Capsicum annuum: Green Chillies

Family: Solanaceae
Common name: Green chillies, Red chillies, Capsicum, Bell peppers, Jalapeños

Capsicum annuum contains all those chillies and capsicums you’ve seen around, the long ones, chubby ones, white ones, round ones, green ones, red ones, yellow ones and what not! Their common characteristic as we all know, is the HEAT that comes from Capsaicin, the chemical that gives it a burning sensation.

Some of them like Capsicum have almost no heat, but some chilies like ‘ghost pepper’ can burn your tongue causing a certain degree of numbness. Heat of green chilies is measured using Scoville scale where 0-700 is non-pungent, 3000-25000 is moderately pungent and above 80,000 is very highly pungent.

The plants usually grow to a height of 1-2 feet with dense branches which bear white or purplish flower, then small globular fruits that grow into chilies. The fruits range in color, shape and heat depending on the variety. They are seasonal plants yielding chillies for 4-5 growing seasons before the plant withers. The flowers are capable of self-pollination, though the sweet nectar can also attract bees and butterflies.

Chillies are used in almost all cuisines in varying degrees, even in the form of cayenne and paprika powders. Chillies also have medicinal properties and is used in treatment of stomach ailments.

Propagation is from seeds.

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