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CAPSICUM annuum 'Purple Flash'

Image of Capsicum annuum 'Purple Flash' (Cerasiforme Group)

James Burghardt

Family

Solanaceae

Botanical Name

CAPSICUM annuum 'Purple Flash'( Cerasiforme Group)

Plant Common Name

Ornamental Pepper, Purple Flash Ornamental Pepper

General Description

Grown primarily as an ornamental plant, the Purple Flash cherry pepper is noted for its dark-hued foliage, compact vigorous growth, and black marble-sized fruit. 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, oval, black-purple leaves on stiff brittle stems. New leaves are splashed with white and bright purple. Small, starry, purple flowers (rather than the typical white) appear in warm weather, followed by small, globular, glossy jet-black fruit. The fruits are edible but extremely hot. The hollow, chambered interior is divided by spongy ribbing which supports many small, flattened, rounded seeds, which are hotter than the fruit's flesh. Plants sold as ornamentals, such as 'Purple Flash', may have been treated with pesticides or other chemicals that render their fruits unsuitable for culinary use.

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. Pepper plants are killed by frost, but can be short-lived perennials in tropical regions.

This cherry pepper makes an excellent choice for 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

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

    13"-15" / 33.0cm - 38.1cm

  • Width

    19"-21" / 48.3cm - 53.3cm

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Summer, Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Mexico, Central America, South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Purple, Lavender

  • Fruit Color

    Purple, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    White, Purple, Dark Green, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    White, Purple, Dark Green, Black

  • Foliage Color (Summer) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    White, Purple, Dark Green, Black

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    White, Purple, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • 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

    Matte

  • 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

    No