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Cayenne pepper

Photo is of parent taxon

bird pepper, Cayenne pepper


0.3–2 m, branched, frequently purple-striate, slender, usually glabrous, rarely puberulent.


petiole (4–)6–7(–11) mm;

blade ovate or elliptic-ovate, (20–)25–37(–45) × (10–)14–16(–20) mm.


calyx mostly truncate with small umbos in place of teeth;

corolla usually white, rarely greenish, 8–12 mm diam., lobes 5–7 mm, sinuses 1–5 mm deep;

anthers violet to blue;

ovary globose;

style short-capitate.


deciduous, erect, red, globose to ovoid, 5–10 mm diam., rarely 14+ mm long.


cream to yellow.


pedicels usually 1 per node, rarely 2–3 per node, (4–)10–14(–25) mm.


= 24, 48.

Capsicum annuum

Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum

Phenology Flowering Mar–Oct, sporadically year-round.
Habitat Fence rows, pastures, shell mounds, hammocks, waste places, well-drained soils, silty and sandy loams [coffee plan­tations].
Elevation 0–300 m. (0–1000 ft.)
from USDA
Mexico; Central America; s United States; West Indies; South America (north of Amazon River) [Introduced nearly worldwide]
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
from FNA
AL; AZ; FL; LA; TX; Mexico; Central America; West Indies; South America (north of the Amazon River)
[BONAP county map]

Varieties ca. 20 (1 in the flora).

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Variety glabriusculum is considered to be the progenitor of domesticated var. annuum. The center of origin of the bird pepper is believed to be in southern Mexico, and its native range is from the southeastern and southwestern United States and the Caribbean to northern Peru. Domesticated var. annuum (tabasco pepper) is grown throughout warm temperate North America. Plants sometimes escape and persist for years (for example, California, Florida, Missouri, and New Mexico) but are unlikely to become established in the flora area.

The epithet baccatum has been associated erroneously with what is recognized here as var. glabriusculum. Capsicum baccatum Linnaeus is an entirely different species native in South America that has distinct, paired, yellow to tan to greenish markings on each lobe of the corolla.

In 1999, Native Seeds/SEARCH and the United States Forest Service established a 1000-hectare wild chili botanical area and reserve located in Rock Corral Canyon near Tumacacori, Arizona. The preserve protects a large population of var. glabriusculum as an in-situ genetic (germplasm) reserve.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 14. FNA vol. 14.
Parent taxa Solanaceae > Capsicum Solanaceae > Capsicum > Capsicum annuum
Subordinate taxa
C. annuum var. glabriusculum
Synonyms C. hispidum var. glabriusculum, C. annuum var. aviculare, C. annuum var. minus, C. minimum
Name authority Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 1: 188. (1753) (Dunal) Heiser & Pickersgill: Baileya 19: 156. (1975)
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