Note: Information is dated. Do not rely on it.Pepper. A name applied to various plants having pungent, acrid, and aromatic properties. The most important is the black pepper, a native of the East Indies, and now extensively cultivated in the tropics for the fruit, which is used for various purposes, but chiefly as a spice and a condiment. It is a climbing shrub, with opposite leathery leaves, and spikes of hermaphrodite flowers. The fruit, which is about the size of a pea, is gathered in an unripe state and dried, constituting the "black pepper" of commerce. The term "white pepper" is applied to the ripe fruit of the same plant after it is deprived of the outer fleshy portion. The dried fruiting spikes of a species of Piper longum constitute "long pepper" used for culinary purposes and for pickling. Most of these plants owe their active properties to the presence of an acrid resin, and of a crystalline principle called piperine. Cayenne pepper is the produce of capsicum. Jamaica pepper is obtained from a species of Eugenia belonging to the myrtle family.