List of Capsicum cultivars
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:
- 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
- Capsicum pubescens, which includes rocoto
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. annum 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" and the hot varieties "chillies", 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.
|Afghan short pepper||Afghanistan||SR5,000 - 30,000||5–8 cm (2–3 in)||Grown in Afghanistan.|
|Aleppo||Syria and Turkey||SR15,000||Grown in Syria and Turkey and used, in coarsely ground, dried form, as a spice that is also called Aleppo pepper|
|Alma paprika||Hungary||SR10,000||A Hungarian pepper often pickled or dried and ground to make spicy paprika|
|Anaheim||USA||SR500 - 2,500||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.|
|Banana||SR0 - 500||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.|
|Bell||SR0||15 cm (6 in)||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.|
|Bird's eye||Southeast Asia||50,000-150,000 SR||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.|
|Cascabel||Mexico||SR3,000||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.|
|Cayenne||French Guiana||SR30,000 - 50,000||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.|
|Cherry||SR3,500||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.|
|Chilaca||SR1,000 - 2,000||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||SR50,000 - 100,000||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 B.C.|
|Chinese five-color||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.|
|Cubanelle||SR1 - 1,000||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.|
|De árbol||Mexico||SR15,000 - 30,000||8 cm (3 in)||This slender-fruited cultivar is grown primarily in Mexico[ its name is Spanish for "from a tree".|
|Fresno||SR2,500-10,000||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.|
|Guajillo||Mexico||SR2,500 - 5,000||Most often used in dried form to make a red sauce used for tamales.|
|Guntur Sannam||SR35,000 - 40,000||It is well known as a commercial crop used as a condiment, culinary supplement, or vegetable.|
|Hungarian wax||SR2,500 - 8,000||This wide, medium-hot variety is used in Hungarian cuisine, frequently pickled. Also it is commonly dried, ground, and presented as "paprika".|
|Italian sweet pepper||Italy||Used in Spanish cuisine|
|Jalapeño||Mexico||SR2,500 - 8,000||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.|
|Medusa||It is a sweet, ornamental chili pepper which grows upright and has brightly coloured fruit.|
|New Mexico||USA||SR4,500 - 5,000||A cultivar of Anaheim peppers, it is grown in the US state of New Mexico. Typically, it has a much higher heat than those grown in California, or elsewhere.|
|Peter pepper||USA and Mexico||SR5,000 - 30,000||8–10 cm (3–4 in)||Rare, heirloom-type hot pepper|
|Pepperoncini||Italy||SR100 - 500||8 cm (3 in)||Sweet-tasting and mild, used extensively in Italian and Greek cuisine, very frequently pickled|
|Pequin pepper||USA and Mexico||SR100,000 - 140,000||Also spelled piquín|
|Poblano||Mexico||SR1,000 - 2,000||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||SR5,000||Capsicum annuum L., hot, medium-size, green to red, and tapered|
|Prik Kee Nu||Thailand||SR50,000 - 100,000||3 cm||One of many cultivars called Thai pepper, it has very short fruit, and is very hot. 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.|
|Serrano||Mexico||SR10,000 - 23,000||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||SR300 - 500||4 cm (1.5 in)||Superficially resembling both Tabasco and Serrano peppers, the Sport pepper is its own distinct cultivar that is much milder than either of those. It is commonly pickled and used in Southern cooking and on a Chicago-style hot dog.|
|Super Chili||SR40,000 - 50,000||Long, thin, and red|
|Tien Tsin||China||SR50,000-75,000||Grown and used in China|
These have a distinctive, fruity flavor, and are commonly ground into colorful powders for use in cooking, each identified by its color.
|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.|
|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.|
|Lemon drop||30,000 - 50,000 SR|
|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 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.
|Adjuma||100,000-500,000 SR||Very hot, originally cultivated in Suriname|
|Ají dulce||0 - 50 SR|
|Datil||100,000 to 300,000 SR||A very hot chili; primarily grown in Florida|
|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||100,000-350,000 SR||Originally cultivated in Suriname|
|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.|
|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.|
|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||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.|
|Trinidad Scorpion Butch T||up to 1,400,000||Former world-record hottest chili.|
|Trinidad Moruga Scorpion||up to 2,000,000||World-record 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 is among the oldest of domesticated peppers, and was grown as long as 5000 years ago. It is probably related to undomesticated plants that still grow in South America (C. cardenasii, C. eximium, and others).
|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.|
Sometimes considered to be the same species as C. annuum
|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||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.|
|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.|
- "The Plant List".
- "Capsicum chinense". Tropicos.
- 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.
- "Pepper - Glossary - Cooking libraries - Cooking and recipes - Food & drink". Waitrose.com. Retrieved 2010-04-11.
- "Chilli - Glossary - Cooking libraries - Cooking and recipes - Food & drink". Waitrose.com. Retrieved 2010-04-11.
- "The Scoville Heat Measurement Chart". Wiw.org. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
- "Selective Enzyme-Mediated Extraction of Capsaicinoids and Carotenoids from Chili Guajillo Puya (Capsicum annuum L.) Using Ethanol as Solvent". Oocities.org. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
- "Salsa Garden cubit: Salsa Garden Pepper Database: Puya, Capsicum annuum (Hot Pepper)". Cubits.org. 2010-05-12. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
- "What Are Sport Peppers?". Fireyfoods.com. Retrieved 2013-08-12.
- "SPORT". Tomato Growers Supply Company. Retrieved 2013-08-12.
- G6CSY chile database: Used as source for information on various cultivars in this article.
- chillisgalore database: More can be found here.
- NMSU Chile Pepper Institute list of chile cultivars