Posts tagged ‘C.chinense’

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Chili pepper plant identification – pods

First, a disclaimer: the characteristics described below are generalizations – there are always exceptions; hence, they must be taken in connection with other identifying traits. The more distinguishing characteristics are highlighted. Also, I am focusing here on the five main species of the Capsicum genus; there are many others, though not as common/popular.

SPECIES

PODS

C. annuum 


C. baccatum 


C. chinense 


C. frutescens 


C. pubescens 


Calyx (junction of pod with stem): without  constriction at junction with stem (though sometimes irregularly wrinkled) without  constriction at junction with stem (though sometimes irregularly wrinkled) usually with constriction at junction with stem without constriction at junction with stem (though often irregularly wrinkled) without constriction at junction with stem
Calyx teeth: often prolonged into short teeth prolonged into prominent teeth not prolonged into teeth usually not prolonged into teeth prolonged into teeth
Fruit: usually erect and become pendant as they mature pointy and erect usually pear- or apple-shaped
Fruit flesh: usually firm (soft in certain varieties) firm firm often soft firm
Seeds: straw-colored straw-colored straw-colored straw-colored dark in color
Examples: C. annuum pod C. baccatum podC. baccatum pod C. chinense podC. chinense pod C. frutescens podC. frutescens pod C. pubescens pod
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Chili pepper plant identification – flowers

First, a disclaimer: the characteristics described below are generalizations – there are always exceptions; hence, they must be taken in connection with other identifying traits.  The more distinguishing characteristics are highlighted.  Also, I am focusing here on the five main species of the Capsicum genus; there are many others, though not as common/popular.

SPECIES

FLOWER

C. annuum C. baccatum C. chinense C. frutescens C. pubescens
Pedicels (flower stems) at each node: solitary (occasionally in clusters) solitary two or more (occasionally solitary) solitary (occasionally in clusters) solitary
Pedicels (flower stems) during blossoming: usually declining erect or declining erect or declining erect but flowers nodding erect but flowers nodding
Corolla (petal) color: milky/creamy-white (occasionally purple), without spots white or greenish-white, with distinctive scattered dark green, brown or yellow spots at base greenish-white (occasionally milky/creamy-white or purple), without spots greenish-white, without spots purple (occasionally with white margins and/or white base), without spots
Corolla (petal) shape: usually straight usually slightly rolled backward at the edge usually straight often slightly rolled backward at the edge usually straight
Anther (pollen sack) color: purple and white yellow or tan purple purple purple and white
Examples: C. annuum flowerC. annuum flower C. baccatum flowerC. baccatum flower C. chinense flower C. frutescens flower C. pubescens flowerC. pubescens flower
purple and white
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C. chinense varieties

Capsicum chinense is often referred to as Habanero but it’s by no means limited to this variety.  This species includes many of the world’s most pungent chili peppers (but there also are some totally mild varieties) including the following:

  • Habanero
  • Scotch Bonnet
  • Ají Limo
  • Ají dulce
  • Rocotillo
  • Red Savina
  • Naga Jolokia
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C. chinense

Some interesting facts about this species (from Wikipedia, TheChileMan, and Floridata):

  • Capsicum chinense or “Chinese capsicum” is a misnomer since all the capsicum species originate in the Americas. The Dutch botanist who erroneously named the species believed that the plant originated in China.
  • C. frutescens and C. chinense are quite difficult to distinguish, and many authorities lump them as one species, C. frutescens, characterized by having two or more purple or greenish white flowers at each node.
  • C. chinense (and C. frutescens) originated in the Amazon basin (Brazil) and spread to the Caribbean and then to Central and South America.
  • The pod types, as well as the plants are very varied in this species, although they are characterised by a distinctive fruity aroma often described as apricot-like.
  • Being a tropical species, they tend to do best in areas of high humidity.
  • They are relatively slow growers, having longer growing seasons than many of the other species, and seeds can take a long time to germinate.
  • They grow from 30 to 160 cm high, with pale to medium-green, large and wrinkled leaves.
  • Flowers have white to greenish corollas and purple anthers and filaments.