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CAPSICUM annuum 'Fish'

Image of Capsicum annuum 'Fish' (Longum Group)

James H. Schutte

Family

Solanaceae

Botanical Name

CAPSICUM annuum 'Fish'( Longum Group)

Plant Common Name

Fish Ornamental Pepper, Ornamental Pepper

General Description

Red-hot, multi-colored fruits and variegated foliage are among the ornamental and culinary attributes of this heirloom pepper. It originated in the late nineteenth century in the Chesapeake Bay region, where it was prized as a flavoring for seafood stews and chowders. African-American smallholder farmers were among the chief growers of this variety.

Like many hot peppers, 'Fish' is a member of the Longum group, which encompasses poblanos, serranos, jalapenos, cayenne peppers and various other chilis. These annual vegetables descend from varieties that were grown and selected by Native Americans for thousands of years.

The bushy, knee-high plants bear thin, oval, heavily variegated leaves on stiff brittle stems. Inconspicuous white flowers appear in warm weather, followed by pendent, narrowly conical, often crescent-shaped fruits with crisp pungently flavored flesh. The green, cream-striped peppers turn orange and then red as they mature. The hollow, chambered interior is divided by spongy ribbing which supports many small, flattened, rounded seeds, which are hotter than the fruit's flesh. Fruits may be harvested green or allowed to mature to full color.

This heirloom pepper grows easily in favorable conditions. Full sun, warmth, ample spacing, and fertile well-drained soil are required for good growth and fruit production. It also makes an ornamental and flavorful addition to container plantings. Harvest of green 'Fish' peppers begins about 60 days after seedlings are planted, with fruits maturing to red about 15 days later. Harvest continues until hard frost, or into winter in frost-free conditions. Vascular wilts and fungal diseases can be a problem in subpar conditions. Pinch off early flower buds to encourage stronger branching and roots. Heavily fruiting plants may break apart under the weight if not staked for support. Harvest ripe fruit daily to encourage new blossoms to form. This hot pepper is delicious (but spicy) in sauces and stews.

Hot peppers get their heat from the compound capsaicin – the higher its concentration, the hotter the pepper. Capsaicin concentration is measured and expressed in Scoville units. The Scoville rating of 'Fish' is 40,000 to 70,000 units. For more information about the Scoville Scale see http://www.chilliworld.com/FactFile/Scoville_Scale.asp

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    20"-25" / 50.8cm - 63.5cm

  • Width

    15"-20" / 38.1cm - 50.8cm

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Mexico, Central America, South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    White, Yellow, Red, Green, Purple, Orange, Yellow Green, Brown, Ivory

  • Fruit Color Modifier

    Bicolor, Multi-Color, Striped/Striated

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    White, Green, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    White, Dark Green, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Summer) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    White, Dark Green, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Fall) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes