This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(name of uncertain origin, perhaps from kapto, to bite, on account of the pungency of the seed or pericarp; or from capsa, a chest, having reference to the form of fruit). Solanaceae. Red Pepper. Cayenne Pepper. Herbs or shrubs, originally from tropical America, but escaped from cultivation in Old World tropics, where it was once supposed to be indigenous.
Stem branchy, 1-6 ft. high, glabrous or nearly so: leaves ovate or subelliptical, entire, acuminate: flowers white or greenish white, rarely violaceous, solitary or sometimes in 2's or 3's; corolla rotate, usually 5-lobed; stamens 5, rarely 6 or 7, with bluish anthers dehiscing longitudinally; ovary originally 2-3-loculed: fruit a juice-less berry or pod, extremely variable in form and size, many-seeded, and with more or less pungency about the seeds and pericarp. Fig. 786. The fruit becomes manyloculed and monstrous in cultivation - About 90 species have been named, most of which are now considered forms of one or two species. Monogr. by Irish, 9th Ann. Rept. Mo. Bot. Gard. For cultivation, see Pepper.
Fig. 786. Normal 2-loculed fruit of Capsicum, in cross-section.
a. Plant annual or biennial. annuum, Linn. Fig. 787. Herbaceous or suffrutes-cent, grown as annuals in temperate climates, but in warmer latitudes often treated as biennials. All of the leading commercial varieties in the U. S. readily find classification within the types or botanical varieties. The species has never been found wild. It is the pimento of tropical Amer.
Fig. 787. A form of Capsicum annuum.
b. fruit oblong-linear.
c. Calyx usually embracing base of fruit
Variety conoides, Irish (C. conoides, Mill.). Suffrutescent: leaves numerous, rather small, 2-3 in. long, 3/4 - 2 in. wide: peduncles 6lender, straight, erect; flowers small; calyx obconical or cup-shaped, usually embracing base of fruit; corolla greenish white, spreading, 3/8-5/8 in.; fruit erect, subcorncal or oblong-cylindrical, about 1 1/4 in.long or less, usually shorter than the peduncles and mostly borne above the leaves, very acrid. Coral Gem, Tabasco. Gn. 66, p. 381.
Variety fasciculatum, Irish (C. fasciculatum, Sturt.). Red Cluster Pepper. Fig. 788. stem herbaceous, round or nearly so: branches few: leaves clustered or crowded in bunches about the summit, elliptical-lanceolate, pointed at both ends: fruit also clustered, erect, slender, about 3 in. long by 1/4in. diam., very acrid.
Variety acuminatum, Fingh. (C. chilense, Hort.). Long Cayenne. Herbaceous, very branchy, about 2 1/2 ft. high, bearing a dense mass of foliage: flower medium size, spread 1/2 - 3/4 in.; fruit larger than the preceding, either erect or pendent. Chile.
cc. Calyx not usually embracing base of fruit
Variety 16ngum, Sendt. (C. annuum, Linn. C. Iongum, DC). Plant herbaceous, about 2 1/2 ft. high, with comparatively few branches: leaves large, often 4 in. long by
2 1/2 in. wide: flower large; corolla spreading, 7/8 -1 1/4 in., dingy white; calyx usually pateriform or fun-nelform, rarely embracing base of fruit: fruit often a foot long by 2 in. diam. at base; flesh thick and in some varieties very mild. Garden varieties are: Black Nubian, County Fair, Elephant'sTrunk, Ivory Tusk.
bb. fruit of various shapes, but not oblong-linear.
Herbaceous, about 2 ft. high, with few branches: leaves very large, often 3 by 5 in., sometimes coriaceous, lower ones usually pendent; petioles deeply channeled: peduncles stout, about 1 in. long; corolla large, spreading, 7/8 -1 1/4 in.; fr large, oblate, oblong, or truncated, 3-4-lobed, usually with basal depression, more or less sul-cate and rugose; flesh thick, firm, and of a mild flavor. Emperor, Monstrous, Bell, Sweet Mountain, Golden Dawn, Ruby King, Golden King, Brazilian Upright, Golden Upright, Squash, and others, are garden varieties.
Suffrutescent: leaves broadly ovate, 2-4 in. long: peduncles slender, straight or curved, as long as or longer than the berry: fruit about 2 in. long or less, varying much in the different horticultural varieties, in general ovate, quite rugose, except in one variety, sometimes turbinate. While this variety is used to some extent for pickling, it is noted more as an ornamental plant. Some garden forms are: Celestial, Etna, Kaleidoscope, Red Wrinkled, Yellow Wrinkled.
Fig. 788. Capsicum annuum variety fasciculatum.
Fig. 789. Capsicum frutescens.
Suffrutescent: leaves medium size, ovate or oblong-acuminate, about 1 1/4-3 1/2 in.: calyx seated on base of fruit; corolla large, spreading, 7/8- 1 1/2 in.: fruit spherical, subcordate, oblate, or occasionally obscurely pointed or slightly elongated, smooth or rarely minutely rugose or sulcate; flesh firm, 1/12 - 1/8in. thick, extremely pungent. Garden forms are: Cherry, Yellow Cherry, Oxheart.
aa. Plant perennial. frutescens, Linn. Fig. 789. Shrubby perennial, 3-6 ft. high, with prominently angled or somewhat channeled stem and branches: branches loosely spreading or trailing: leaves broadly ovate-acuminate, 3-6 in. long, 2-3 1/2 in. wide: peduncles slender, 1-2 in. long, often in pairs, usually longer than the fruit; calyx cup-shaped, embracing base of fruit; corolla often with ocherous markings in the throat: fruit red, obtuse or oblong-acuminate, 3/4 - 1 1/4in. long, 1/4 - 3/4in. diam., very acrid. - Cult, only S., as the seasons in temperate latitudes are not long enough to mature fruit
Plants not so tall, but more erect than the species: branches slender, fastigiate, flexuose: corolla small, spreading, about 1/2in.: fruit ovate or sub-round, about 1/4in. diam.
H. C. Irish.