Commonly known as Kawakawa, Piper excelsum is a shrub to small tree endemic to New Zealand.
With mid green heart shaped leaves and dark stems this is dense shrub grown not only as a garden plant but also for the aromatic foliage and fruit from the female plant.
The leaves have traditionally been used to relieve pain, help cure bruises and as a herbal infusion, however we look ate this plant for its uses in the garden.
Over time Piper excelsum can reach around 5m in height, it is however easily pruned to around 2 metres. It is a plant related to Piper nigrum, the Pepper Plant.
Piper excelsum – Care and Conditions
It naturally grows as an understory plant so is useful in the garden in dappled shade where the foliage looks good year round.
Best in a humus rich well drained soil and a frost free position is essential. A moist soil is requires, so mulching around the plant will be beneficial.
If you are growing this plant for the fruit and seeds you will need both a male and female plant.
Use as an infusion.
As a tea or infusion one or two leaves are crushed, lemon and honey, perhaps some ginger are added and then boiling water.