Long pepperÂ (Piper longum), sometimes calledÂ Indian long pepperÂ is aÂ flowering vineÂ in the familyÂ Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as aspice and seasoning.Â Â Long pepper has a similar, but hotter, taste to its close relativeÂ Piper NigrumÂ - from which black, green and white pepper are obtained. The wordÂ pepperÂ itself is derived from the Tamil/MalayamÂ word for long pepper,pippali.Â
The fruit of the pepper consists of many minuscule fruits â€” each about the size of aÂ poppy seedÂ â€” embedded in the surface of a flower spike that closely resembles aÂ hazel tree catkin.. LikeÂ Piper nigrum, the fruits contain theÂ alkaloid piperine, which contributes to their pungency. Another species of long pepper, Piper retrofractum,Â Â is native toÂ Java, Indonesia. The fruits of this plant are often confused with chili peppers, which belong to the genusÂ CapsicumÂ , originally from the Americas. Long peppers are NOT a member of the Nightshade family.