Clear Mountain Garden Treasures
 

Clear Mountain Garden TreasuresChillies and Peppers

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Chillies and Peppers

Chilly harvest
Family Solanaceae
Name Capsicum Spp.
Common Names Aji, Chilli, Chili, Chilly, Chille, Chile, Capsicum, Pepper, Pimento
Etymology
Capsicum From Greek kapto meaning to bite, referring to their piquant flavour.

Pictures:
Ornamental chillies
Bell Pepper (Capsicum)
Bull's Horn
Banana chilly
Jalapeno
Aji Norteno (Red)
Cayenne
Brazillian Cambuci
Thai Hot
Thai Orange
Habanero
Rocoto
  See also:  Food plants, Culture / Germination
  Buy seeds:  Seeds - Chillies and Peppers

Chillies have been cultivated since ancient times in South America, and was brought to Europe by Columbus. Before long, it had spread to the Middle East, Africa, India and Asia. The popularity of chillies has meant that they are now extensively cultivated outside of their natural range, even to the extent that peoples in those regions think that chilly is indigenous.

Today, there are thousands of varieties of different shapes, sizes, colour and heat. The heat level of Chillies (termed as piquant) is graded using the Scoville Heat Unit (SHU), originally designed as taste test using different dilutions of chilly extracts. The SHU is the number of times a solution has to be diluted before it no longer taste piquant. Bell peppers are sweet and are rated at 0 SHU, and on the other end of the scale, Habanero rates over 350000 SHU!

 Ornamental chillies


Medusa
Name Capsicum annuum
Etymology
annuum From Latin annuum meaning annual.

A selection of chillies that are grown as ornamental pot plants.



Salsa Orange

Salsa Orange

Salsa Yellow

Salsa Yellow

Black Knight

Twilight

 Bell Pepper (Capsicum)

Name Capsicum annuum
Etymology
annuum From Latin annuum meaning annual.

Bell pepper or capsicum is a sweet chilly, basically lacking the capsaicin that makes chilly piquant.



Immature fruit

Orange

Red

Red

 Bull's Horn

Name Capsicum annuum
Etymology
annuum From Latin annuum meaning annual.

Corno Di Toro, or Bull's horn is a large sweet pepper. The tapered fruits have thick walls and large interior space, making them suitable for stuffing. There are two types, yellow and red. The yellow variety ripens yellow but will turn red if left on the plant.


Yellow and red

 Banana chilly

Name Capsicum annuum
Etymology
annuum From Latin annuum meaning annual.

Banana chilly is normally picked and eaten when it is at the yellow-green and is excellent for stuffing. This warm chilly is rated at around 100 SHU. If left on the plant to ripen, it will turn red and taste sweeter.



Green

Yellow-green stage.

Red Ripe

 Jalapeno

Name Capsicum annuum
Etymology
annuum From Latin annuum meaning annual.

Jalapeno is perhaps the most popular of the Mexican chillies, but the variety commonly grown for the North American market Early Jalapeno.



Immature fruit

Fruit

Fruit

 Aji Norteno (Red)

Name Capsicum baccatum
Etymology
baccatum From Latin bacca meaning berry.

This chilly (aji) is one of the commonly grown varieties in South America, though it is not common elsewhere. Norteno (which means North) comes from to its popularity in the valleys of nothern Peru. It is mildly hot, with a fruity flavour, and has thick walls, suitable for stuffing. The skin is bumpy, which gives this chilly an unusual look.


Fruit

 Cayenne

Name Capsicum annuum
Etymology
annuum From Latin annuum meaning annual.

Cayenne is a hot chilly with a long tapered body. There are numerous cultivars, most distinguishing themselves only in the thickness of the fruit walls and colour of chilly. This chilly is most commonly used in Asian cooking. Red cayenne pepper is rated at around 30000 to 50000 SHU. Yellow cayenne is hotter than the red variety, and is rated at around 50000 to 80000 SHU.



Bud

Flower buds and shoots arise from leaf axils.

Flower

The flowers have 5 petals.

Immature fruit

Mature green fruit

The fruit can be picked at this stage, just before it turns red.

Cayenne Pepper Plant

Cayenne plants are very prolific.

Red Cayenne

Red Cayenne

Yellow Cayenne

Yellow Cayenne

 Brazillian Cambuci

Name Capsicum baccatum var. pendulum
Common Names Cambuci, Bishops Crown, Aji Flor
Etymology
baccatum From Latin bacca meaning berry.
pendulum From Latin pendulum meaning hanging.

Brazillian Cambuci has most unusual shape. It is three sided, and has a ring that flares out (wings) on the three sides, resembling a monk's hat or UFO. C. baccatum is the most commonly grown species in South America.

Hotness: If the chilly is ground whole, the resulting paste is quite hot. The 'wings' are actually quite mild, and if the chilly is cut open and the seed and surounding placental tissues removed, the result is a pretty mild chilly. A very versatile fruit indeed!



Immature fruit

Ripening fruit

Ripe fruit

 Thai Hot

Name Capsicum annuum
Etymology
annuum From Latin annuum meaning annual.

This Asian heirloom variety produces small very hot peppers on compact plants. The peppers grow facing upwards, and can be used either green or red.



Ripening fruit

Ripening fruit

Ripe fruit

 Thai Orange

Name Capsicum annuum
Etymology
annuum From Latin annuum meaning annual.

This variety is similar in heat to the traditional Thai Hot, but produces orange instead of red fruits. The fruits are also thinner and longer.


Thai Orange

 Habanero


Orange Habanero
Name Capsicum chinense
Etymology
chinense From China (Latinised), although originating from the Americas, the Dutch botanist, Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin, erroneously named the species, because he believed that they originated in China.

Habanero (or Havana Chilly) has the world record in the hottest chilly, rating at 350000 SHU! C. chinense is named after China, seeming unlikely as capsicums originate from South America! The truth of the matter is the French botanist who gave this species its name got the seeds via China.

A closely related cultivar is Scotch Bonnet. This cultivar is almost as hot, but differs from habanero by having larger, more robust fruits, and a different flavour. Scotch Bonnet is used to spice many world cuisines, in particular, it gives Caribbean dishes their unique taste.

This species is very similar to C. frutescens and some botanists regard them to be the same.

Warning: Habanero is a very hot chilly. Handle with care. Use gloves where possible as it can burn sensitive skin. Even metal knives that have been used to cut the chillies, then washed, still carry traces of the capsaicin. The seeds are also extremely hot, and care should taken when sowing them.



Scarlet Habanero

Scarlet Habanero

Scarlet Habanero

Scarlet Habanero

Scotch Bonnet

 Rocoto

Name Capsicum pubescens
Etymology
pubescens From Latin pubesco meaning to reach puberty (and becoming hairy), referring to the hairy leaves..

Rocoto (C. pubescens) is perhaps one of the earliest domesticated chillies, first cultivated around 6000 years ago. It differs from other chillies in that the leaves are hairy, and is much more cold tolerant. This species does not cross with the other capsicum species. The seeds are black.

Originally from the high Equatorial Andes in Bolivia, there is no record of C. pubescens existing in the wild, and botanists think that it may be related to other wild species such as Capsicum eximium. Other names used in South America for this chilly are Caballo and Manzano.



Flower of Red Rocoto

The red Rocoto chilly's flower is purple in colour.

Flower of Red Rocoto

Immature red Rocoto

Notice the hairy stems.

Red Rocoto

Red Rocoto

Yellow Rocoto

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