Things you probably didn’t know about chilies and sweet pepper
- Pepper is one of the most beloved vegetables for home gardeners.
- Botanically, pepper is a berry.
- Black pepper comes from berries of the plant Piper nigrum, which is different from Capsicum annuum (bell and chili peppers).
- Guinness World Records declared Carolina Reaper the hottest chili pepper in the world. Its scientific name is “Capsicum chinense”.
- Make sure you always wear good gloves when touching pepper seeds. Especially the seeds of some spicy varieties can damage your skin and your eyes if you touch them.
- Peppers originated from Central and South America.
- Chili peppers are hot in taste because they contain capsaicin. Capsaicin is the basic ingredient of some pepper sprays, used by police in order to control large crowds during demonstrations or protests.
- Capsaicin has been proven by some studies to boost metabolism and increase the burning of fat.
- Bell peppers do not contain capsaicin.
- On average, a healthy pepper plant will produce 4 to 8 large-sized peppers. However, a bell pepper plant grown in a greenhouse can produce more than 30 fruits in a growing season. On the other hand, in small fruit varieties, a single plant can produce even 100 small peppers.
Pepper’s scientific name is Capsicum annuum and is a member of the Solanaceae family. This family also includes other popular vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and many others. It is a perennial plant, although most producers grow it as an annual. However, Black pepper comes from berries of the pepper plant, Piper nigrum, which belongs to a different family (Piperaceae).
Peppers originated from Central and South America. and spread to Europe during the 16th century. Nowadays, we can find peppers almost everywhere around the globe. However, the five countries with the most significant chili pepper production, according to World Atlas, are:
Pepper at first grows as a single vein plant; however, later, the plant starts to produce several outer stems. Pepper leaves are usually simple, alternate and flowers are whitish with five lobes on the corolla that grow on the apical meristem. Domestic pepper cultivars are usually self-fertile. The fruits are berries and come in various shapes and colors. Inside them, we can find several flat, ochre-colored seeds. We can find peppers of green, yellow, orange or red color and shapes that vary greatly.