Wednesday, August 10, 2011


The generic name 'Capsicum' is derived from the Greek word ‘kapto’, meaning ‘to bite’ or ‘to swallow.  

Capsicum consists of approximately 20 – 27 species.  Known species include : C. annuum, C. baccatum, C. buforum, C. campylopodium, C. cardenasii, C. chacoense, C. chinensis, C. cocineum, C. camutum, C. dimorphum, C. dusenii, C. eximium, C. flexuosum, C. frutescens, C. galapogoense, C. geminifolium, C.  hookerianum, C. lanceolatum, C. leptopodum, C. lycianthoides, C. minutiflorum, C. mirabile, C. mositicum, C. parvifolium, C. pubescens, C. rhomboideum, C. schottianum, C. scholnikianum, C. tovarii, and C. villosum.

There are 5 major species of Capsicum cultivated :

Capsicum annuum
Although the species name ‘annum’ means ‘annual’, from the Latin word ‘annus’, it is not an annual plant.  It can grow for several seasons and sometimes into a perennial shrub.
It originated from southern N.America, and northern S.America.

The flowers are white coloured, sometimes purplish.

Known varieties :  Aleppo , Anaheim,  Ancho, Banana pepper, Bell pepper, Cascabel, Cayenne, Chilaca, Chiltepin, Cubanelle, De árbol, Dundicut, Fresno, Guajillo, Hungarian wax, Italian sweet, Jalapeño, Mirasol, Macho, Mulato, New Mexico (Anaheim), Paprika, Pasilla, Peperoncini, Peter, Piquín, Pimento, Poblano,Puya, Serrano, Shishito, Tien Tsin

Chili Kulai

Bell Peppers

Capsicum frutescens
Originated from South America, or Central America.

The flowers are greenish white or greenish yellow.
The fruits typically are small; berries erect; ellipsoid-conical to lanceoloid shaped.
It is usually annuals or short-lived perennials.
Besides grown for human consumption, it is grown for ornamental use for its colourful ripening patterns and large quantities of berries.

Known cultivars & varieties : African Bird's Eye, Bird's Eye chili, Kambuzi pepper, Malagueta, piri-piri, Tabasco, Thai pepper


Capsicum chinensis
Despite its specific name ‘chinensis’, it is originated in the New World.  Nicolaur Joseph von Jacquin (1727-1817), a Cutch botanist, erroneously named it in 1776 as he believed that it was originated from China.
It is originated from Central America, the Yucatan region, and the Caribbean islands.

Flowers are whitish in colour.
Fruits varies greatly in shape and colour, with red, orange, yellow, and even brown.
Plants are usually perennial.

Known varieties : Adjuma, Ají Limo, Ají dulce, Arriba Saia, Datil, Fatalii, Habanero, Hainan Yellow Lantern Chili, Madame Jeanette, Naga Jolokia, Red Savina Habanero, Scotch Bonnet, Trinidad Scorpion, Umbigo de Tainha, Wiri Wiri, 7-Pot,

Capsicum pubescens
The name ‘pubescens’ means hairy, which refers to the hairy leaves of the plant.
It is distinguished from other chili species with its black seeds.

Originated from northeastern South America, and southern Central America.
The plant is a small shrub, sometimes a liana, perennial.
The flowers appear singly or in pairs.  Blue-violet coloured.

C. pubsescens is grown almost exclusively as the Rocoto variety.


Capsicum baccatum
Wild species C. baccatum var. baccatum is most common in Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, northern Argentina, and southern Brazil.

Flowers are green or golden.
Fruits varies in shape and colour.

Some known varieties are : Ají , Bishop's Crown, Brazilian Starfish, Lemon Drop, Piquanté


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