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The black pepper plant is a woody climber and may reach heights of 10 metres (33 feet) by means of its aerial roots. Its broad shiny green leaves are alternately arranged. The small flowers are in dense slender spikes of about 50 blossoms each. The fruits, which are sometimes called peppercorns, are drupes about 5 mm (0.2 inch) in diameter. They become yellowish red at maturity and bear a single seed. Their odour is penetrating and aromatic; the taste is hot, biting, and very pungent. Ground black pepper contains up to 3 percent essential oil that has the aromatic flavour of Capsicum peppers but not the pungency. The characteristic flavour is principally derived from the chemical piperine, though the seeds also contain chavicine, piperidine, and piperettine.