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Plant Informational Database

Root Beer Plant

Piper auritum

a.k.a. Mexican Pepperleaf, Hoja Santa , Veracruz Pepper, False Kava

Large-leafed perennial related to the pepper plant. Known for its leaves, which are used for their spicy aromatic scent and flavor, some liken to root beer, others to anise-clove.

Seed Availability

Seeds are not available for the Root Beer Plant. Please visit our seed store to view current selections. Seeds were last available in February 2014.

Description

Shrubby perennial to 6+ft. This species is easily identified by its huge leaves which can grow over a foot long in older specimens. Plants will grow out from roots so it can spread in ideal conditions. Flowers are long, skinny, white, and fuzzy looking. They may be borne in season. The plant doesn't usually form many fruits outside of its native range.

Hardiness

Main foliage is hardy to about 32F, but will die back in colder areas and re-grow from roots. The root system is probably hardy to 15-20F.

Growing Environment

Grows best in part-shade or full-shade. Needs consistent and regular watering. Little other care is necessary.

Propagation

By root division or separation of plantlets as they grow up from the soil.

Uses

The leaves are chopped and used for flavoring, as well as used whole, as wrappings for meats, tamales, etc.

Native Range

From Mexico through Colombia.

Additional Pictures

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Related Species

Piperaceae  
Piper auritum
Root Beer Plant
Piper betle
Betel Leaf
Piper nigrum
Pepper