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Piper sarmentosum - Roxb.

Common Name Betel Leaf, Wild Betel
Family Piperaceae
USDA hardiness 9-12
Known Hazards None Known
Habitats Forests or wet places near villages from near sea level to 1,000 metres [266 ]. Edges of semi-evergreen type forests at or near sea level in the Andamans [477 ].
Range E. Asia - China. India, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Wet Soil Full shade Semi-shade
Piper sarmentosum Betel Leaf, Wild Betel

Piper sarmentosum Betel Leaf, Wild Betel


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Betel leaf (Piper sarmentosum) is a perennial climber of the family Piperaceae, which includes Black pepper (Piper nigrum) and kava kava (Piper methysticum). Not to be confused with Betel (Piper betle), a completely different plant with different uses to Betel leaf. It grows to 10m long, though stems tend to creep along the ground with off-shoots to 0.5m high. Betel leaf is an excellent evergreen understorey plant in woodlands providing groundcover in shady locations. Leaves have a nice peppery flavour and are eaten raw or cooked. They are delicious in salads or added to curries or blanched and used as a potherb. Larger leaves are lightly steamed and used as wraps for vegetables.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Piper sarmentosum is an evergreen Perennial Climber growing to 10 m (32ft) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist or wet soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


P. albispicum C. DC. P. baronii C. DC. P. brevicaule C. DC. P. lolot C. DC. P. pierrei C. DC. P. saigonense C. DC.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves
Edible Uses: Condiment  Tea

Leaves are eaten raw or cooked [296, 301 ]. A nice peppery flavour, they are delicious chopped up into salads [296 ]. The leaves can also be added to curries or blanched and used as a potherb [301 ]. Larger leaves can be up to 10cm across, and these can be lightly steamed and then used as wraps for vegetables etc. [296 ]. In Thailand, the leaf wraps are a favourite snack, 'mieng kum', with fillings of peanuts, shrimps, shallots with lime and raw ginger. The dried infructescence is occasionally used as a spice [310 ]. Soaking the leaves in cold water with a bit of sugar for two hours before use subtly alters the flavour. Leaves make a tea.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Anodyne  Antibilious  Antidiarrhoeal  Antiinflammatory  Antirheumatic  Carminative  Expectorant  Odontalgic

The whole plant is anodyne, anti-inflammatory and expectorant. It is used to cure skin diseases, rheumatism, ostealgia, lumbago, oedema, headache, dyspepsia, colic, nausea, diarrhoea and toothache [283, 310 ]. It is used in combination with other plants for treating mushroom poisoning and snakebite [283]. The whole plant, preferably harvested when in flower, is dried and stored[310 ]. The leaf is carminative[310 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

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Other Uses


Grows well as an understorey shrub in woodlands [296]. Other Uses: Hanging basket or large pot. Groundcover. Suitable as Annual.

Special Uses

Food Forest  Ground Cover

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

It prefers rich, well-drained soil with partial shade but can tolerate full shade. It likes moist soil but does not tolerate waterlogging. Frost will damage the leaves but not kill the plant once it is well established. The plant can be invasive, so it needs to be given space to roam - it does well as an understorey plant in a woodland [296 ]. It makes a good ground cover under trees in subtropical and tropical areas. It thrives in the right position and can be difficult to remove because of its suckering habit. It can be grown successfully in colder regions in a hanging basket or large pot and moved to a warm, sheltered position in winter. The stems can be up to 10 metres long, though they tend to creep along the ground with off-shoots to 0.5m [266 ]. A dioecious plant, both male and female forms need to be grown if seed is required [266 ]. It grows in forests in wet places near villages and from sea level to 1000 m altitude in S China [1-4]. In Hawaii, it is grown under shade cloth [1-4]. Dry winds turn the leaves brown, spoiling their appearance [1-4].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Seed. Easy to propagate from cuttings.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Lolot pepper, Vegetable pepper, Aimanas ai leten, 'i: le:d, Bo la lot, Cabean, Cha phlu, Cha plu, Chabai, Chaphlu, Chhiplou, Chi phlu, Chiaobiouluo, Daun kadok, Jia ju, Julo, Japloo, Jeeploo, Kadok batu, Karuk, l(oos)t tat ph(aws)t, La lot, Lot, Morech ansai, Nom wa, Pa dan, Pake, Pak ereart, Patai-butu, Phak i leut, Phak ee lert, Phak nang lert, Phlu ling, Poivre lolot, Sirih tanah, Tat bat, Ti(ee)u [1-4].

TEMPERATE ASIA: Fujian Sheng, Guangdong Sheng, Guangxi Zhuangzu Zizhiqu, Guizhou Sheng, Xizang Zizhiqu, Yunnan Sheng,China. TROPICAL ASIA: India, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

The plant can be invasive.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Not Listed.

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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