List of Capsicum cultivars

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The following is a preliminary list as there are thousands of Capsicum cultivars grown worldwide.

There are four or five major species of cultivated Capsicum, and within those species are several "taxonomic varieties". The species and varieties include many economically important cultivars with different shapes, colours, and flavours that are grown for different purposes. Some confusion has resulted from the legal term "plant variety", which is used interchangeably with "cultivar" (not with "taxonomic variety").

Major species and their taxonomic varieties:[1]

  • Capsicum annuum, which includes bell peppers, cayenne, paprika, tabasco, and jalapeños
    • Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum
  • Capsicum baccatum, which includes ají amarillo, ají limon and criolla sella
    • Capsicum baccatum var. pendulum
    • Capsicum baccatum var. praetermissum, which includes cumari
  • Capsicum chinense, which includes habanero, sometimes included within C. annuum[2]
  • Capsicum pubescens, which includes rocoto

Capsicum frutescens is sometimes distinguished as a species separate from C. annuum,[3] while other botanists consider it and C. annuum to be conspecific.[4]

Capsicum annuum[edit]

Main article: Capsicum annuum

Capsicum annuum, native to South America, is cultivated worldwide. Its forms are varied, from large to small, sweet to sour, and very hot to bland. Despite being a single species, C. annuum has many forms, with a variety of names, even in the same language. Official names aside, in American English, any variety lacking heat is colloquially known as a sweet pepper, while one that produces capsaicin is colloquially known as a hot pepper or chili pepper. In British English, the sweet varieties are called "peppers"[5] and the hot varieties "chillies",[6] whereas in Australian English, the name "capsicum" is commonly used for bell peppers exclusively and "chilli" is often used to encompass the hotter varieties.

The plant is a perennial subshrub, with a densely branched stem. The plant reaches 0.5–1.5 m (20–60 in). Single white flowers develop into the fruit which is green when unripe, changing usually to red, although some varieties may ripen to yellow, brown, or purple. The species are grown in temperate climates as an annual, but they are especially productive in warm and dry climates.

Capsicum annuum
Image Name Origin Heat Pod Size Description
Afghan short pepper Afghanistan 5,000 - 30,000 SR 5–8 cm (2–3 in) Grown in Afghanistan
Aleppopepper.jpg Aleppo Syria and Turkey 15,000 SR Grown in Syria and Turkey and used, in coarsely ground, dried form, as a spice that is also called aleppo pepper
Alma paprika Hungary 10,000 SR A Hungarian pepper often pickled or dried and ground to make spicy paprika
Californiachilis.jpg Anaheim USA 500 - 2,500 SR 15 cm (6 in) A smooth, narrow fruit first cultivated in northern Mexico and New Mexico, it was later brought to California, from where it has received the most notoriety. Often it is used for chile relleno. When mature, it takes on a red color and is referred to as a colorado.
Ancient Sweet 0 SR 10-12" long by 1 1/2-2" wide Medium tall plant produce heavy loads of extra sweet red in color fruits, plant have white flowers & thin flesh. This variety sets the record for the sweetest pepper with 1.5X the sweetness of a ripe red bell pepper.
Banana peppers.jpg Banana 0 - 500 SR 15 cm (6 in) Often it is pickled and used as an ingredient in sandwiches; its piquancy is not very hot. Its shape and color resemble a banana.
RedBellPepper.jpg Bell 0 SR 15 cm (6 in) This cultivar group of large rectangular fruit is without noticeable heat. The ripe fruit can be red, yellow, green, orange, white, purple, blue, or brown depending on the specific cultivar.
Thai peppers.jpg Bird's eye (Thai) Southeast Asia 50,000 – 150,000 SR[citation needed] 4 cm (1.5 in) A Southeast Asian cultivar known by many local names, but generally it is called Thai chili in the USA. It has thin fruit with a pointed tip.
Cascabelchilipeppersdried.jpg Cascabel Mexico 3,000 SR 2.5 cm (1 in) The small, round fruit are usually dried, and have a distinct, nutty flavor. The name, Spanish for "rattle" or "jingle bell", derives from the rattling noise made by the seeds inside the dried pod.
Large Cayenne.jpg Cayenne (red) French Guiana 30,000 - 50,000 SR 12.5 cm (5 in) This long, thin fruit was transported by the Portuguese to China and India, where it is used widely. Often it is dried and ground into powder.
Cherrypeppers.jpg Cherry 3,500 SR 2.5 cm (1 in) Named for the fruit it resembles, this cultivar's fruit is small, red, and round. It is typically used fresh, or pickled and jarred, and is often used to stuff green olives. It is also called pimento.
Pasillachiles.jpg Chilaca 1,000 - 2,000 SR 15 cm (6 in) Popular in Mexican cuisine, it is almost always encountered dried; in this state, it is referred to as a pasilla. The pasilla has a dark brown color and a smoky flavor.
Chiltepin.150x.jpg Chiltepin 50,000 - 100,000 SR 0.5 cm (0.2 in) This small, hot fruit is often eaten by birds. The plant is thought to be the ancestor of the cultivated C. annuum peppers. Evidence indicates it has been consumed by humans as far back as 7,500 BC.[citation needed]
Chinese five-color 5,000 - 30,000 SR 3.5 cm (1.5 in) The fruit starts out purple, then changes to white, yellow, orange, and red. Similar to Bolivian rainbow pepper and 'NuMex Twilight' pepper, it is also called Chinese multicolor pepper.
Cowhorn 0-500 SR 8 in Plant produces good yields of 8" long sweet pepper. Pepper are very sweet and have excellent flavor! Peppers turn from green to red when mature. One of the largest non-bell stuffing peppers around
Cubanelle Peppers.jpg Cubanelle 1 - 1,000 SR 12.7 cm (5 in) Medium in thickness, the tapered fruit is green when unripe, but turns red when mature. Often it is fried in Italian cooking.
Chilesdearbol.jpg De árbol Mexico 15,000 - 30,000 SR 8 cm (3 in) This slender-fruited cultivar is grown primarily in Mexico, its name is Spanish for "from a tree".
Elephant Trunk 5,000 - 10,000 SR 6" to 10" long by 1" wide Plant produces good yields of 6" to 10" long by 1" wide tapered and wrinkled hot peppers. Pepper resemble an elephant's trunk. They are mild and turn from green to red when mature. Plant has green stems, green leaves, and white flowers. Can be used green or red. A variety from India. Plant Height: 50" tall
Illustration Capsicum annuum0.jpg Fresno 2,500-10,000 SR 9 cm (3.5 in) Similar to the jalapeño, but with thinner walls, it is generally used ripe, and has a higher vitamin content. Frequently it is used in ceviche, and is one of the most frequently used chilis in salsa.
Guajillos.jpg Guajillo Mexico 2,500 - 5,000 SR Most often used in dried form to make a red sauce used for tamales
Andhra Chillies.jpg Guntur Sannam 35,000 - 40,000 SR It is well known as a commercial crop used as a condiment, culinary supplement, or vegetable.
Hungarianwaxpeppers.jpg Hungarian wax 2,500 - 8,000 SR This wide, medium-hot variety is used in Hungarian cuisine, frequently pickled. Also it is commonly dried, ground, and presented as "paprika".
Italian sweet peppers.jpg Italian sweet pepper Italy Used in Spanish cuisine
Jalapenyo.jpg Jalapeño Mexico 2,500 - 8,000 SR 9 cm (3.5 in) Very popular, especially in the United States, it is often pickled or canned. A smoke-dried ripe jalapeño is referred to as a chipotle.
Shishito Japan
Mirasol Mexico
Macho Mexico
Piment fort.jpg Medusa It is a sweet, ornamental chili pepper which grows upright and has brightly coloured fruit.
Mulato chile pods (dried).JPG Mulato Mexico 2,500 - 3,000 SR 10 cm (4 in) Grown in Mexico, the mulato is a mild to medium chili pepper,

closely related to the poblano (ancho), and usually sold dried.

Newmexicochiles.jpg New Mexico USA 4,500 - 5,000 SR A cultivar of Anaheim peppers, it is grown in New Mexico. Typically, it has a much higher heat than those grown in California, or elsewhere.
Mature peter red chili next to a dried pod.PNG Peter pepper USA and Mexico 5,000 - 30,000 SR 8–10 cm (3–4 in) Rare, heirloom-type hot pepper
Pepperoncini.jpg Pepperoncini Italy 100 - 500 SR 8 cm (3 in) Sweet-tasting and mild, used extensively in Italian and Greek cuisine, very frequently pickled
Piquinbush.jpg Pequin pepper USA and Mexico 100,000 - 140,000 SR Also spelled piquín
Poblano Pepper.jpg Poblano Mexico 1,000 - 2,000 SR 13 cm (5 in) The large, heart-shaped, dark green fruit is extremely popular in Mexico, often to make chile relleno. When dried, it is referred to as an ancho or mulato.
Puya or pulla 5,000 SR[7] Capsicum annuum L.,[8] hot, medium-size, green to red, and tapered[9]
Thai peppers.jpg Prik Kee Nu Thailand 50,000 - 100,000 SR 3 cm One of many cultivars called Thai pepper, it has very short fruit, and is very hot.[3] Thai: พริกขี้หนู, RTGS: phrik khi nu, IPA: [pʰrík kʰîː nǔː], literal: Mouse/rat dropping chili
Santa Fe Grande The Santa Fe Grande is a very prolific variety used in the Southwestern United States. The conical, blunt fruits ripen from greenish-yellow, to orange-yellow to red. The peppers grow upright on 24-in plants. Santa Fe Grande has a slightly sweet taste and is fairly mild in pungency.
Serranochilis.jpg Serrano Mexico 10,000 - 23,000 SR 5 cm (2 in) The thin, tapered fruit turns red when mature. Due to its thin skin, it does not need to be peeled before use.
Sport pepper United States 300 - 500 SR 4 cm (1.5 in) Superficially resembling both Tabasco and serrano peppers, the sport pepper is its own distinct cultivar[10][11] that is much milder than either of those. It is commonly pickled and used in Southern cooking and on Chicago-style hot dogs.
Super Chili[citation needed] 40,000 - 50,000 SR Long, thin, and red
Tien Tsin China 50,000-75,000 SR Grown and used in China
Siling mahaba Philippines A chili pepper grown in the Philippines, and a popular ingredient in Filipino Cuisine

Capsicum baccatum[edit]

Main article: Capsicum baccatum

These have a distinctive, fruity flavor, and are commonly ground into colorful powders for use in cooking, each identified by its color.

Name Heat Length Description
Ají peruano.jpg
Ají amarillo 30,000 - 50,000 SR 7.5 cm (3 in) An aromatic, orange-coloured fruit, it is most popular in Peru, often consumed raw in salsas and salads.
Pimiento campanilla.jpg Bishop's Crown A mild, oddly shaped fruit, it ripens to an orange or red. It is also known as monk's cap, among other names.
C baccatum lemon drop fruit.jpg
Lemon drop 30,000 - 50,000 SR
Peppadew.jpg Piquanté 1,000 - 2,000 SR 2 cm (1 in) Mild, sweet and tangy flavour, usable in many dishes
Brazilian starfish A hot, red baccatum fruit known for its unusual star shape
Wild baccatum A small, round, wild hot pepper, C. baccatum var. baccatum, that turns from green to red

Capsicum chinense[edit]

Main article: Capsicum chinense

Capsicum chinense or "Chinese capsicum" is a misnomer since all Capsicum species originated in the New World. Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin (1727-1817), a Dutch botanist, named the species in that way in 1776 because he believed they originated in China. Most of the peppers of this species have a distinctive flavor and are similar in flavor to each other.[citation needed]

Name Heat Length Description
Adjoema chili.jpg Adjuma 100,000-500,000 SR Very hot, originally cultivated in Suriname
Aji Dulce.jpg Ají dulce 0 - 50 SR
Datil.jpg Datil 100,000 to 300,000 SR A very hot chili; primarily grown in Florida
Carolina Reaper pepper pods.jpg Carolina Reaper 1,569,300 to 2,2 million[12] SR extremely hot pepper, currently the Guinness book of world records holder as of 2014[13]
Fatalii.jpg Fatalii 125,000-325,000 SR 6 cm (2.4 in) Native to central and southern Africa, it is very similar in appearance to and often confused with the devil's tongue habanero.
Madame Jeanette chili.jpg Madame Jeanette 100,000-350,000 SR Originally cultivated in Suriname
Habanero.jpg Habanero 100,000 - 350,000 SR 5 cm (2 in) Once considered to be the hottest chili pepper, the habanero has been surpassed by other hot varieties, but it is nonetheless hotter than most commonly available cultivars. The habanero has a subtle, fruity flavour and a floral aroma. It is closely related to many of the other very hot peppers, including the bhut jolokia from India, and the Scotch bonnet, Trinidad Scorpion Butch T, and Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers from the Caribbean. Disseminated to China over 500 years ago by Spanish and Portuguese explorers, it became so much a part of Chinese cuisine, botanists who found it in China thought it was native to the area and thus named this species Capsicum chinense, based on the habaneros from China.
Capsicum chinense - Hainan Yellow Lantern Chili - 02.jpg Hainan yellow lantern chili 300,000 SR 5 cm. (2.0 in) x 3.12 cm (approx.) Also known as the yellow emperor chili, it grows only in Hainan, China.
Naga.jolokia.75x.jpg Bhut Jolokia up to 1,500,000 SR 6 cm (2.4 in) This cultivar originated in Northeast India, and was once confirmed by Guinness World Records to be the hottest pepper. It is an interspecific hybrid, largely C. chinense with some C. frutescens genes. It is also known as naga jolokia and Ghost Pepper.
Scotch-bonnet.jpg Scotch bonnet 150,000 - 325,000 SR 5 cm (2 in) Named because of its resemblance to a Tam o' Shanter, this fruit is closely related to the habanero and is similarly hot. Due to its heat and distinct flavour, it is often used in Caribbean cuisine.
Pots of Trinidad Scorpion.jpg Trinidad Scorpion Butch T up to 1,400,000 Former world-record hottest chili.
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion.jpg Trinidad Moruga Scorpion up to 2,000,000 former World-record holder for hottest chili as of 2012
Mora chili A small chili about 5 in long and 2 in wide, and purple, it is always used dry. It is extremely spicy, and is used as a substitute for chipotle when more powerful spice is needed.
Morita chili Morita chili is smaller than the mora chili.

Capsicum pubescens[edit]

Main article: Capsicum pubescens

Capsicum pubescens is among the oldest of domesticated peppers, and was grown as long as 5000 years ago.[citation needed] It is probably related to undomesticated plants that still grow in South America (C. cardenasii, C. eximium, and others).

Name Heat Length Description
Rocoto.75x.jpg Rocoto 50,000 - 250,000 SR 6 cm (2.5 in) A round or square-shaped fruit with black seeds, it is popular in Latin America, particularly in Bolivia and Perú, in salsas, raw, and for stuffing. In Bolivia, it is commonly known as locoto and is used for the popular llajwa.

Capsicum frutescens[edit]

Main article: Capsicum frutescens

Sometimes considered to be the same species as C. annuum

Name Heat Length Description
African red devil peppers.jpg African birdseye 50,000-175,000 SR 2.5 cm (1.0 in) Also known as piri piri, it is common in Portuguese, Mozambican, and Angolan cuisines.
Tabasco peppers.JPG Tabasco 30,000-50,000 SR 4 cm (1.5 in) A cayenne type, it is long, thin and red. Originally from the Mexican state of Tabasco, it is now grown in the United States, especially in Louisiana, for 150 to 200 years. Large amounts of this fruit are now grown in Latin America (from seeds produced in Louisiana) by McIlhenny Company for the sauce of the same name. It is the basis for Louisiana hot sauce and Tabasco Brand sauce, a type of aged and concentrated pepper sauce.
Blanco chili
Bolivian rainbow 30,000-50,000 SR 2 cm (0.5 in) A chilipepper that changes in colour from purple to yellow, orange and then red when ripe.
Siling labuyo 80,000-100,000 SR 2.5 cm (1.0 in) A chili pepper native to the Philippines.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Plant List". 
  2. ^ "Capsicum chinense". Tropicos. 
  3. ^ a b Dave DeWitt and Paul W. Bosland (2009). The Complete Chile Pepper Book: A Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking. Timber Press. ISBN 978-0881929201. 
  4. ^ "". 
  5. ^ "Pepper - Glossary - Cooking libraries - Cooking and recipes - Food & drink". Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  6. ^ "Chilli - Glossary - Cooking libraries - Cooking and recipes - Food & drink". Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  7. ^ "The Scoville Heat Measurement Chart". Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  8. ^ "Selective Enzyme-Mediated Extraction of Capsaicinoids and Carotenoids from Chili Guajillo Puya (Capsicum annuum L.) Using Ethanol as Solvent". Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  9. ^ "Salsa Garden cubit: Salsa Garden Pepper Database: Puya, Capsicum annuum (Hot Pepper)". 2010-05-12. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  10. ^ "What Are Sport Peppers?". Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  11. ^ "SPORT". Tomato Growers Supply Company. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  12. ^ Hallock, Betty. "World's hottest pepper hits 2.2 million Scoville heat units". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  13. ^ "Hottest chili". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 

Further reading[edit]