Posts tagged ‘Rocoto’

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Rocoto (C. pubescens)

The rocoto (from Quechua ruqutu), or locoto (from Aymara luqutu) (Capsicum pubescens) is a medium sized round chili pepper common in Peru, Bolivia, northern Chile, northern Argentina, and Ecuador.” – Wikipedia

“C. pubescens is the only pepper species with black seeds (all the others are straw colored). The stems and leaves are slightly fuzzy. This is the most distinctive of all the cultivated peppers. The fruits look like small apples and have very thick fleshy walls. They are extremely piquant.” – Floridata

Floridata also mentions that rocotos do not flower until the days shorten to 12 hours of daylight, and won’t flower if temperatures are much above 27º C.

According to Gardening.eu, rocotos “tend to develop like erect small trees. This plant in the summer assumes a white colouring; it is large in size and can reach 3 m high. It keeps its leaves in the winter. The rocoto develops like a shrub.

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C. pubescens relatives

Genetically, this species has no wild form, it is however very closely related to a group of wild species including Capsicum eximium (Bolivia and northern Argentina), Capsicum cardenasii (Bolivia) and Capsicum tovarii (Peru). This may be due to the fact that this species cannot cross-pollinate with other Capsicum species, thus reducing its genetic diversity over time.” – Chile-Head

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Rocoto germination

‘Rocotos can be slow to germinate, so be sure to keep the soil temperature above 24° C, although once mature these plants are very resistant to low temperatures.’ – TheChileMan

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C. pubescens varieties

The following varieties belong to this species:

  • Manzano Amarillo
  • Manzano Rojo
  • Rocoto (the most popular of the bunch)
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C. pubescens

Some more interesting stuff about the Capsicum pubescens species (from TheChileMan):

  • C. pubescens (“hairy”) is probably the least common on the five domesticated species and is the only domesticated capsicum species with no wild form.
  • It is probably the most difficult of the five domesticated species to grow.
  • One interesting point to note is that the species is ‘isolated’ from the other domesticated species as it cannot cross-pollinate with them.
  • C. pubescens has a compact to erect habit (sometimes sprawling and vine like) and can grow up to 2.4 m tall, although 60 cm is more usual.
  • The flowers have purple corollas, purple and white anthers and stand erect from the leaves.
  • The pods are normally pear or apple shaped.
  • The most distinguishing feature of these peppers are their black seeds.
  • The chilis themselves are very pungent, approx 5 cm long and 3.8 cm wide, and resemble miniature bell peppers.
  • They mature in color from green to red.