They grow on a perennial, tropical vine with a grey stem and smooth, pointed leaves. The vine produces spikes with small white blossoms, and after that, brown berries on the spikes. The berries grow inside a pod about 1 ¼ inches (3 cm) long. Inside each berry is a white, hollow kernel.
The berries are usually sold whole with their stems still attached, hence one of the synonyms of “tailed.”
Cubeb is used in Moroccan and North African cooking, in Indonesian cooking, and in some gins.
Cubeb is native to Indonesia. Growers in Java would sterilize the Cubeb berries before exporting them so that they couldn’t be grown elsewhere.
Cubeb was popular in Europe during the 1500s and 1600s. It was used as a pepper substitute.
Negro Pepper was another popular substitute for pepper.
The English word “Cubeb” comes from the Arabic word for the spice, “kabaabah.”
In Indonesian called “tjabé djawa.”