Native to South and Central America, piper is a fast-growing tropical shrub that has become a serious weed in Papua New Guinea and other Pacific and South-East Asian countries. It is poisonous to cattle and can exclude native plants.

Piper is a prohibited invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Piper aduncum

Other names

  • Spiked piper, bamboo piper


  • Shrub or small tree 1-6m tall and up to 10cm or more in stem diameter.
  • Alternate leaves have short petioles and elliptic to lanceolate blades 12-20cm long.
  • Spikes contain minute flowers that develop into imbedded drupes (fruits) with brown or black seeds.
  • Peppery taste and odour.


  • Prefers rainforests, roadsides, waterways, plantations and pasture.


  • Not known to exist in Queensland, but has potential to become a serious pest if introduced and planted.

Life cycle

  • Flowers and fruits throughout the year.

Affected animals

  • Cattle



  • Forms infestations that exclude all native vegetation.


  • Poisonous to cattle.


  • Call 13 25 23 if you find a plant you suspect may be piper to seek advice on control options.

Legal requirements

  • Piper is a prohibited invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be given away, sold, or released into the environment without a permit.
  • The Act requires that all sightings to be reported to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours.
  • By law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risk of Piper spreading until they receive advice from an authorised officer.

Further information