Piper umbellatum L.

Last updated: 3 August 2015

Scientific Name

Piper umbellatum L.


Heckeria umbellata (L.) Kunth, Lepianthes umbellata (L.) Raf. [Invalid], Lepianthes umbellata (L.) Raf. ex Ramamoorthy, Peperidia umbellata (L.) Kostel., Peperomia umbellate (L.) Kunth, Piper cuernavacanum C. DC., Piper postelsianum Maxim., Piper subpeltatum Willd., Pothomorphe dombeyana Miq., Pothomorphe subpeltata (Willd.) Miq., Pothomorphe umbellata (L.) Miq. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Lemba, lomba [2], segumbar urat, kiambai [3]
English Cow-foot leaf, shrubby pepper [4]
China Da hu jiao [4]
India Attanari, gandamarom [4]
Indonesia Tombo (Javanese); sak-masakan (Madurese); lomba (Moluccas) [2]; bumbu, bumbo, ucheng-uchengan, dombo [3]
Thailand Phluu teen chaang, rok chaang (Peninsular); haan mu (Northern) [2]
Philippines Kubamba (Tagalog); balai (Bontok); bayag-bayag (Cebu Bisaya)[2]
Vietnam L[aa]n hoa [2]
Ghana Amuaha, auaua, mumuaha [4]
Tanzania Mtunda ya mbwa [4]
Congo Elembe, iboaboa, ilelembe, leleme, maboaboa [4]

Geographical Distributions

Piper umbellatum originates from Mexico and South America, and has been introduced and widely naturalised throughout the Old World tropics, including Southeast Asia. [2]

This plant always occurs in damp locations in evergreen forest undergrowth, swamp forest, on river banks, old rubber plantations, from 150-2100 m altitude. [2]

Botanical Description

P. umbellatum is a member of the Piperaceae family. It is a perennial scrambling shrub or woody herb that reaches 1-2.5(-4) m tall. The stem is numerous, succulent, ribbed, forming a dense clump, rooting at the nodes while the main roots are woody. [2]

The leaves are arranged alternate, almost circular to kidney-shaped, 5-36(-40) cm x 4.5-37(-42) cm. Its base is deeply heart-shaped with its apex shortly acuminate to rounded. The leaf margin is entire or wedge-shaped, fairly thin, glandular black translucent glands, sparsely to densely hairy on the veins on both sides of the leaf blade. The leaf blade is dark-green on the above-side and greyish underneath. The palmate veins are 11-15 in number. The 6.5-30 cm long stalk is dilated and sheathing at the base. [2]

The inflorescence emerges from the axils or leaf-opposed spike, and measures 5.5-15 cm long. About 2-8 inflorescences are attached together in false umbels and 1-3 peduncles are joined together with each is 3-12 cm long. The peduncular bracts are narrow, 6-8 mm long, white and fall off at maturity. The flowers are small and bisexual.  The floral bracts are triangular to rounded, 0.5-0.8 mm wide. The flower is not located near the edge of stalk. The margins are fringed and white, cream or yellow in colour. The floral leaf is absent. It has 2 stamens. The ovary is superior and 1-locular with 3 stigmas. [2]

The fruit is a drupe, brownish, obpyramidal, 3-angled, and measures 0.6-1 mm x 0.4-0.6 mm. [2]

The seed is spherical. The endosperm is small and its perisperm copious with small embryo. [2]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing



Figure 1: The line drawing of P. umbellatum [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1 Piper umbellatum L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2015 Jul 27]. Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2571246
  2. Schmelzer, GH. Piper umbellatum L. In: van Valkenburg JLCH, Bunyapraphatsara N, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 2001; p. 428-430.
  3. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research.Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 2. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR; 2002. p. 231
  4. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plant: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. p. 595-596.


Synonyms, Line drawings Anis Shuhada
Vernacular names Athirah Azeman
Geopgraphical distribution, Botanical description, Cultivation Nabila Huda
References All (based on respective parts)