Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR)

Piper auritum
(Piperaceae)

Vera Cruz pepper, anise piper, eared pepper, root beer plant

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False kava (Piper auritum) is a shrub-like plant that can grow to 19 feet high. It is sometimes mistakenly planted as true kava (Piper methysticum). However, the leaves differ from true kava, which are smaller and darker green; false kava leaves are larger and lighter green. There is a characteristic root beer or anise-like odor when leaves are crushed. True kava is used to create an herbal drink, but Piper auritum is reportedly detrimental to kava-producing areas, as it is evidently inferior in quality to Piper methystichum and can, if exported as true "kava," reduce the marketing value of true kava from places where this substitution is practiced. 


Species description or overview

Piper auritum information from PIER
Information on Piper auritum as relevant to Pacific Islands is provided by the Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk project (PIER).


Taxonomy & nomenclature

GRIN nomenclature info for Piper auritum
Nomenclatural information about Piper auritum is provided by USDA/ARS/NGRP/GRIN.

Piper auritum information from ITIS
The Integrated Taxonomic Information System ITIS provides authoritative taxonomic information on Piper auritum, as well as other plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.

IPNI nomenclature info for Piper auritum
Nomenclatural information about Piper auritum is provided by The International Plant Names Index (IPNI).


Impacts

Piper auritum (Piperaceae): species information from GCW
Information on Piper auritum as relevant to Pacific Islands is provided by the Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).


Risk assessments

Piper auritum weed risk assessment for Hawaii-Pacific
Results of a weed risk assessment for Piper auritum for the Hawaii-Pacific region are presented by the Hawaii-Pacific Weed Risk Assessment team.


Control methods

Piper control methods View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Potential control methods of false kawa are in this memo from USDA Forest Health Coordinator.


Images

Images of Piper auritum from HEAR
Images of Piper auritum (Piperaceae) (false awa, false kava) are presented by the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

Photos of Piper auritum on Pohnpei
Images of Piper auritum on Pohnpei are presented here, along with copies of selected e-mail correspondence about this species.

Images of Piper auritum (Piperaceae) (false awa)
Links to high-resolution free images of Piper auritum (Piperaceae) (false awa) by Forest & Kim Starr (USGS) are available here.

Piper auritum information from the Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands
Information about Piper auritum in Hawaii is available from the Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands.

Piper auritum images from PIER
Images of Piper auritum provided by the Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk project (PIER).


Distribution

Piper auritum information from the Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands
Information about Piper auritum in Hawaii is available from the Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands.


Full-text articles

Control of non-native plants in natural areas of Florida
Langeland, K.A. and R.L. Stocker. (1997-)2001. Control of non-native plants in natural areas of Florida. SP 242, one of a series of the Department of Agronomy, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. First printed: 1997. Revised: April, 2001.


Other resources

A report of Piper auritum as an invasive species (10 APR 2000). View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Observations of false kawa on Pohnpei are in this memo from USDA Forest Health Coordinator.

Piper auritum in Hawaii: notes from Bishop Museum botanist View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Information about Piper auritum's status in Hawaii is provided by George Staples (botanist, Bishop Museum [Honolulu]).


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The Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk (HEAR) project was historically funded by the Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) of the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) through PIERC (USGS) with support from HCSU (UH Hilo). More details are available online. Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII)

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