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Uses

Toxic parts

Pungent-fruited peppers may cause painful irritation when used in excess, or after accidental contact with the eyes[1]. Although no reports have been seen for this species, many plants in this family produce toxins in their leaves. The sap of the plant can cause the skin to blister[2].

Edible uses

Notes

Fruit - raw or cooked[3][4][5][6]. Some varieties are very hot (the chilli and cayenne peppers) and are normally used as a pungent flavouring whilst milder varieties (the sweet peppers) have a very pleasant flavour with a slight sweetness and are often eaten raw in salads etc[7][1]. The dried fruits of chilli and cayenne peppers is ground into a powder and used as a pungent flavouring called paprika[1]. The powder from the dried ground fruit of some cultivars is added to food as a colouring[8]. The fruits range widely in size and shape, from a few centimetres long to more than 30cm[2].

Young leaves are said to be edible[5] but some caution is advised. They are steamed as a potherb or added to soups and stews[8]. The leaves contain about 4 - 6% protein[8]. Seed - dried, ground into a powder and used as a pepper[3].

Flowers - raw or cooked[9].

Unknown part

Flowers

Fruit

Leaves

Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Capsicum annuum.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The fruit of the hot, pungent cultivars is antihaemorrhoidal when taken in small amounts, antirheumatic, antiseptic, diaphoretic, digestive, irritant, rubefacient, sialagogue and tonic[10][1]. It is taken internally in the treatment of the cold stage of fevers, debility in convalescence or old age, varicose veins, asthma and digestive problems[1]. Externally it is used in the treatment of sprains, unbroken chilblains, neuralgia, pleurisy etc[1]. It is an effective sea-sickness preventative[10].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow late winter to early spring in a warm greenhouse[11]. The seed usually germinates in 3 - 4 weeks at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of reasonably rich soil and grow them on fast. If trying them outdoors, then plant them out after the last expected frosts and give them the protection of a cloche or frame at least until they are established and growing away well.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Capsicum annuum. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Requires a very warm sunny position and a fertile well-drained soil. Prefers a light sandy soil that is slightly acid[9]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 8.3.

Plants can tolerate a small amount of frost[12], but this species does not normally do well outdoors in an average British summer and so it is usually grown in a greenhouse in this country[13]. However, if a very warm sheltered position outdoors is chosen then reasonable crops could be obtained in good summers. This species is widely grown throughout the world, but especially in warm temperate to tropical climates, for its edible fruit - the sweet and chilli peppers. There are many named varieties[8]. There are five basic forms of fruits, each form having various varieties. These forms are:-

         Cerasiforme. These have small cherry-shaped pungent fruits.
         Conioides. These fruits are cone-shaped and up to 5cm long. Many of them are grown as ornamentals, but some are also cultivated for food..
         Fasciculatum. Also cone-shaped, but with pungent red fruits up to 7.5cm long.
         Grossum. These are the sweet peppers with large bell-shaped fruits and thick flesh.
         Longum. These are the cultivated hot cayenne and chilli peppers with long thin fruits up to 30cm long.

The pungency of peppers depends upon the presence of a single gene, cultivars that lack this gene are the sweet peppers[1]. A short-lived evergreen perennial in the tropics[2], though the plants are grown as annuals in temperate zones[14].

Sweet pepper plants are good companions for basil and okra[15][9]. They should not be grown near apricot trees, however, because a fungus that the pepper is prone to can cause a lot of harm to the apricot tree[9].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Capsicum annuum. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Capsicum annuum.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Capsicum annuum
Genus
Capsicum
Family
Solanaceae
Imported References
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
9
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    1 x 1 meters
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    ?
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.21.31.41.51.61.71.8 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.12.22.32.4 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.13.2 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Organ. J. Rare Vegetables for Garden and Table. Faber (1960-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.2 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.1 Bianchini. F., Corbetta. F. and Pistoia. M. Fruits of the Earth. ()
    7. ? 7.07.1 Brouk. B. Plants Consumed by Man. Academic Press ISBN 0-12-136450-x (1975-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.18.28.38.4 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.29.39.4 Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting. Cassell Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-304-34324-2 (1993-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.110.2 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
    11. ? Bird. R. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 3. Thompson and Morgan. (1989-00-00)
    12. ? Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
    13. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    14. ? Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-86318-386-7 (1990-00-00)
    15. ? Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)

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