • Palgrave, K.C. and Palgrave, M.C. 2002. Trees of Southern Africa. 3rd Edition. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.

Text by Hamish Robertson

Contact us if you can contribute information or images to improve this page.

Biodiversity Explorer home   Iziko home   Search