List of Capsicum cultivars
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:
- Capsicum annuum, which includes bell peppers, cayenne, paprika 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. 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" 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.|
|Ancient Sweet||SR0||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||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)||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.|
|Bird's eye (Thai)||Southeast Asia||SR50,000 – 150,000||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 (red)||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 BC.|
|Chinese five-color||SR5,000 - 30,000||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||SR0-500||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||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".|
|Elephant Trunk||SR5,000 - 10,000||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|
|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.|
|Mulato||Mexico||SR2,500 - 3,000||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.
|New Mexico||USA||SR4,500 - 5,000||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.|
|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 Chicago-style hot dogs.|
|Super Chili||SR40,000 - 50,000||Long, thin, and red|
|Tien Tsin||China||SR50,000-75,000||Grown and used in China|
|Siling mahaba||Philippines||A chili pepper grown in the Philippines, and a popular ingredient in Filipino Cuisine|
These have a distinctive, fruity flavor, and are commonly ground into colorful powders for use in cooking, each identified by its color.
|Aji Amarillo||30,000 - 50,000 SR||8 cm (3 in)||The name Aji Amarillo in Spanish means yellow chile/pepper. This is the most widely used pepper in Peru. It is an old ancient pepper locally called Aji Escabeche when fresh and Cusqueno when dry. The pepper tastes so good is has been dominating the Peruvian, Bolivian, and Colombian cuisine. In Peru, locals use this pepper as the main ingredient in their Aji de Gallina ("Hen Chili") and Huancaina sauce. In Bolivia, the Aji Amarillo is the main ingredient in Fricase Paceno. The pepper has a natural sweet mango like flavor, being medium to low hot. PI 152217|
|Aji Brazilian Starfish||3,000 - 10,000 SR||6 cm (2 in)||Very unusual, look, taste, aroma and growing habit. It is very sweet, with medium low heat, smells like ripe wild berries. The plant grows tall easily reaching 6 feet tall and setting beautiful pods all summer long. Great pepper for those who like the taste fruitiness in their meals. PI 439368|
|Aji Omnicolor||10,000 - 30,000 SR||6 cm (2 in)||Prolific and strongly branched Capsicum baccatum variety from Peru. High yields of medium hot pods, that are nearly white ripening over yellow to dark red. PI 215739|
|Aji Pineapple||30,000 - 50,000 SR||6 cm (2 in)||Very productive variety, that may carry a large number of very hot pods that show a somewhat pineapple like taste. Very large plants, good for biannual growth.|
|Bishop's Crown||10,000 - 30,000 SR||6 cm (2 in)||Capsicum baccatum strain from Barbados. Medium hot pods have a unique shape remembering the hat of a Bishop. Sturdy plants, can be grown as perennials. Also known as bishops hat, orchid, aji flor, monks hat.|
|Lemon drop||30,000 - 50,000 SR||4 cm (1.5 in)||Very productive Capsicum baccatum variety. Pods are thin walled and have a fruity taste with medium heat.|
|Piquanté||1,000 - 2,000 SR||2 cm (1 in)||Mild, sweet and tangy flavour, usable in many dishes|
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|
|Carolina Reaper||1,569,300 to 2,2 million SR||extremely hot pepper, currently the Guinness book of world records holder as of 2014|
|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||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 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).
|Canario||SR||6.5 cm (2.5 in)||Canario is a mild Capsicum pubescens variety. Thick walled pods are dark yellow, when fully ripe and have the size of a small apple. This South American strain trives well under cool growing conditions and can be grown as a perennial.|
|Giant Rocoto||SR||8 cm (3 in)||Giant Plants produce Rocotos larger than the standard size that are thick walled and have medium heat. Well suited for stuffing.|
|Large Red Rocoto||100,000-350,000 SR||5 cm (2 in)||Big plant in every kind of view. Extremely vigorous plants with high yield of apple-shaped and thick-walled pods. Very hot and juicy|
|Rocoto Costa Rican||100,000-350,000 SR||5 cm (2 in)||Very productive Capsicum pubescens variety with black seeds from Costa Rica. Medium large, very hot and juicy pods.|
|Rocoto Turbo Pube||100,000-350,000 SR||6.5 cm (2.5 in)||Capsicum pubescens variety from Azuay, Ecuador. Medium large, very hot and thick-walled pods with black seeds, very high yields. PI 585267|
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.|
|Bradley’s Bahamian||30,000-50,000 SR||4 cm (1.5 in)||Named in honor of Bill Bradley, the man who discovered it This plant was found growing outside a small cave on the Island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas (hence is other name 'Eleuthera Pepper') grows as a bush about 2 feet tall by 3.5 feet wide. The pods range from 1 to 2 inches long and about 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch in diameter and mature to orange or, in a longer season, to red. Extremely productive variety|
|Madre de Rios||30,000-50,000 SR||2 cm (1 in)||Hot Capsicum frutescens wild variety from the Amazonian Rainforest. Small berries have the size of a wild cherry and are hot and very tasty.|
|Tabasco||30,000-50,000 SR||4 cm (1.5 in)||The most famous pepper in C.frutescens from Costa Rica the primary ingredient in Tabasco sauce, the famous hot sauce that has been produced in southern Louisiana since 1848 when the peppers were first imported from the State of Tabasco in Mexico, for many this pepper is very hot, for others it is just right to make the most liked homemade Tabasco sauce PI 586675|
|Siling labuyo||80,000-100,000 SR||2.5 cm (1.0 in)||A chili pepper native to the Philippines.|
- "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.
- Hallock, Betty. "World's hottest pepper hits 2.2 million Scoville heat units". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
- "Hottest chili". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
- 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