|The Piperaceae are fleshy herbs, soft shrubs, and infrequently small trees comprising 10 genera and 1,400 to 2,000 species. The nodes are commonly swollen or jointed. The leaves are alternate or rarely opposite or whorled, stipules are adnate to petiole or absent. The bisexual, or less commonly unisexual flowers are minute, lack perianth and usually are densely packed into rat-tail like spikes. Each flower is associated with a peltate, umbrella-like bract. The androecium consists of 1-10 stamens. The compound pistil has a superior ovary and consists of 1-5 carpels with a single locule and a solitary basal ovule. The fruit is a berry or drupe.
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