Open main menu

Rivina humilis is a species of flowering plant in the family Petiveriaceae. It was formerly placed in the pokeweed family, Phytolaccaceae.[2] It can be found in the southern United States, the Caribbean, Central America, and tropical South America. Common names include pigeonberry,[1] rougeplant,[1] baby peppers,[3] bloodberry,[1] and coralito.[1] The specific epithet means "dwarfish" or "lowly" in Latin, referring to the plant's short stature.[4]

Rivina humilis
Rivina humilis (fruit).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Petiveriaceae
Genus: Rivina
R. humilis
Binomial name
Rivina humilis

Rivina laevis L.[1]


Pigeonberry is an erect, vine-like[5] herb,[3] reaching a height of 0.4–2 m (1.3–6.6 ft).[5] The leaves of this evergreen perennial[6] are up to 15 cm (5.9 in) wide and 9 cm (3.5 in), with a petiole 1–11 cm (0.39–4.33 in) in length. Flowers are on racemes 4–15 cm (1.6–5.9 in) long with a peduncle 1–5 cm (0.39–1.97 in) in length and pedicels 2–8 mm (0.079–0.315 in) long. Sepals are 1.5–3.5 mm (0.059–0.138 in) in length and white or green to pink or purplish.[5] The fruit is a glossy, bright red berry[4] 2.5–5 mm (0.098–0.197 in) in diameter.[5]

Rivina humilis plant with fruit and flowers.


Rivinia humilis can be found in forests, thickets, shell middens, hammocks, roadsides, and disturbed areas at elevations from sea level to 1,700 m (5,600 ft).[5] It requires less than partial sun and is tolerant of full shade. It is also tolerant of salt spray and saline soils.[6]

It is considered invasive in New Caledonia, where it was likely introduced in 1900[7].


Pigeonberry is cultivated as an ornamental in warm regions throughout the world[5] and is valued as a shade-tolerant groundcover.[8] It is also grown as a houseplant[9] and in greenhouses.[5]

The juice made from the berries was used as a dye and ink at one time. The berries contain a pigment known as rivianin or rivinianin,[4] which has the IUPAC name 5-O-β-D-Glucopyranoside, 3-sulfate, CAS number 58115-21-2, and molecular formula C24H26N2O16S.[10] It is very similar to betanin, the pigment found in beets.[4] The fruit also contains the betaxanthin humilixanthin.[11]

The juice of the berries have been tested in male rats and are reported to be safe to consume.[12]


R. humilis is a host plant for the caterpillars of Goodson's greenstreak (Cyanophrys goodsoni)[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Rivina humilis". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2009-12-09.
  2. ^ Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2016). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG IV". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 161 (2): 105–20. doi:10.1111/boj.12385.
  3. ^ a b "Rivina humilis L." Native Plant Information Network. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Retrieved 2009-12-09.
  4. ^ a b c d Nellis, David W (1997). Poisonous Plants and Animals of Florida and the Caribbean. Pineapple Press Inc. p. 227. ISBN 978-1-56164-111-6.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Rivina humilis Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 121. 1753". Flora of North America. Retrieved 2009-12-11.
  6. ^ a b "Pigeonberry Rivina humilis". Ornamental for the Texas Gulf Coast. Texas A&M University. Retrieved 2009-12-10.
  7. ^ Hequet, Vanessa (2009). Les espèces exotiques envahissantes de Nouvelle-Calédonie (PDF) (in French). pp. 17, 47.
  8. ^ Garrett, Howard (1996). Howard Garrett's Plants for Texas. University of Texas Press. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-292-72788-5.
  9. ^ "Pigeon Berry Latin Name: Rivina humilis". Plant Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2009-12-09.
  10. ^ D. C. Ayres, ed. (1994). Dictionary of Natural Products. 7. CRC Press. p. 645. ISBN 978-0-412-46620-5.
  11. ^ Humilixanthin a new betaxanthin from Rivina humilis. Dieter Strack, Doris Schmitt, Hans Reznik, Wilhelm Boland, Lutz Grotjahn and Victor Wray, Phytochemistry, 1987, Volume 26, Issue 8, Pages 2285–2287, doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)84702-0
  12. ^ Food Chem. Toxicol., December 2011, volume 49, issue 12, pages 3154-3157
  13. ^ "Goodson's Greenstreak Cyanophrys goodsoni (Clench, 1946)". Butterflies and Moths of North America. Retrieved 2010-08-22.

External linksEdit