The Jamaica Pepper Tree.

Botanical name: 

Piper Jamaicense.

Also see: Black Pepper - White Pepper - Long Pepper - Jamaica Pepper - Guinea Pepper.

An American tree, in all respects different from the plants which produce the other kinds of pepper, as is also the fruit altogether different. It should not be called pepper: the round shape of it was the only thing that led people to give it such a name. The Jamaica pepper tree is large and beautiful. The trunk is covered with a smooth brown bark. The branches are numerous; and they are well covered with leaves. The tree is as big and high as our pear trees. The leaves are oblong and broad, of a shining green colour: they grow in pairs, and they stand on long pedicles. The flowers grow only at the extremities of the branches: they stand a great many together, and are small. The fruit which succeeds is a berry, green at first, and afterwards becoming of a reddish brown, and in the end, black. They are, when ripe, full of a pulpy matter, surrounding the seeds; but they are dried when unripe for our use.

The fruit, thus gathered and dried in the sun, is what we call Jamaica pepper, piamenta, or allspice. It is an excellent spice: it strengthens the stomach, and is good against the colic. The best way to take it is in powder, mixed with a little sugar. It will prevent vomiting, and sickness after meals, and is one of the best known remedies for habitual colics.

The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.