Piper guineense Thonn. - Piperaceae - ashanti pepper, Benin pepper, Guinea cubeb, West African pepper, Ashanti-Pfeffer
Perennial woody climber, up to 20m long, native to West Africa, Central Africa (Guinea to Uganda); leaves petiolate, alternate, ovate, up to 12cm long; flowers in spikes (3-6cm long), greenish yellow; fruits oval, 5mm in diam. f Dried fully developed unripe fruits (black ashanti pepper) and fully ripe fruits (white ashanti pepper) are used as spice.
„In terms of flavour, Ashanti pepper is very similar to cubeb pepper but is much less bitter and has a fresher more herbaceous flavour. Though known in Europe during the Middle Ages (it was a common spice in Rouen and Dieppe in 14th Century France), these days, its use is marginalized to West and Central Africa… It is used in West African cuisine where it imparts 'heat' (piquantness) and a spicy, pungent aroma to classic West African 'soups' (stews). “ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper_guineense
Piperine is responsible for the pungency of Piper guineense fruits, but they contain also other amide alkaloids like N-isobutyl-trans-2-trans-4-eicosadienamide, N-isobutyl-octadeca-trans-2-trans-4-dienamide, sylvatine, dihydropiperine, trichostachine and dihydropiperlonguminine.
[Constituents of West African medicinal plants., Dwuma-Badu, D., Ayim, J.S., Dabra, T.T., XIV. Constituents of Piper guineense Schum, and Thonn. Lloydia, 39(1), 1975, 60-64]
[N-isobutyl-trans-2-trans-4-eicosadienamide and other alkaloids of fruits of Piper guineense., Addae-Mensah, I., Torto, F.G., Oppong, I.V., Baxter, I., Sanders, J.K., Phytochemistry, 16(4), 1977, 483-485]
The steam-distilled yellow volatile oil (0.35%) of fresh ripe fruits from Nigeria showed myristicin (16.5%), sarisan (asaricin, 15.7%), calamenene (5.6%), β-pinene (4.9%), safrole (4.8%), elemicin (3.9%), and α-copaene (3.8%) as main components.
[Essential oil constituents of Ashanti pepper (Piper guineense) fruits (berries)., Ekundayo, O., Laakso, I., Adegbola, R.M., Oguntimein, B., Sofowora, A., Hiltunen, R., Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 36(5), 1988, 880-882] http://sites.chem.colostate.edu/diverdi/C431/experiments/gas%20chromatography%20and%20the%20smelloscope/references/j_agri_food_chem_1988_v36_p880.pdf
The essential oil of black Ashanti pepper from Cameroon contained mainly β-caryophyllene (57.5%), β-elemene (5.1%), bicyclogermacrene (5.0%) and α-humulene (4.8%). The oil of white Ashanti pepper from Cameroon containened mainly β-caryophyllene (51.7%), cis-β-ocimene (6.6%), limonene (5.8%), β-pinene (4.5%), linalool (3.9%) and α-humulene (3.2%).
„The most intense odor impressions of the essential oils of the various dried pepper fruits were given by professional perfumers as follows: P.nigrum (black) - fine, pleasant black pepper note; P.guineense (black) - black pepper top-note; and P.guineense (white) - pleasant white pepper note… the main compounds such as β-caryophyllene, germacrene D, limonene, β-pinene, α-phellandrene and α-humulene, as well as minor constituents such as δ-carene, β-phellandrene, isoborneol, α-guaiene, sarisan, elemicin, calamenene, caryophyllene alcohol, isoelemicin, T-muurolol, cubenol and bulnesol, are of greatest importance for the characteristic pepper odor notes…“
[Aroma compound analysis of Piper nigrum and Piper guineense essential oils from Cameroon using solid-phase microextraction-gas chromatography, solid-phase microextraction-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and olfactometry., Jirovetz, L., Buchbauer, G., Ngassoum, M.B., Geissler, M., Journal of Chromatography A, 976(1), 2002, 265-275]
Bulletin de la Société royale de botanique de Belgique, vol.51 t.72 (1912) [J.Fleischmann]
Piper guineense, photographer Stefan Porembski, 2009, Cameroon, Nguti
Brunken, U., Schmidt, M., Dressler, S., Janssen, T., Thiombiano, A. & Zizka, G. 2008. West African plants - A Photo Guide. www.westafricanplants.senckenberg.de. - Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Frankfurt/Main, Germany.