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Viestit - MelT

Show us your garden! / Vs: "Mariwiri" from Guyana
helmikuu 11, 2011, 04:37:22 ap

I thought I'd add an image of the flower of "mariwiri".
It is unusual for C. chinense in that the stamens and anthers are pale instead of darkly pigmented:

The "Bod'e" illustrated
are perhaps related because of their similar flowers, but the erect flowers and fruits of "Mariwiri"
are more primitive.
Show us your garden! / A "Wiri-Wiri" Query
helmikuu 11, 2011, 04:06:42 ap
or, No Rest for the Wiri-Wiri

Any better ideas as to what this plant is?

One of the plants used as a parent of the "chinense tepin" hybrid described in
http://chilifoorumi.fi/index.php?topic=9109.0  is a variety I got as "wiri wiri". 
"Wiri wiri" is a fairly well-known name for some South American and Caribbean chilis with small round fruits.  It only recently
occurred to me that my "wiri wiri" plants may not "true wiri wiri", if indeed there is such a thing.  It appears "wiri wiri" is at
least sometimes used for more than a single variety of chili [perhaps belonging to more than one species]. 

My plants:

They came from
The dealer says they were C. chinense and "from Caribbean".

Also relevant is this link:
The plant in the image is pretty clearly the same variety, but is called "C. frutescens" and "a variety from Guyana". 
However, the further images linked there:
show another fruit that appears to be something else entirely [likely the same C. chinense form as in other links below].

shows the same thumbnail, says it's "from Jamaica".

I'd read that "Mari Wiri" or "Meri wiri" are just alternative names for "wiri wiri" in Guyana, but the "Mariwiri" variety obtained
in a market in Guyana is plainly something completely different:

Many of the "Wiri Wiri" images I found on the Web seem to illustrate a single C. chinense variety with
pendulous cherry-shaped fruits. They are different from both the plants discussed here and the
"Mariwiri" variety described earlier.

Show a "wiri wiri" that is more/less plainly different from mine  [both "wiri wiri" and "mariwiri"] but is also from Guyana.

http://cookeatshare.com/ingredients/wiri-wiri also shows a similar fruit.
shows many of a similar form.

It may be that these pendulous-cherry-fruited C. chinense plants are the one true "Wiri Wiri".
On the other hand, perhaps the name is sometimes used loosely for any small round chili. Possibly, usage of the name
varies locally, and what is called "wiri wiri" in the Caribbean [Jamaica?] is different from the "wiri wiri" in Guyana. 

I see it being discussed as C. frutescens and C. chinense [the confusion perhaps partly due to the mix of
varieties, but the species distinction isn't so clear among primitive C. chinense and C. frutescens]

Whatever my "wiri wiri" plant is and wherever it came from, it seems a distinctive primitive chili, perhaps not far
morphologically/genetically from the common origin of C. chinense and C. frutescens. The form of the fruiting calyx
and receptacle seems closer to C. frutescens such as "Duke Pequin", than to C. chinense, and the flowers
are very similar as well.

If it is C. frutescens, it evidently completely lacks the elongated-fruit trait that is so characteristic of most other
C. frutescens.  Perhaps it may represent an early tepin type of C. frutescens?

From chili images on the web, PI 241676 from Ecuador seems to show a similar form of fruit and calyx.

Besides crossing this "Wiri Wiri" with "Duke Pequin" and with "Wild Brazil", I grew a few hybrids between it and "Bhut Jolokia". [No
special purpose in mind, just thought they might be interesting, although the literature indicates that "Bhut Jolokia" has
identifiable C. frutescens ancestry]

"Wiri Wiri"X"Bhut Jolokia" Unripe fruits. Plant was stressed by heat, frequent drought, and lack of fertilizer, but was still fairly productive.

Healthier plant with some ripe fruits


Comparison of hybrid with one of its parents:

The hybrid fruits seemed perfectly usable hot chilis. Together with the "Duke Pequin" x C. chinense hybrids, they were among
those chilis that could easily be spread on bread.
Or should that be a C. frutescens tepin?

The C. annuum/C. frutescens/C. chinense complex is a long standing scientific puzzle, especially the question of the wild
precursors of C. frutescens and C. chinense.  From what I've read, it seems unclear whether truly wild [that is, never
cultivated] forms of C. frutescens and C. chinense are known to exist.  It is also unclear whether these two groups are
"really" separate species that would have had different wild ancestors, or whether they would have come from a common wild source.   

Researchers have repeatedly suggested that C. chinense and C. frutescens  should be combined, that together they are
a single complex of related cultivated and semi-wild forms. Some say they should be included with C. annuum as a single species.
If the two are combined as one species [but kept separate from C. annuum] the name "Capsicum frutescens L." has  priority. 

[It makes sense to me that truly wild C. chinense/frutescens populations might now be rare or even extinct, at least in their
original form.  Any wild populations growing near related cultivated chilis could have a  problem from producing weedy hybrids with the
crop forms; they would likely be competing with and interbreeding with the continually escaping hybrids, and might soon be genetically
swamped by their  mixed descendants.]   

An obviously related question concerns just what we would expect to see in truly wild C. chinense or C. frutescens [or in
a single wild ancestor of both domesticated groups].  Based on the existing primitive varieties of C. chinense and C. frutescens
and comparisons with the wild tepins belonging to C. annuum v. glabriusculum,  they would be:
-- shrubby plants  with small, red, round, pungent, deciduous, tepin-type fruits on erect stalks, [traits shared with wild C. annuum tepins]
-- with shinier leaves, greenish flowers in pairs or small clusters [distinctive shared traits of C. frutescens and C. chinense.]

The "Aurochs" approach
Whether or not the ancestral wild forms still exist in nature, it may be possible to make hybrids among different relatively primitive
cultivated chili varieties to produce something very close in form to their wild ancestors.  ["Primitive" simply means an organism retains
features present in an ancestor that have been lost or changed in other descendants of that ancestor.  There are a number of known
C. chinense and C. frutescens varieties or accessions that are comparatively little changed from wild tepins.] 

This idea is a bit reminiscent of the early 20th century breeders who attempted to re-create the aurochs, the extinct wild ancestor of
domesticated cattle, by crossing different primitive cattle strains.   The scientific value of the results are disputed [and the whole
project was tainted with  a Nazi political connection], but they did get an aurochs-like breed of "Heck Cattle".  There reportedly are
current plans to use modern genetic methods to develop strains of cattle that are a closer genetic match to the extinct form.

Wild-type, primitive traits commonly behave as genetic dominants.  For example, hybrids between yellow fruited chili varieties and ones
with red fruits have uniformly red fruits in the F1 generation.  Hybrids between different "primitive" chili varieties might be expected to
immediately express a new combination of the primitive traits from both parents, and appear closer than either parent to a "wild chili".

One cross I made  in 2009/2010 seems to have accomplished just that fairly dramatically,  in a single step.   

I'd like to stress that this wasn't really any big project involving lots of time, space, and effort. Or much real knowledge, careful
planning, or adequate research beforehand, for that matter. They're just a small number of hybrids that were made among a few 
varieties in my little chile garden.  I'm aware that there are various other tepin-like "wild C. chinense" varieties and accessions
already being grown, some of which may already be about as primitive as this new hybrid. 

The parents of this hybrid were both obtained from the same commercial source:

1] C. chinense "Wild Brazil"

Apparently the same or similar varieties are also called "Cumari do Para", or "Brazilian Cumari" and other names.  The plants
appear to be dwarfed overall, low growing with small leaves, and have unusually tiny flowers even for a wild chili.  It has tepin-like
yellow fruit with a strong C. chinense aroma.  Flowers and fruits are erect, more primitive in this than most other C. chinense with
their pendent flowers and fruit.

2] A plant I bought as "Wiri Wiri" that is much more problematic.

Although it was sold as C. chinense, I think this variety may better be considered C. frutescens.  It is clearly different
from the C. chinense varieties also being grown as "Wiri Wiri"  [more on this separate problem in another post]. For now, I'll
continue to call it "Wiri Wiri" since I have no other name for it.

I only had a few suitably "primitive" C. chinense/frutescens chili varieties to use.  Besides these two, a few crosses were
also made using "Duke Pequin"

and "Mariwiri"

Although it shouldn't be surprising that a hybrid between two tepin-like varieties would itself  be tepin-like, I still think the results
were impressive.  The "Wiri Wiri" X "Wild Brazil" F1 plants are somewhat taller-growing than either parent:

They are somewhat smaller-fruited than both parents, and the round red tepin-type fruits are more easily separated from the
calyx when ripe. 

The tiny red tepin fruits are erect on long slender stalks:

[sorry about the odd foliage color;  I may have left the camera on a "fluorescent light" setting]

They were more attractive to birds than either parent. 

The above image shows several empty calyx cups; those fruits mostly having been taken by birds soon after they turned red.

Fruit comparison, the hybrid between the two parental forms (the single red fruit above the two "wild brazil" on the right is a wild
C. annuum v. glabriusculum "chiltepin, Texas" to show its similarity):

The F1 hybrid is similar enough in overall appearance to a wild C. annuum v. glabriusculum tepin that it might be difficult to pick
out the plants from among a group of C. annuum tepins. The hybrid has glossier leaves, greenish flowers in pairs, a
differently-shaped fruiting calyx, and its crushed fruit have a C. chinense aroma.

It's hard to believe this "Wiri Wiri" X "Wild Brazil" hybrid isn't simply a wild tepin:

Another relevant hybrid was "Duke Pequin" X "Wild Brazil". 
The F1 were more robust plants than the previous hybrid or their "Wild Brazil"  parent:

[plant partly defoliated by excessive heat and frequent water stress. It had been a lot prettier.]

They were very productive of slightly-elongate fruits.

Fruit comparison:

Later in the season the plants were covered with bright red fruits [despite the birds' continuing efforts]

Fruits of both of the above crosses have a noticeable  "C. chinense" aroma and flavor lacking in the
two C. frutescens-like parents.  Like other tepin-sized chilis, they dry quickly without special treatment. 

A further cross, "Duke Pequin" X "Wiri Wiri" generally seemed close to their "Wiri Wiri" parent, but with some elongation of the tip of
the fruit.  The reciprocal cross was closely similar.

Full-sized unripe fruit:

Comparison ["duke pequin" on the left, "wiri wiri" on the right, hybrid between]:

Some flower comparisons:

Upper row from left: "Wild Brazil"; "Wiri Wiri"; "Duke Pequin" [note the tiny size of "Wild Brazil" flowers]
Lower row: "Wiri Wiri"X"Wild Brazil"; "Duke Pequin"X"Wild Brazil"

Further fruit comparisons:

Top row, from left: "Duke Pequin";  "Wiri Wiri"; "Wild Brazil"; "Mariwiri"
Middle row: "Duke Pequin"X"Wiri Wiri"; "Wiri Wiri"X"Wild Brazil"
Bottom row  "Duke Pequin"X"Wild Brazil"; "Mariwiri"X"Duke Pequin"

F2 plants of all of these crosses should vary in detail, but generally should stay similar to their parental strains at least in their shared
characteristics.  I expect yellow-fruited forms will reappear in 1/4 of the F2 generation of crosses involving "Wild Brazil". 

Further crosses among these hybrids, and adding additional primitive chili varieties to the mix would be interesting.  Others may want
to try similar hybrids using other very primitive C. chinense varieties such as:

Yellow fire PI 260501
Grif 9239-AB; 
Yellow bird
tettinas de monk
PI 260504
Capezzoli di Scimmia

I'm not sure any of this necessarily says much about the species status of C. chinense and  C. frutescens.  Still, as others
have noted, the most primitive varieties of C. chinense and  C. frutescens seem a lot closer together than the more familiar
cultivated forms, and if the latter didn't exist there would be little reason to separate the "two species".

Both the "Tepin from Peru" X C. baccatum "Lemon Drop"  and its cross with C. chacoense "Cobincho" mentioned in
http://chilifoorumi.fi/index.php?topic=7339.0 produced good seedlings, but unfortunately I let the X C. chacoense
crosses dry out and they all died.  I will have to make that cross again. 

The "Tepin from Peru" X "Lemon Drop" seedlings grew into interesting hybrid plants.  Fairly low-growing and spreading, 

they had small white flowers similar to their C. annuum parent, but were clearly marked with the green spots of C. baccatum. 

Numerous small fruits formed, unripe ones exposed to sun developed some of the pigmentation characteristic
of "Tepin from Peru" and its hybrids. 

The fruits ripened red and were quite hot.   

It seems likely that the F2 seeds in these fruits may be infertile; they were few [often just 1 per fruit]
and varied in size.  I will try growing them next season. 

I see I've accidentally sent this to the wrong section of this forum.  I'd like to remove it from here and
post it to a more appropriate place, such as "Show us your garden" or "processing and cooking". 
Sorry for the mix-up
Processing & Cooking / Chilis with "spreadable" fruits
helmikuu 11, 2011, 02:17:40 ap

In hybrids between C frutescens "Duke Pequin" and larger-fruited C. chinense varieties the flesh of the fruit becomes
noticeably soft and pulpy when fully ripe.  I read somewhere that this is a known C. frutescens trait. This softening can be
a problem in that it may make ripe fruit more difficult to harvest, and it also makes them more attractive to damage by birds. A
simple solution is to pick the fruit before they are completely ripe. They will finish ripening if they are picked with some red color.

I hadn't thought of this softening as a desirable feature, but more than one person who got mixed bags of my "extra" chilis
commented that they especially enjoyed using the varieties that could be spread on bread as if they were butter. 

I thought I'd test and illustrate this observation, and found that yes, the whole fruit could in fact be smeared across a firm
piece of bread without much difficulty.  Some examples:
"Duke Pequin" X "Tiger Teeth" F1 [or possibly "Duke Pequin" X "Bhut Jolokia"]
[and a toasted whole wheat "English muffin" and a table knife] Before:


"Wiri Wiri" X "Bhut Jolokia"  Before:


This softening was noticed in:
"Duke Pequin" X "Bhut Jolokia"
"Duke Pequin" X "Tiger Teeth"
"Duke Pequin" X "Congo"
"Duke Pequin" X "Pimenta da Neyde"
"Wiri Wiri" X "Bhut Jolokia"
All show this pronounced softening in the F1 generation and at least some plants of the F2.

"Duke Pequin" fruit presumably also soften when fully ripe, but this is less noticeable because the fruits are so
small and there is proportionately little pulp relative to the tougher skin.

Show us your garden! / Some Pimenta da Neyde Hybrids
helmikuu 11, 2011, 02:10:54 ap
Two of the hybrids I made in 2009 and grew in 2010 were "Trinidad Scorpion" X "Pimenta da Neyde" and
"Duke Pequin" X "Pimenta da Neyde". 

A third probable "PDN" hybrid appeared as a single purplish seedling among a group of "Goronong"/"Caronong" seedlings. 
I'm now confident that this plant is a spontaneous "Goronong" X "Pimenta da Neyde" hybrid.

All three hybrid combinations had "Pimenta da Neyde" as the pollen parent only.  No crosses with "PDN" as the seed
parent were tried.

The purple pigmentation of PDN was visible early in the F1 hybrid seedlings. All had pigmented hypocotyls similar to
those of PDN seedlings, and later some pigmentation of the stems and leaves.   

"Duke Pequin" X PDN leaves did show some dark color, but the stems and veins were more uniformly dark than the
the leaf blades. Young "Duke Pequin" X PDN plant:


Later, the unripe fruits were also more prominently dark than the foliage.  Flowers and fruits were erect, like
Duke Pequin and unlike PDN:

Fruits ripen red.  Like other Duke Pequin hybrids they softened when ripe and were often attacked by birds:

Comparison showing intermediate size of hybrid between "Duke Pequin" on left and "Pimenta da Neyde" on the
right. Hybrid fruits change from dark to greenish to orange to red during ripening:

Foliage of "Trinidad Scorpion" X "Pimenta da Neyde" plants tended to be more uniformly dark than
"Duke Pequin" X "Pimenta da Neyde", and some were about as dark as "Pimenta da Neyde" itself.
A young hybrid plant:

Older plant with flowers:

More foliage:

It's remarkable that these dark plants only had "Pimenta da Neyde" as their pollen parent.

Unripe fruit:

Plant with ripening older fruits turning red:

Fruit comparison, including one unripe hybrid fruit and one "Pimenta da Neyde" fruit on the right. 

"Goronong" x "Pimenta da Neyde" [the unplanned volunteer hybrid]

The plant seemed prolific. Unripe fruit:

Its fruits ripened to a nice orange-red:

Fruit comparison, with two "Goronong" on the left, two PDN on the right

All three hybrid fruits were too fleshy to dry well.

Surprisingly, although I was a bit afraid of them at first the Trinidad Scorpion X PDN hybrids didn't seem unusually pungent
for C. chinense, and they were as usable as any hot chili in cooking. On the other hand, I was startled by the heat of the
Duke Pequin X PDN, which may be hotter than both parents.  [A few of them finely chopped and mixed into a dish of food were
too many for me.]

I thought that the Goronong X PDN fruits were an excellent aromatic hot C. chinense, and felt that it would be worth
repeating the original cross just to keep F1 plants on hand. It might also be worthwhile to inbreed the hybrids for several
generations to select for stabilized offspring similar to the F1.

I expect the F2 generation  of all three will produce some green offspring [1 out of every 4] without any PDN pigmentation,
and a similar number with a double dose of the PDN purple trait. Perhaps those will be more uniformly dark and may have fruit
that will not change color.

Last season I also produced new Trinidad Congo X PDN and 7Pot X PDN hybrid seeds to test in the coming season.

In summary, Pimenta da Neyde crosses with other chilis give interestingly pigmented hybrids even in the first hybrid
generation. Others might like to experiment further, hybridizing it with other varieties. 

Your "Pequin Wild Mexican" is very similar to many "Pequin" chile plants I have grown, from several different
sources.  Yours does appear to have unusually small leaves, but mine generally also had small leaves,
flowers and fruits.

For example, compare:

I think they are best identified as Capsicum annuum var. annuum, along with most of the
common cultivated chiles, but they clearly are much  more primitive than their more modified relatives
like cayennes, jalapenos and bell peppers. 

Whether these C. annuum pequin forms are ever truly wild, or are instead semi-wild or
escaped from early domesticated chiles is a good question.

"Pequin" is often used to indicate a chile fruit size and shape, and not necessarily any particular variety or
species.  Pequin fruits are ones that are very small and are elongated and pointed-tipped compared to the
similarly small but more rounded "tepin" fruit type. By this concept, different "pequin chiles" could belong to
different species of Capsicum
[For an example of a C. frutescens "Pequin" see http://chilifoorumi.fi/index.php?topic=5523.0]

I agree that the other plant does look to be Tabasco [C. frutescens]
Traditional growing / Vs: What's with those plants
heinäkuu 11, 2010, 04:23:14 ap
I think the  plants with deformed and stunted tips
[the images from the Polish board] might have severe infestations
of broad mites, Polyphagotarsonemus latus:

They are often pests on Capsicum and do stunt and destroy plants. 
I have had success controlling them with sulfur dust.

The tiny mites and their distinctive spotted eggs may be visible only with a
strong magnifying lens or dissecting microscope.

I wrote that I thought it was different from all Tepins I've seen, but that was before I read


Wherever my plant is from, it seems rather similar to this "Tepin, National Park of Tikal,
Guatemala", at least in its similar-looking downcurved fruits. 

Your Guatemalan Tepin with its shiny leaves and greenish flowers looks to me like it
needs to be compared to C. frutescens and C. chinense, besides C. annuum.

You should have success with this "Peruvian Tepin", since it's as easily grown
as it easy to cross.  That "large late-season plant" I photographed was actually
planted out from a horribly crowded, stunted cell-pack of leftover seedlings I'd
forgotten in the greenhouse from the year before.  They were flowering and fruiting
but only a few centimeters high. It obviously recovered.

Thanks for the kind comments.

Of course I'll be flattered if you use anything I've posted on your site.
Please use anything you wish.
Other growing & lighting / Some tips for chili crossing
huhtikuu 09, 2010, 04:01:31 ap
I don't have much to add to Fatalii's fine article
but I do have a few suggestions that some may find useful.

Fine-tipped forceps are important for the delicate work of dissecting out the anthers
from an unopened chili flower bud that will be used as the female for the cross.  I have
several stainless-steel watchmaker's forceps in my biology laboratory toolkit: 

When they were new they were very fine-tipped, but most of mine have been broken and
reground over the years.  They're still quite adequate for removing anthers from even
tiny flower buds such as those of C. chacoense.  (The wires in the image are connected to
short lengths of brightly-colored plastic flagging tape to make them easy to find if dropped
in the garden [I lost one for most of a season]) 

Also useful is an inexpensive  pair of nonprescription reading eyeglasses for the easier
dissection of small flower buds.  At least, my eyes now seem to need them although I'm
pretty sure they didn't before.

I advise attempting multiple crosses for each hybrid combination.  It is
possible that only a few hybrid pollinations out of many tries may succeed in
producing fruit and seed.  Fruit set on a particular plant may be poor during part of
the season [night temperatures, perhaps, or some other issues with the physiological
state of the plant], so repeating a failed cross at multiple times may help.

It's also a good idea to try reciprocal crosses of each pair of parents [i.e., try using
each of the two parental strains as both the pollen parent and the seed parent in
different pollinations].  It can affect success as well as the resulting offspring.

Using varieties with large numbers of flowers at a time is advantageous.  Wild
species and primitive varieties like "Duke Pequin" are good in this way.  One can do
many simultaneous crossing attempts with a single plant.

It's surprisingly easy to do many crosses in a short time. The first critical step is to
remove the unopened anthers [the structures with the pollen sacs at the tips of the
stamens], from a full-sized but unopened flower bud without damaging the ovary, style
and stigma [the flower's female bits].  It becomes easy to recognize those flower buds
that are likely to open that day, and it's also fairly simple to slit or tear open the
corolla [petals] with the forceps and pick out the anthers. 

Instead of using a cotton swab or a brush, I have generally been using large amounts of
pollen in each pollination, often using an entire anther sac picked out of a newly-opened
flower of the pollen parent, or even a whole picked flower, to load the stigma with a
visible mass of pollen.  The tip of the fine forceps, or the plastic toothpick of a Swiss Army
Knife, or some similar object can be used to scrape pollen from an anther sac and to deposit
a visible mass of pollen onto the recipient flower's stigma.
Similarly, chile flowers such as "Duke Pequin" will leave a visible deposit of pollen on
the back of a fingernail or thumbnail that can then be carefully deposited on a
stigma of an emasculated flower bud.

Unlike a brush or swab, a thumbnail or forceps or plastic toothpick are easily cleaned
with an alcohol wipe to be ready for the next pollination. 

One suggestion I'm pleased to share is a very simple way to more easily label numerous
cross-pollinated flowers and fruits, something that is especially useful if one is doing
multiple different crosses on a single plant.   

I salvaged a few meters of discarded telephone cable.  Inside the plastic sheath the
cable consists of 50 slender copper wires with waterproof plastic insulation, each wire
colored and banded differently from all of the others:

A short length can easily be clipped from one of them and twisted into an open loop
around each  pollinated flower's stalk as a simple way to label each cross.  I really never
needed more than a few different colors per female parent plant, but the potential is there
to distinguish pollinations by many different pollen parents.  For example:

"Wiri wiri" flowers recently pollinated and labeled showing two different crosses. 
The wire loops are lightweight and make simple waterproof labels:

Rim of the same "Wiri wiri" plant's pot with supply of more wire for
additional crosses [WB = "Wild Brazil"; DP = "Duke Pequin"]:

An unripe "Wiri wiri" fruit labeled as being from a pollination by "Duke Pequin" pollen.

I haven't been putting protective paper bags over pollinated flowers, but this
might be a good idea.  I have lost a few ripening crosses to birds, but nothing

Proof of success comes with the next generation, when seedlings first become
detectably different from their mother plant.  This will be easier to tell with
crosses between widely-different  parents than between closely similar forms.
In 2007 my brother sent me an envelope of 11 year old chile seeds that were supposedly from
"a wild chile from Peru".  He said that had seen  it growing in an experimental garden at the
University of California at Davis [a major agricultural research center] some time in the early 1990s, and
that a researcher who happened to be present had let him collect seeds to grow.  He
said he was told that the plants were being grown for chile breeding research. Unfortunately,
nothing was written down and nothing more is known. He is pretty sure about the "Peru" part.

I was a bit disappointed that the young plants I grew plainly belonged to the
Capsicum annuum/C. frutescens/C. chinense complex and weren't something more exotic,
but it still remained a puzzle. It's a distinctive form that doesn't match the usual "wild chile"

It is a low-growing plant, with long-stalked slightly rhomboidal leaves tending to be flattened
out together horizontally on spreading branches [hard to see in the photo, but it has a
distinctive look]:

A  large plant late in the season, approaching a meter high:

Flowers and young fruit. Young fruits early develop a swollen receptacle  (stalk
apex/base of calyx).  Unripe fruits exposed to sun become dark.

Although it clearly is a "primitive" chile variety, it isn't like any truly wild chiles of the
C. annuum group that I've seen.  Although it probably should be assigned to
Capsicum annuum, it's not much like a wild tepin chile. 

Typical annuum traits: mostly single flowers (a few pairs), with white corolla. 

It has a different growth habit, lacks the slender wiry twigs of tepins.  Its flower and fruiting
stalks are downward-curved or oblique, not upright and erect as in tepins and primitive
C. frutescens and  C. chinense.     

Perhaps it's of hybrid origin, or a feral "wild" plant derived from some formerly cultivated
C. annuum var. annuum?  Its fruits are hardly "improved" over the tepin type, which
seems problematic for a cultivated origin.  A hybrid origin can't be very recent, since it
shows little or no variability from seed.

Ripe fruits are uniform, and separate easily when ripe:

The flesh is thin [full of seeds], hot, and dries easily.

The plant and its fruit may not be too exciting, but what makes the plant most interesting to
me is its "promiscuous" hybridizing behavior. 

Since it seemed to be closest  to C. annuum,  I of course tried crossing it with different
annuum forms:

UC Davis chile X C. annuum v. glabriusculum Tepin (Tarahumara) produced an
attractive little F1 plant: 

UC Davis chile X C. annuum"Fresno"  F1
full-sized unripe fruit.

UC Davis chile X C. annuum "Chinese Giant" bell pepper  F1
full-sized unripe fruit.

[Both the above F1 crosses seemed potentially useful hot chiles]

Okay, so it crosses freely with C. annuum, both wild and cultivated. One might be
tempted to see that as strong evidence of its species identity. 

That would be misleading, because as it turns out this plant also hybridizes just as freely with 
basically every other chile I've tried crossing it with, producing in each case what appear to
be fully fertile F1 hybrids.  It seems a remarkably willing hybridizer, both as seed parent
and pollen parent.  (However, I must admit that I really haven't made comparable efforts with
other varieties, so maybe it's not really that unusual). 

Anyway, the crossing behavior of this plant might make a person despair for the validity of
the C. annuum/C. frutescens/C. chinense species distinctions.

Crossing it with C. frutescens "Duke Pequin" [no image], produced an erect very
frutescens-like plant with lots of tiny red berries.

Crosses with C. chinense include:
UC Davis chile X C. chinense "Wild Brazil" F1

UC Davis chile X C. chinense Bhut Jolokia F1 fruit on a low-growing
spreading plant

full-sized unripe fruit

Also crossed  it with C. chinense "Marawiri", making another colorful
C. chinense-like hybrid.

A few additional crosses in 2009, including ones with C. chacoense "Cobincho" and 
C. baccatum "Lemon Drop" also produced seeds.  I'll see if they grow. 

Show us your garden! / "Mariwiri" from Guyana
huhtikuu 03, 2010, 07:58:03 ap
One of the three chile varieties from Guyana growing here needs some introduction.  It is an
attractive C. chinense with round fruits like small cherries on a low spreading plant with
small leaves.  I think it's potentially one of the most ornamental chiles:

The original collector's records called it "Marawiri", which remained a bit of a mystery, but I
read that "meri wiri" or "mari wiri" are used in Guyana for the variety (or varieties) also
called "wiri wiri".   However, this variety seems closer to plants called "Bod'e" than "wiri-wiri",
or at least than to the one "wiri-wiri" variety I now have from a different source.

Like the Bod'e shown at
"Mariwiri" has pale-colored anthers [unusual in C. chinense].  Unlike it, the fruits of this one
are on erect stalks:

I thought it might be interesting to cross it as a primitive chinense with the
somewhat similar C. chinense "Wild Brazil".   

"Mariwiri" and "Wild Brazil" fruit comparison:

"Wild Brazil X Mariwiri" F1 plant

Hybrid fruit comparision [I didn't grow any "Mariwiri" in 2009]

I also crossed "Mariwiri" with "Duke Pequin", which made an intermediate-sized plant:

Fruits ripen red.

New 2009 crosses growing this season:
Duke Pequin X Wild Brazil
Duke Pequin X Wiri Wiri [the latter seems more like C. frutescens than C. chinense
to me]

Duke Pequin X Pimenta da Neyde 
Trinidad Scorpion X Pimenta da Neyde

It appears that the purple coloration may be a dominant trait-- so far, F1 seedlings of
both these crosses are coming up just as pigmented as Pimenta da Neyde seedlings!

Fatalii X Bhut Jolokia
Trinidad Scorpion X Bhut Jolokia  [I suppose these might count as "weapons of mass

Many of my chile crosses in 2008/2009 were hybrids between Capsicum chinense varieties
and crosses between C. frutescens "Duke Pequin" and C. chinense.  In 2009, most
of the plants in my garden were the F1 hybrids from 2008 pollinations.   

Some examples:
C. frutescens "Duke Pequin" X C. chinense "Tiger Teeth"[an excellent variety
collected in a market in Guyana]
Large vigorous plant in mid-season:


Unripe fruit:

Comparison of ripe fruits of hybrid and parents.

"Bhut Jolokia" X "Duke Pequin"
Unripe fruit:

Ripe fruits of hybrid and parents:

Trying reciprocal hybrids [using the same two parents, but differing as to which is the
"mother" and which is the pollen parent] seemed to have little effect in this case.  At
least superficially,"Duke Pequin X Bhut Jolokia" looked pretty much like "Bhut Jolokia X Duke
Pequin" [the female parent is listed first in this notation].

Duke Pequin x Congo Red
Unripe fruit:

Fruits of hybrid and parents:

The ripe fruits of the above hybrids tend to soften when fully ripe, which is supposed to
be a C. frutescens trait.

"Duke Pequin" X C. chinense generally were large, vigorous plants, possibly even more
so than "Duke Pequin".  By the end of the season the three hybrids above all approached 2m

Part of the jungle of hybrids [the garden's soil level is actually about a half meter below the pavement]

Some of the C. chinense crosses seem promising.
Tiny-fruited "Wild Brazil" X Bhut Jolokia:

The fruits were similar-looking to Duke Pequin X Bhut Jolokia, but the plants were
more moderate-sized.

Bhut Jolokia X Congo Red, showing results of reciprocal crosses. Both hybrids rather resemble
big "Trinidad Scorpion" fruits.

Congo X Tiger Teeth, with large fruits:

Another very nice cross [not shown] was Bhut Jolokia X Tiger Teeth, with large very aromatic

Crossing the mild "Aji Dulce #2" with the almost heatless "Trinidad Perfume" resulted in
very productive plants with beautiful but nearly heatless fruits:

Crossing the extremely hot "Bhut Jolokia" (two fruit on the left) with the heatless
"Trinidad Perfume" (3 on right) resulted in uniformly hot F1 hybrids:

I expect that the F2 generation might produce some individuals with mild fruits. If non-pungency
behaved as a simple Mendelian recessive trait, one would expect 1/4 of the F2 generation to
be mild.  Although it's likely to be more complex than that, I'd be interested in trying a chile
with Bhut Jolokia-like flavor but less heat.

more to come...

I'm finally getting around to posting these [I've been meaning to for an
embarrassingly long time].

During the 2008 season I made a large number of crosses between different chile varieties and
different Capsicum species, and grew many F1 hybrids during the 2009 season. 

interesting results:

Capsicum pubescens/C. eximium/cardenasii group-- 

1] "Locatopica"? "Locopica"?
Most of my crosses from this group had C. pubescens "Locato" [PI 387838] as the female
parent, because it seemed to be an especially primitive rocoto type, and I was interested in
the origin of C. pubescens from its wild relatives.   

Seedlings from "Locato" fruits from pollinations with "Rocopica" [a.k.a. "Ulupica, large"] pollen
mostly appeared to be unusually small-fruited, red-fruited "rocotos". 

Flowers resemble the "Locato" parent:

Fruit comparison [no Rocopica fruits were on hand for the photo]:

The plants flowered and fruited at small sizes for C. pubescens.

2] "Locato" crossed with "CGN 19198 #2" pollen produced pretty little plants that eventually
formed many small red fruits.  Of a few individual seedlings of this cross that I grew , only
one plant produced flowers in clusters as in "CGN 19198 #2".

Young plant with first flowers, less than 30 cm tall:

The same plant, later in season:

The first ripe fruits:
This plant obviously looks different from its "Locato" mother, but does resemble its
"CGN 19198 #2" father.  Other plants from the same cross had similar flowers and fruits, but
had only single flowers at the nodes.

Comparison of hybrid with parents.

Another 2008 cross from this group was "CGN 19198 #2" crossed with "Rocopica" pollen.  The
only seedling produced a Rocopica-like plant, but it didn't flower for me in 2009 [oddly enough,
neither did its Rocopica parent]. I'll see what it does this season [I overwintered it and the
others shown above].

C. chacoense X Chiltepin
Another hybrid I'll show here, although not part of the C. pubescens group.
It doesn't look like much, but is Capsicum chacoense "Cobincho" X
C. annuum v. glabriusculum "Tepin, Tarahumara":

The plant was basically close to its C. chacoense parent, but has larger flowers than the
minute chacoense flowers[intermediate between the parents].  Fruits were undersized,
but some normal-looking seeds
were present.

I didn't do much with Capsicum baccatum crosses, but did grow F1s of a cross between
PI 260567 "Microcarpum" and a very nice red-fruited aji type formerly long grown in the Duke
greenhouse. The hybrids were large colorful plants with abundant bright red fruits intermediate
in size between the parents.

More to come...
I see that the University's website server is having some problems.
I hope my images will be back soon.

re: "You shot those pics in your backyard ?"

It's not exactly my backyard, but I and a few others have unofficially more or less
taken over parts of a small wooded lot on campus next to the biology buildings and
greenhouses.  One area on the edge of these woods that was completely cleared
during construction work has been turned into a small vegetable garden [mostly peppers
and tomatoes], and an adjoining partly-shaded clearing was used for my plants in
containers.  [I thought a partially shaded "jungle clearing" might be needed to keep
rocotos from overheating in the North Carolina summer sun.  Advantages of the
site include nearly unlimited "recycled" supplies like surplus used pots and only-slightly
used potting soil. I also sank a small electric pump in a stream there for water.

re: "Where are you from if you don't mind me asking",
and "what are the seasons like your way?"

I'm in the central part of North Carolina, USA [Duke University, Durham NC, in the
North Carolina "Piedmont"]. The outdoor growing seasons are long [in 2008 I think it
was approximately from mid-April through early November between the last and and
the first killing frosts]. Much of the summer feels a lot like the warm tropics, usually
with some significant midsummer drought problems.  Winters are too cold for tropical
plants to survive.

re: the "I don't have enough room" comments
about "Duke Pequin" plants, I think they could be kept much smaller than I have
done.  A successful approach may be to do a lot of pruning within the zone of
smaller branchlets and flowering twigs. 

The greenhouse staff grew one for years [or likely, a series of replacement plants
each propagated from its predecessor] as a small plant in a 20 cm [8"] terracotta
pot, but it still produced enough fruit to impress [or perhaps the word is "torture"]
any volunteer pepper-tasters during class tours of the greenhouses.

Thanks again for the comments.
Thanks to all for the kind comments.  I'm very glad you enjoyed the post.

To Fatalii: of course I'll be delighted for you to use the article at your site,
and/or to include any of the images in it or at my site for your
"chile pictures" section.  I'd been meaning to write this article for a year or so,
and also wanted to send you better images to replace the rather poor one you
had to use.

Show us your garden! / Capsicum frutescens "Duke Pequin"
maaliskuu 01, 2009, 01:37:02 ap
Some interesting  peppers
#1. "Duke Pequin"  Capsicum frutescens.

[I've owed  Fatalii some better images of this one, so I'll be going a little overboard with
the photos. He can also find larger versions of these images and others at

"I didn't know that peppers could grow on trees"

That is a comment I've heard when visitors first see large plants of this variety. 

They can become tall shrubby plants, and indeed are more "treelike" than most

Second- and third-year plants can be over 2m high.

It is definitely a plant that improves with age. Overwintered 2nd season and older plants
are much more productive than first-season seedlings.  The latter produce relatively few
fruit, and those only late in the season, but overwintered plants can be very productive
over the entire season. 

Fruits and flowers on a branch of a 2nd or 3rd season plant. 

Fruits are very small,

and very hot, and have plenty of tabasco-like flavor. They can be used fresh or frozen,
or as a sauce or powder.

It's of unknown origin, but was grown in the Duke University greenhouse since at
least the 1970s as "66-316. Pequin pepper. Capsicum annuum. Mexico."  Despite the
label, it is plainly a rather primitive "bird pepper" type of Capsicum frutescens.  [I
think it might be hard to find a more "typical"  representative of C. frutescens than
this one.]

In 2004, I rescued the original plant and have since propagated several others from
it by seed and cuttings. They've been  overwintered in a greenhouse each year. 

I've experimented a bit with its culture, growing some outdoors in shady sites and others
in full sun. A few were cut back as severely as I've seen people recommend doing to
overwintered  pepper plants, but most were not.

The original plant has been kept relatively compact.

The 20 liter container is 36cm [14"] tall; this plant is a little over 1m high and broad. 
Other plants are over twice its size.

During the 2008 season this one was grown in a strongly shaded site, but still
produced hundreds of fruits [many from interspecific hybrid pollinations]:

Shade-grown fruits

The scarred trunk of the oldest plant is now over 4cm diameter.
This pepper may be a good bonsai subject.

It has typical C. frutescens flowers: small, with greenish-white corollas, dark anthers,
and the flowers bent over at the tips of erect flower stalks.

Flowers are in pairs, especially on vigorous shoots.

flowers and ripe and ripening fruits

Another fruiting branch

Fruiting branch from a plant grown in full sun.

Like other wild and semi-wild peppers, the ripe fruit separates easily
from the calyx and stalk.

The calyx of the fruit has a constricted, cylindrical shape with a corresponding
nipple-like constriction of the base of the fruit. This may be a distinctive feature of
C. frutescens, but I haven't seen it discussed elsewhere.

Ripe fruits picked one afternoon in mid-season 2008.

details of same, showing constricted base of the fruit.

For a few week period beginning soon after the above photos were made, birds
started taking nearly all of the ripe fruits from these plants [as well as my
chiltepins, etc.].  But by then, I had already frozen more than I could use.

It seems best to avoid cutting back overwintered plants of this variety too

The above shows one plant that was cut back to its main branches. There is plenty
of vigorous new growth, but sparse flowers and delayed fruiting; the new shoots
resemble first-season plants.  Such heavy pruning may be useful to reshape and
rejuvenate an old plant, but less severe cutting of this variety allows it to form
densely branched crowns of smaller leaves, and bearing hundreds of flowers and
fruits over a long season.

I should mention that "Duke Pequin" seeds are available at

Show us your garden! / Introduction.
maaliskuu 01, 2009, 00:05:52 ap
Hello, I've been a "lurker" here, and thought I should finally register and post.
My name is Mel, I'm a botanist, and have been interested in Capsicum peppers
for a long while, especially wild species and primitive forms of the domesticated

However, I've really only been actively growing different pepper varieties for a
few years.

My 2008 season:

Capsicum. frutescens "Duke Pequin"  [I'll try to post a profile of this one soon].
C. cf. frutescens? ["from Peru"]  "unknown UC Davis wild pepper"

C. chacoense ["C. exile"] "Cobincho"

C. annuum v. glabriusculum "tepin" or  "chiltepin" [from several sources]
C. annuum v. annuum  "pequin pepper" [several different forms]
C. annuum v. annuum "Serrano"
C. annuum v. annuum "Fresno"
C. annuum v. annuum "Chinese Giant"
C. annuum v. annuum "banana"

C. chinense "Wild Brazil" [tiny, yellow, strong habanero flavor]
C. chinense "Bhut Jolokia"
C. chinense "Congo"
C. chinense "Trinidad Perfume"
C. chinense "Aji Dulce #2"
C. chinense "Habanero" [several different sources, sizes/shapes, colors]

3 from Guyana:
C. chinense "Marawiri" [= a local name for "wiri wiri"?]
C. chinense "Tiger Teeth"
C. chinense "Yellow Tiger Teeth"

C. pubescens [several different varieties of rocoto/manzano]
C. cf. eximium X pubescens  "CGN 19198 #2"
C. cardenasii/eximium X pubescens "Rocopica"

C. baccatum "Champion"
C. baccatum "Inca Red Drop"
C. baccatum [unknown variety from the Duke University greenhouse]
C. baccatum CGN 22871
C. baccatum PI 260567 "C. microcarpum"

During the 2008 season I tried a number of crosses among many of the above. 
I'm looking forward to seeing the F1 hybrid results.