CAPSICUM annuum 'Cappa White-red'( Cerasiforme Group, CAPPA SERIES)
Plant Common Name
Cappa White-Red Ornamental Chile, Ornamental Chili Pepper
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The pretty, small, colorful fleshy fruits of the ‘Cappa White-Red’ of cherry pepper are mostly grown as ornamentals and cut branches of ivory, orange and red fruits for the florist trade. Fruits of the Cerasiforme group of peppers are generally edible, but they are not often evaluated for hotness or flavor. Care must be taken with plants grown by nurseries for ornamental purposes; they may have been treated with pesticides or other chemicals not suitable for edible plants.
Originating from the tropical Americas, these annuals have been grown and selected by Native Americans since pre-history times. In fact, their specific region of origin is still unknown due to distribution by man. Peppers became available to Europeans when the new and old worlds connected. Since then, many unique selections have been developed in Europe—particularly in warm Mediterranean countries like Spain, France and Italy where they grow well.
Cherry peppers are bushy well-branched plants with rigid stems and thin, often broad, dark green leaves. The branches of the Cappa Series plants are particularly thick and suitable for cutting. Their flowers are inconspicuous, five-petaled and white. Cappa White-Red cherry peppers are small pointed, thick and firm with fleshy-skin. The branches often have peppers of varying ages and colors including ivory, orange and red. On the interior they are divided by spongy ribbing which supports many small, flattened, rounded seeds.
Cherry pepper fruits generally have a pungent taste, young green fruits are sharper and mature are sweeter, overall cherry peppers may be hot or sweet depending on variety. Their heat is produced by a chemical called capsaicin measured in Scoville units against the Scoville scale. The purer the capsaicin, the hotter the pepper and the higher the Scoville rating. Pepper seeds carry more heat than the flesh of the fruit, so keep this in mind when cooking with them. Put a few aside for preserving, cherry peppers are particularly suited for pickling.
Peppers are warm season vegetables that are easy to grow. Full sun, warmth, fertile, perfectly drained soil and regular feeding are required for good growth and fruit production. Peppers generally take 60 to 90 days to harvest and can be grown year ‘round in frost-free zones. Some vascular wilts and fungal problems can befall them, but overall they are not needy. Proper spacing will keep diseases at bay and help with fruit production, so plant according to the grower’s guidelines.
Cherry peppers are ornamental too; enjoy them as bedding or container plants as well as vegetable garden standards.
For more information about the Scoville Scale see http://www.chilliworld.com/FactFile/Scoville_Scale.asp