Betel Piper (വെറ്റില)

Scientific Name: Piper betel Blanco

Synonyms: Chavica betle (L.) Miquel, Piper pinguispicum C. DC. & Koord

Unique ID: 170

Systematic Position

Class: Dicotyledonae

Sub Class: Monochlamydae                  

Series: Microembryae

Family: Piperaceae

Common Names

English – Betel piper

Malayalam – വെറ്റില

Tamil – Vetrilai

Hindi – Paan leaf



Description: Dioecious, perennial, woody, glabrous climber, 5-20 m long. Stem swollen at the nodes; orthotropic branches vegetative, bearing adventitious roots for adhering in climbing; plagiotropic branches generative, without roots. Leaves alternate, coriaceous, rather variable; petiole 1-2.5 cm long; blade ovate to ovate oblong, 5-20 cm × 2-11 cm, base cordate, rounded or oblique, margin entire, apex acuminate, with 2-3 pairs of arcuate veins from the base and one pair from the midrib 1-3 cm above the base, shiny bright green. Inflorescence a cylindrical, pendulous spike, opposite a leaf; peduncle 1-6 cm long; male spike up to 12 cm long, crowded with small flowers with 2 stamens; female spike up to 5 cm × 5 mm, crowded with female flowers with 3-5 stigmas. Fruit a fleshy drupe, only apex of fruit free, at base immersed in the rachis of the spike forming a green cylindrical fleshy body, up to 5 cm × 1.5 cm. Seed suborbicular, 3-5 mm in diameter.


Habitat: Cultivated everywhere where humid forest conditions with high relative humidity and ample supply of soil moisture are available

Distribution:   Betel pepper is native to central and eastern Malesia

Uses:   A mixture of betel leaves and other ingredients is used as a masticatory, The leaves, roots and seeds are all used for medicinal purposes in Asia.