Datils are similar in strength to habaneros but have a sweeter, fruitier flavor. Their level of spiciness may vary from 100,000 to 300,000 on the Scoville scale. Mature peppers are about 3.5 in long and yellow-orange in color.
Datil peppers are cultivated throughout the United States and elsewhere, but the majority are produced in St. Augustine, Florida. Although local lore suggests datils were brought to St. Augustine by indentured workers from Minorca in the late 18th century, it is more likely they were brought from Chile around 1880 by a jelly maker named S. B. Valls. As of late, some controversy has emerged over whether or not the true origin was resultant of the slave trade in St Augustine. The pepper is almost identical to a west African pepper called the "fatalii" or "fatal." The similarities in size, shape, color, heat and flavor, as well as the similarity of the names, makes this an issue that deserves more investigation.
Datil peppers are used by the Minorcan community in many recipes. Many commercial manufacturers of datil pepper products are located in St. Augustine, which also has the annual Datil Pepper Festival. The datil is listed on Slow Food USA's Ark of Taste.