Wild Bermuda Pepper (Peperomia septentrionalis)
Wild Bermuda Pepper is an endemic herb that is found in rock crevices, cliff faces, around cave mouths and other damp rocky areas. Britton wrote in 1918 that Wild Bermuda Pepper was “abundant on shaded rocks” between Tucker’s Town and the Causeway, on the northern side of Harrington Sound and Paget Marsh. Today it is rarely seen except in nature reserves in the Walsingham area, Blue Hole Hill and Paget Marsh. Much of its habitat has been lost by forest clearing and cave destruction. Wild Bermuda Pepper is now considered Endangered.
Wild Bermuda Pepper can grow up to about 45 cm (18”) tall in ideal conditions. It is usually much smaller than this, around 15cm (6”) when growing out of rock faces. In these circumstances it is usually found growing from horizontal stems that creep over the substrate. The leaves are thick, waxy, smooth edged and very rounded, reaching up to 6 cm (2.5”) long. They are bright green and somewhat shiny on top. The leaves are arranged alternately on the jointed, fleshy branches of the stem. The many tiny flowers and fruits grow on spikes up to 15 cm (6”) long that grow from the top of the plant. The very tiny fruit are sticky.
Wild Bermuda Pepper is being cultivated locally with promising results. Peperomia species are widely used as houseplants and there are several ornamental species of Peperomia also available in Bermuda that look similar to our endemic species.