Ground black pepper, animated coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Pepper comes from a flowering vine (Piper nigrum) in the family Piperaceae and is cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice for seasoning. The same type of fruit is also used to produce white pepper and green pepper. Black pepper is native to South India and is cultivated there and in other tropical regions. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is a small drupe about 5mm in diameter that is dark red when fully mature and contains a single seed. The spiciness of black pepper is due to the chemical piperine.