: a condiment that consists of the fruit of an East Indian plant of the genus Piper (P. nigrum) ground with the black husk still on
Perennial, woody climbing vine (Piper nigrum) of the family Piperaceae, native to India; also, the hotly pungent spice made from its berries. One of the earliest spices known, pepper is probably the most widely used spice in the world today. It early became an important article of overland trade between India and Europe. The plant is cultivated throughout Indonesia and has been introduced into tropical areas elsewhere. It has broad, shiny leaves and dense, slender spikes of small flowers. The small berrylike fruits are called peppercorns. See alsopepper.