Piper aduncum L. is a shrubby tree belonging to the family Piperaceae. It is commonly known as "matico" or spiked pepper. It is a native of the West Indies and Central America from Mexico to northern Argentina. It can form thickets and spreads by sprouts and suckers. It grows up to 8 m tall with a diameter of 10 cm or more. Leaves are alternate, distichous, elliptic, 12-22 cm long, shortly etiolate and softly hairy beneath. Flowers are cord-like, white to yellow inflorescence spikes that contain minute black seeds.
It inhabits disturbed rainforest areas and margins of up to 2000 m in altitude. It is also found along agricultural areas, roadsides, secondary forests or on forested ridges. It can live in areas with greater than 4000 mm of mean annual rainfall. It can colonize most soil types. It requires high levels of sunlight and a bare soil surface, indicating that disturbance is necessary for its establishment.