Capsicum annuum

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Capsicum annuum
Capsicum annuum - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-027.jpg
Capsicum annuum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Capsicum
Species: C. annuum
Binomial name
Capsicum annuum
L.
Varieties
Synonyms[2]
  • Capsicum abyssinicum A.Rich.
  • Capsicum angulosum Mill.
  • Capsicum axi Vell.
  • Capsicum bauhinii Dunal
  • Capsicum caerulescens Besser
  • Capsicum cerasiforme Mill.
  • Capsicum ceratocarpum Fingerh.
  • Capsicum cereolum Bertol.
  • Capsicum comarim Vell.
  • Capsicum conicum Lam.
  • Capsicum conoide Mill.
  • Capsicum conoides Roem. & Schult.
  • Capsicum conoideum Mill.
  • Capsicum cordiforme Mill.
  • Capsicum crispum Dunal
  • Capsicum cydoniforme Roem. & Schult.
  • Capsicum dulce Dunal
  • Capsicum fasciculatum Sturtev.
  • Capsicum fastigiatum Blume
  • Capsicum frutescens L.
  • Capsicum globiferum G.Mey.
  • Capsicum globosum Besser
  • Capsicum grossum L.
  • Capsicum indicum auct.
  • Capsicum longum DC.
  • Capsicum milleri Roem. & Schult.
  • Capsicum minimum Mill.
  • Capsicum odoratum Steud.
  • Capsicum odoriferum Vell.
  • Capsicum oliviforme Mill.
  • Capsicum ovatum DC.
  • Capsicum petenense Standl.
  • Capsicum pomiferum Mart. ex Steud.
  • Capsicum purpureum Vahl ex Hornem.
  • Capsicum pyramidale Mill.
  • Capsicum quitense Willd. ex Roem. & Schult.
  • Capsicum silvestre Vell.
  • Capsicum sphaerium Willd.
  • Capsicum tetragonum Mill.
  • Capsicum tomatiforme Fingerh. ex Steud.
  • Capsicum torulosum Hornem.
  • Capsicum tournefortii Besser
  • Capsicum ustulatum Paxton

Capsicum annuum is a species of the plant genus Capsicum native to southern North America and northern South America.[1][3] This species is the most common and extensively cultivated of the five domesticated capsicums. The species encompasses a wide variety of shapes and sizes of peppers, both mild and hot, ranging from bell peppers to chili peppers. Cultivars are descended from the wild American bird pepper still found in warmer regions of the Americas.[4] In the past some woody forms of this species have been called C. frutescens, but the features that were used to distinguish those forms appear in many populations of C. annuum and there is no consistently recognizable C. frutescens species.[5]

Characteristics[edit]

Capsicum annuum

Although the species name annuum means “annual” (from the Latin annus “year”), the plant is not an annual and in the absence of winter frosts can survive several seasons and grow into a large perennial shrub.[6] The single flowers are an off-white (sometimes purplish) color while the stem is densely branched and up to 60 centimetres (24 in) tall. The fruit is a berry and may be green, yellow or red when ripe.[7] While the species can tolerate most climates, C. annuum is especially productive in warm and dry climates.

Uses[edit]

Culinary[edit]

The species is a source of popular sweet peppers and hot chilis with numerous varieties cultivated all around the world.

In British English, the sweet varieties are called red or green peppers[8] and the hot varieties chillies,[9] whereas in Australian and Indian English the name capsicum is commonly used for bell peppers exclusively and chilli is often used to encompass the hotter varieties. Americans call the sweet types "peppers" and the hot ones "chili peppers" or "chilies" (sometimes spelled "chiles").

Sweet peppers are very often used as a bulking agent in ready-made meals and take-away food, because they are cheap, have a strong flavor, and are colorful. Foods containing peppers, especially chili peppers, often have a strong aftertaste due to the presence of capsinoids in peppers. Capsaicin, a chemical found in chili peppers, creates a burning sensation once ingested, which can last for several hours after ingestion.

Medicinal[edit]

Capsicum annuum cultivars

Hot peppers are used in medicine as well as food in Africa[10] and other places around the world.

English botanist John Lindley described C. annuum on page 509 of his 1838 'Flora Medica' thus:

It is employed in medicine, in combination with Cinchona in intermittent and lethargic affections, and also in atonic gout, dyspepsia accompanied by flatulence, tympanitis, paralysis etc. Its most valuable application appears however to be in cynanche maligna (acute diphtheria) and scarlatina maligna (malignent Scarlet fever, used either as a gargle or administered internally.)

In ayurvedic medicine, C. annuum is classified as follows:[11]

  • Gunna (properties) – ruksh (dry), laghu (light) and tikshan (sharp)
  • Rasa dhatu (taste) – katu (pungent)
  • Virya (potency) – ushan (hot)

Ornamental[edit]

Some cultivars grown specifically for their aesthetic value include the U.S. National Arboretum's Black Pearl[12] and the Bolivian Rainbow. Ornamental varieties tend to have unusually colored fruit and foliage with colors such as black and purple being notable. All are edible, and most (like Royal Black) are hot.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Capsicum annuum L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 1997-01-22. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  2. ^ "The Plant List". 
  3. ^ Latham, Elizabeth (2009-02-03). "The colourful world of chillies". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  4. ^ Francis, John K. (2003-09-09). "Capsicum annuum L. bird pepper - USDA Forest Service". Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  5. ^ Zhi-Yun Zhang, Anmin Lu & William G. D'Arcy. "Capsicum annuum Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 188. 1753". Flora of China 17. pp. 313–313. 
  6. ^ Katzer, Gernot (May 27, 2008). "Paprika (Capsicum annuum L.)". Retrieved December 1, 2012. 
  7. ^ Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (1 July 2006). Safety assessment of transgenic organisms: OECD consensus documents. OECD Publishing. pp. 299–. ISBN 978-92-64-02258-4. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  8. ^ Pepper
  9. ^ Chilli
  10. ^ Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (2004) Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 2. Vegetables. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen; Backhuys, Leiden; CTA, Wageningen.
  11. ^ "Capsicum Annuum". Retrieved February 21, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Capsicum annuum "Black Pearl"". U.S. National Arboretum. March 2006. Retrieved February 21, 2011. 

External links[edit]