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 Capsicum subsp. var.  Pepper, Green pepper, Bell, Chili, Cayane, Habanero, etc, etc.
Assorted bell pepper fruits from Mexico
Habit: shrub
Height: to
Width: to
Height: 8 in to 4 ft
Width: warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. to warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.
Lifespan: perennial
Origin: Americas
Exposure: sun
Water: moderate
Features: edible, fruit
Hidden fields, interally pass variables to right place
Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: 1 to 11
Sunset Zones: all zones
Flower features:
Solanacea > Capsicum var. ,

This page is for the Capsicum genus, including Green or Bell peppers and various Chili peppers, for others see list of peppers

Plants in this genus are known as Peppers (or Bell Peppers) in the US, Canada and United Kingdomwp, but as Capsicum elsewhere. There are a very wide variety of sweet or hot peppers in the Capsicum genus, closely related, which have similar growing needs. These include the sweet or Bell peppers (also known as Green peppers, though they come in a variety of colors), and hot chili peppers of many types, including tabasco, jalapeno, cayenne, habanero and many others.

Pepper plants are attractive small bushes, ranging from under a foot, to 4 feet tallsn depending on the variety. The leaves are a deep, shiny green, which the ripening peppers can add color to. The cultivation of the plants is the same, regardless of variety, size, color, sweetness or spiciness. Can be planted as an informal border, in pots, or in the vegetable garden.

Sweet peppers never get hot, even if the flesh ripens to a red.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture
Pepper bloom

Capsicum (name of uncertain origin, perhaps from kapto, to bite, on account of the pungency of the seed or pericarp; or from capsa, a chest, having reference to the form of fruit). Solanaceae. Red Pepper. Cayenne Pepper. Herbs or shrubs, originally from tropical America, but escaped from cultivation in Old World tropics, where it was once supposed to be indigenous.

Stem branchy, 1-6 ft. high, glabrous or nearly so: lvs. ovate or subelliptical, entire, acuminate: fls. white or greenish white, rarely violaceous, solitary or sometimes in 2's or 3's; corolla rotate, usually 5-lobed; stamens 5, rarely 6 or 7, with bluish anthers dehiscing longitudinally; ovary originally 2-3-loculed: fr. a juiceless berry or pod, extremely variable in form and size, many-seeded, and with more or less pungency about the seeds and pericarp. The fr. becomes many loculed and monstrous in cult.—About 90 species have been named, most of which are now considered forms of one or two species. Monogr. by Irish, 9th Ann. Rept. Mo. Bot. Gard.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Pepper. With American horticulturists "pepper" usually means the red pepper (Capsicum, which see) of which the green pepper is merely the unripe stage. The black and white pepper of commerce are treated under Piper.

The red pepper (Capsicum) is doubtless native of the New World, as there is no record of its having been known prior to the discovery of America. According to Irving's "Life of Columbus," this plant was first mentioned by Martyr in 1493, who says Columbus brought home "pepper more pungent than that from Caucasus," evidently comparing it with the black pepper of commerce from the oriental countries. It was cultivated by the natives in tropical and southern America before this time, and about a century later Gerarde speaks of its being brought into European gardens from Africa and southern Asia. The ease with which the plant spreads in warm latitudes, together with the increased commercial trade immediately following the discovery of America, doubtless caused a rapid dissemination through tropical Asia and Africa, where it was supposed by many to be indigenous and from there introduced into European gardens.

The first record of the use of pepper is apparently by Chauca, physician to the fleet of Columbus, who in 1494 alludes to it as a condiment. Writers about a century later considered it valuable as an aid to digestion and also mentioned its use in dressing meats, dyeing, and other purposes. Medicinally it was much used for various ailments, such as dropsy, colic, ague, and toothache, and when mixed with honey and applied externally was used as a remedy for quinsy. At a later date preparations were given for black vomit and various tropical feyers, and for a tonic, also for gout, paralysis and other diseases. Its modern use is largely as a condiment, forming a seasoning in almost every dish esten by the inhabitants of warm countries. The smaller varieties are mostly used for this purpose.

The cayenne pepper of commerce consists of the small pungent fruits reduced to a powder. The unground fruit is also made into pepper sauce of various brands by preserving in brine or strong vinegar. The Tabasco variety furnishes the well-known Tabasco pepper sauce and Tabasco catsup. "Chilli con carnie consists of the small pungent varieties finely ground and mixed with meat. These hot varieties are often eaten raw by native Mexicans, as are radishes, and also form an important ingredient of tomales so common in that country and fairly well known in the southern United States. The large thick-fleshed sweet varieties are desired more by persons farther north who use them in various ways,served like tomatoes in either ripe or green state, with vinegar and salt, or made into mangoes by cutting one side, removing seeds and filling with chow-chow pickles. The parts are then tied together,placed in jars with vinegar and kept until wanted. The fruit is often used in stuffing pitted olives after being cooked in olive oil. In Spain some are canned after being thus cooked and eaten with French salad dressing.

Paprika is a well-known Hungarian and Spanish condiment made from the long, and more or less pointed type of peppers. The Spanish paprika is much milder in flavor than the Hungarian, it being made from a less pungent pepper and doubtless in its preparation more of the seeds and placentae are removed, which process makes a milder condiment. The seed of peppers is more or less used as a bird food; and the plants of some varieties, like Little Gem and Celestial, are grown more especially for ornamental purposes.

Some thirty varieties are recorded by American seedsmen. They differ from one another mainly in the form and pungency of fruit and habit of growth. There are endless forms among peppers, but certain types are well fixed, as indicated by the botanical varieties under Capsicum. Pungency is to be found in all peppers and while located in the placentae, other parts may acquire it by contact. Most of the smaller sorts, like Coral Gem, Tabasco, Chilli, Cayenne, and Cherry contain more of the pungent properties than the large kinds, like Ruby King, Squash, Bell, Sweet Mountain, and Golden Queen. Some medium-sized varieties, like Long Red, Celestial, and Oxheart, are hot; others, like County Fair and Kaleidoscope, are mild.

Peppers are classed as one of the minor vegetables in that they have not been grown in large quantities in any one locality and the aggregate production is smaller than the so-called truck crops, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and the like. Most gardens near large cities in the central and southern states have been growing a few to supply the local markets.

In growing peppers, the seed is usually planted under glass in February or March, and the young plants transplanted to pots or boxes when of sufficient size to handle. From twelve to twenty days are required for the seed to germinate, the time varying according to the age of the seed and the manner in which it has been kept. Its germinating power is said to last four years, and if kept in pods until sown will grow when six or seven years old. A light warm soil, heavily charged with humus and one that will not quickly dry out. appears to be the best. In May or June, or after all danger of frost is past, the plants are set in the field in rows about 2 1/2 feet apart and 18 inches apart in the rows. The ground is kept thoroughly cultivated, not only to keep down weeds but to maintain an even but not excessive moisture at all times, which is very essential for best results in growing this plant. By keeping the soil well worked up around the plants, they stand up much better against the winds and weight of their own fruit. Pruning or pinching the tip ends after the fruit begins to mature is occasionally recommended, but is rarely practised except when specimens of especially fine fruit are desired, in which case the fruit is thinned, leaving only a few on each plant of the larger sorts. In gathering, the fruit should not be torn off but cut with a knife or scissors, leaving at least 1 inch of stem. The usual vegetable crate is used for packing and marketing the crop.

Insects rarely injure peppers growing in the field. The pepper weevil (Anthonomus eugenii) has done some damage to crops in the South. It is said to be easily kept in control by gathering and destroying infested pods. Tomato-worm, bollworm, white-fly and Colorado potato-beetle sometimes attack the plant, but seldom do noticeable injury. Red-epider and green-fly (aphis) frequently attack plants growing under glass. The red- spider may be kept in check by repeatedly syringing with water, and the green-fly may be killed by fumigating with tobacco dust. Two fungous diseases frequently occur on the large varieties growing outdoors. One is a pink anthracnose (Glaeosporium piperatum), which causes the fruit to rot about the time it begins to ripen; the other is a dark anthracnose (Colletotrichum nigrum). In preparing peppers for table use, handle them with gloves to prevent burning the fingers. Neither soap nor water will soothe hands burned by peppers, but milk will.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


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Pests and diseases

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Sweet peppers

Sweet peppers include the big salad or stuffing peppers known as green or bell peppers. The best known varieties are 'California Wonder' and 'Yolo Wonder'sn. Hybrids may offer earlier harvests, better disease resistance and bigger yields. Colors other than green are available, including red, yellow and orange. Purple can also be found, but if cooked the purple will turn greensn. The very sweet pimientos, which have thick walls, also fall into the sweet pepper category. Pimientos are usually used in salads, cooking and canning. Sweet cherry peppers are grown to be pickled. Italian frying peppers and Hungarian sweet yellow peppers are grown for cooking.

Hot peppers

Jalapeno, Chili, Cayenne, Habanero, etc.


Capsicum Cultivars


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