Piper sarmentosum (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Piper sarmentosum Roxb. ex Hunter

Family: Piperaceae


  • Chavica sarmentosa (Roxb. ex Hunter) Miq.

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: karuk (Sundanese), cabean (Javanese), sirih tanah (Moluccas)
  • Malaysia: chabai, kadok batu
  • Philippines: patai-butu (Sulu)
  • Cambodia: môrech ansai
  • Thailand: cha phlu (central), nom wa (peninsular), phlu ling (northern)
  • Vietnam: tiêu lốt, tat phắt


From India to southern China and from the Philippines southward to the Moluccas.


The dried infructescence is occasionally used as a spice and as a medicine. In Thailand the whole plant is used as an expectorant, the leaf as a carminative.


  • Erect or ascending, often stoloniferous herb or shrublet, up to 1 m tall. Leaves with 2-8 cm long petiole; lower leaves ovate-cordate, 7-15 cm x 5-10 cm, 5-7-veined; highest leaves obliquely oblong, 7-11 cm x 3-5 cm, 3-veined.
  • Inflorescence an erect spike, 1-2 cm long; bracts circular, white, about 1 cm in diameter; stamens short; stigmas 3-4.
  • Fruit a berry, connate to each other and adnate to bract but with free apex.

Piper sarmentosum grows in thickets up to 600 m altitude, preferably in shady circumstances. In the past Piper sarmentosum has been confused with Piper longum L., which does not occur in Malesia.

Selected Sources

  • Backer, C.A. & Bakhuizen van den Brink Jr, R.C., 1963 1968. Flora of Java. 3 volumes. Wolters-Noordhoff, Groningen, the Netherlands. Vol. 1 (1963) 647 pp., Vol. 2 (1965) 641 pp., Vol. 3 (1968) 761 pp.
  • Koorders, S.H., 1911 1937. Exkursionsflora von Java [Excursion flora of Java]. 4 volumes. Gustav Fischer, Jena, Germany.


P.C.M. Jansen

Source of this Article

Jansen, P.C.M., 1999. Piper sarmentosum Roxb. ex Hunter. In: de Guzman, C.C. and Siemonsma, J.S. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 13: Spices. Backhuys Publisher, Leiden, The Netherlands, p. 261.