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Capsicum spp.

Pronunciation: Kap-sick-um
Family: Solanaceae (nightshade family)
Common Name: Pepper, chilli, chile, chili
Plant Type:
  • perennial
  • fruits, vegetables
  • annual
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • -20 to -30ºF ZONE 4
  • -10 to -20ºF ZONE 5
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
Sun Exposure:
  • full sun
Bloom Description: All of the peppers are perennial semi-woody sub-shrubs, although they usually are cultivated as annuals. They are mainly glabrous (without pubescence), much branched, 2-4 ft (0. 6-1. 2 m) tall, with alternate leaves and modest little flowers which give rise to colorful fruits (berries technically).
Soil Type: Peppers will produce best when supplied with adequate water. They are not particularly drought tolerant. If the soil is well drained they thrive best when it rains every day.
Propagation: Peppers are grown from seed. In temperate climates, seeds are usually started indoors 6-8 weeks before the last expected frost. Seedlings are set out 2-4 ft (0. 6-1. 2 m) apart after all danger of frost has past. Most types require caging or staking. Peppers are self-pollinating, but honey bees, sweat bees and other insects often cause cross-pollination between pepper plants growing near one another. If you want to save seeds, you should grow only one variety of a species, or keep the different varieties at least 500 ft (152 m) apart, or bag a few blossoms so insects can't get in. Clean the seeds and dry until brittle before storing
Native to: Capsacum baccatum probably originated in northern argentina and bolivia. It is cultivated throughout much of south america. C. Pubescens originated in the high elevations of the andes in equador and bolivia. It is cultivated there as well as in the mountainous regions of mexico and central america. C. Frutescens (including c. Chinense) probably originated in the amazon basin of south america. Various cultivars are cultivated in the caribbean region, central and south america, asia and africa. Tabasco peppers are an important cash crop in southern louisiana. C. Annuum probably originated in central america and mexico. Peppers belonging to this species are cultivated in every country in the world. Today india is the world's largest producer of chile peppers.
Notes for Identification: Source: floridata - in the wild, pepper seeds were dispersed by birds which ate the fruits with impunity. Unlike mammals, birds are immune to the effects of capsaicin, the ingredient that gives peppers their characteristic bite. Most of the capsaicin is located in the interior tissue of the pepper, where the seeds are attached. Peppers can be rendered considerably less piquant by slicing in half and scraping out the seeds and associated membranes with a spoon. The amount of capsaicin varies among chile pepper types, with the growing conditions (hotter, dryer weather makes for hotter peppers) and even between fruits on the same plant. Ripe peppers are sweeter and often (but not always) hotter than green peppers. Peppers are sometimes ranked in scoville units which are nothing more than the number of times an extract of pepper dissolved in alcohol can be diluted half and half in sugar water and the capsaicin still tasted. Bell peppers get a zero on this scale; jalapenos around 3000; tabascos around 60,000; and habaneros around 300,000. Less subjective techniques like chromatography actually measure the amount of capsaicin in the peppers.
Seed photo: 0
Located in: Annual
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