When fresh and fully mature, the fruit is about 5 mm (0.20 in) in diameter and dark red, and contains a single seed, like all drupes. Peppercorns and the ground pepper derived from them may be described simply as pepper, or more precisely as black pepper (cooked and dried unripe fruit), green pepper (dried unripe fruit), or white pepper (ripe fruit seeds). Ground, dried and cooked peppercorns have been used since antiquity, both for flavor and as a traditional medicine. Black pepper is the world's most traded spice and is one of the most common spices added to cuisines around the world. It can be whole, coarse of finely grounded into a fine powder.

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