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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 now available at our seed store.


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.


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.


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


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


Related Species

Piper auritum
Root Beer Plant
Piper betle
Betel Leaf
Piper nigrum