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General description and special characteristics – Capsicum frutescens is a perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.6 m(2ft). The flowers are hermaphroditic (have both male and female organs). It’s believed to have been cultivated in Bolivia and Meso-America as early as the 16th century. This many-branched, shrubby perennial herb produces more fruit and requires less water and fertilizer than the sweet varieties. C. frutescens bears fruit that point upward and include varieties such as the Tabasco pepper, the Thai Bird Pepper “Prik Khi-nu,” and the Barbados “Wirri-wirri” peppers. Capsicum frutescens, which is much more pungent than Capsicum annuum, is used in tabasco sauce, and other red chili pepper sauces/pastes. Sweet bell peppers, paprika, jalapenos, pimento, and other red pepper products come from Capsicum annuum.

Varieties –

  • Karen: Hot red peppers, 2-4 cm (0.8-1.6 in) in length
  • Hawaiian: Milder peppers, 4-6 cm (1.6-2.4 in) in length
  • Tiny hot: Very hot, very small peppers, 2-3 cm (0.8-1.2 in) in length