CAPSICUM annuum 'Marbles'( Cerasiforme Group)
Plant Common Name
Marbles Ornamental Pepper, Ornamental Pepper
A cherry pepper well suited for both ornamental and culinary purposes, this compact cultivar bears small, round, relatively mild-flavored fruits that change color as they mature. Like all culinary peppers, cherry peppers (known botanically as the Cerasiforme group) trace their origin to the American tropics, where they have been cultivated since pre-Columbian times.
The bushy, calf-high plants bear thin, narrowly oval, medium-green leaves on stiff brittle stems. Inconspicuous white flowers appear in warm weather, followed by small, globular, thick-fleshed fruits that ripen from creamy yellow to orange to fiery red. The hollow, chambered interior is divided by spongy ribbing which supports many small, flattened, rounded seeds, which are hotter than the fruit's mildly spicy flesh. Fruits may be harvested any time after reaching full size.
This warm season vegetable grows easily in favorable conditions. Full sun, warmth, proper spacing, and fertile well-drained soil are required for good growth and fruit production. Vascular wilts and fungal diseases can be a problem in subpar conditions. Peppers ripen 55 to 70 days after transplanting. Plants sold as ornamentals may have been treated with pesticides or other chemicals that render their fruits unsuitable for culinary use.
Cherry peppers are excellent fresh, cooked, or pickled. They're ornamental too, especially in annual plantings and containers. Potted plants will often survive the winter in a warm sunny place indoors.
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. For more information about the Scoville Scale see http://www.chilliworld.com/FactFile/Scoville_Scale.asp