Definitions

Capsicum annuum grossum

Capsicum annuum

Capsicum annuum is a domesticated species of the plant genus Capsicum native to Mexico.

Description

The plant is a herbaceous annual, with a densely branched stem. The plant reaches 0.5–1.5 m (20–60 in). Single white flowers bear the fruit which is green when unripe, changing principally to red, although some varieties may ripen to other colours including brown and purple.

Cultivation

While the species can tolerate most climates, they are especially productive in warm and dry climates.

Due to this climate tolerance, and the variety of flavors available, this New World plant spread across the world, possibly faster than any other crop.

Use

Food

The species is a source of popular sweet peppers and hot chili fruit, and numerous varieties are cultivated around the world. Despite being a single species, Capsicum annuum has many cultivars, with a variety of names. In American English it is commonly known as the chili pepper or bell pepper.

In British English, the sweet varieties are called peppers and the hot varieties chillies, whereas in Australian and Indian English the name capsicum is commonly used for bell peppers exclusively and chilli is often used to encompass the hotter varieties.

Common varieties include:

Medicine

Hot peppers are used in medicine as well as food in Africa.

John Lindley (1799-1865) wrote in his 'Flora Medica' (1838) about Capsicum annuum, page 509: 'It is employed in medicine, in combination with Cinchona in intermittent and lethargic affections, and also in atonic gout, dyspepsia accompanied by flatulence, tympanitis, paralysis etc. Its most valuable application appears however to be in cynanche maligna and scarlatina maligna, used either as a gargle or administered internally.'

See also

References

External links

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