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Chili Pepper Types

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Botanical lexicon of chili varieties – background information about different types of chili.

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Chili varieties

There are more than 3000 varieties of chili worldwide and new breeds are continually being added as chillies are easy to crossbreed. Here, we would like to present some of the most important varieties (old breeds and new cultivars) to you. We are continuously adding to our species lexicon and so it pays off to keep checking this page.
Our descriptions include general information about each variety including botany, country of origin, spice level, growth form, appearance and flavour of each chili as well as advice on how to successfully grow the plant. Furthermore, they also include additional recommendations for use and culinary advice.

General information about chili species and varieties

Chillies originally came from Central and South America, from where they set off on their victory march around the entire world following the discovery of America. Today, there are 26 documents wild species of chili and 5 varieties, which are used for domesticated farming and which have also produced all the chili species and varieties listed here:

Capsicum annuum

This species includes the most commonly know varieties of chili in this part of the world, such as jalapeños, cayenne peppers, serrano chillies, Italian peperoni and all varieties of bell pepper. They all vary vastly in growth form and in the appearance of their fruits. This species covers a range of mild to very spicy varieties.

Capsicum baccatum

This is a species which primarily grows as a perennial plant in its country of origin (e.g. in the South American Andes). The flowers usually have green or yellowish markings and yellow anthers. The best known variety of this species is the aji chili, which is wide spread throughout Latin America.

Capsicum chinense

This species includes some of the extremely hot varieties, such as the habanero, bhut jolokia and scotch bonnet, which also usually have a special fruity flavour too. The name “chinense” (= Chinese) is very misleading since most varieties are grown in the Caribbean or in Central and South America.

Capsicum frutescens

Everyone has heard of this variety’s most famous member of this species – the tabasco chili, which is used to make the world-famous tabasco sauce. But the African Bird’s Eye chili or the Brazilian Malagueta chili, not to mention several smaller decorative chillies which are also part of the same variety.

Capsicum pubescens

“Pubescens” means “hairy” and this species is distinguished by its hairy leaves. They originate from a South American chili and are the only variety which can withstand the frost (up to -5°C). They distinguish themselves from other varieties with the development of the sturdy trunk and their violet-coloured flowers. The thick-fleshed fruits have comparatively large, black seeds. The best known representative of this species is the South American rocoto chili.

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Botanical lexicon of chili varieties – background information about different types of chili. read more »
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Chili Pepper Types

Botanical lexicon of chili varieties – background information about different types of chili.

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Know-How
Chili Types Chili Types
Dividing the chili types into 5 groups (species) Here, the most important and most widespread varieties of the great chili family are briefly named and described. However, not...
Know-How
Aji Aji
Heat level : 5 - 8 (about 2,500 - 50,000 SHU) General info : Ají is the common name for Chilean chillies, especially in Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. These can...
Know-How
Bhut Jolokia Bhut Jolokia
Spiciness : 10+++ (approx. 1.000.000 SHU) General Info: The Bhut Jolokia (Capsicum chinense) originates from the region of Assam in India and is a naturally occurring...
Know-How
Birds Eye Birds Eye
Heat level: 9 - 10 (about 80,000 to 200,000 SHU) General info: The Birdeye chili comes from Africa and is a close relative of the Tabasco chili as both belong to the...
Know-How
Carolina Reaper Carolina Reaper
Heat level: 10 +++ (average 1.569.300 SHU) General info: Since November 2013, the Carolina Reaper variety has held the world record of the worlds hottest chili (Guinness...
Know-How
Cayenne Chili Pepper Cayenne Chili Pepper
Spiciness : 8 (20.000 - 50.000 SHU) General Info: The Cayenne Chili (Capsicum annuum) is a real classic and is one of the most widespread chilies in the world. It...
Know-How
Chiltepin / Tepin Chiltepin / Tepin
Spiciness: 8 - 9 (50.000 - 90.000 SHU) General Info: Chiltepin, also called Tepin or Chiltepin, is the original type of many existing chili varieties of Capsicum annuum....
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Habanero Habanero
(Red, Orange, Purple, Suriname Red, White, Yellow, Chocolate) Spiciness: 10 (to 500.000 SHU) General Info: The Habanero chili ( Capsicum chinense ) is one of the spiciest...
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Jalapeño Jalapeño
Spiciness: 5 - 6 (2.500 - 8.000 SHU) General Info: Jalapenos (Capsicum annuum) are among the most well-known and popular chilies in Mexico and Texas and are mainly...
Know-How
Rocoto Manzano Rocoto Manzano
Spiciness : 8 (30.000 - 50.000 SHU) General Info : In South America, Rocoto is the common name for chilies of the Capsicum pubescens species, and “Manzano”...
Know-How
Scotch Bonnet Scotch Bonnet
Spiciness: 10 (100.000 - 350.000 SHU) General Info: The Scotch Bonnet chilies are some of to the spiciest chilies in the world, and are the Caribbean form of the...
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Serrano Serrano
Spiciness : 6 (5.000 - 20.000 SHU) General Info : The Serrano Chili (Capsicum annuum) originates from Mexico, and its name suggests that it originates from the highlands...
Know-How
Tabasco Tabasco
Spiciness: 8 (30.000 - 50.000 SHU) General Info: Tabasco ( Capsicum frutescens ) has probably been the most famous chili variety in the world for almost 150 years. The...
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