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CAPSICUM frutescens 'Calcutta'

Image of Capsicum frutescens 'Calcutta'

James H. Schutte

Family

Solanaceae

Botanical Name

CAPSICUM frutescens 'Calcutta'

Plant Common Name

Tabasco Pepper

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Very hot, spicy and colorful fruits are produced on tabasco pepper variety 'Calcutta'. The slim, 3-inch-long (8 cm) fruits are usually held upright on the leafy branches. The seeds of these peppers may be dried and roasted and then pulverized to make cayenne pepper spice. However, any dried red pepper (regardless of species) today is colloquially known as a cayenne pepper. Tabasco pepper is believed to have origins in northern South America, with native peoples domesticating it centuries ago and widely cultivating it farther north in Central America. 'Calcutta' is a cultivar selected in India.

Calcutta tabasco pepper is a tropical subshrub that is evergreen, but often grown as a herbaceous warm-season annual. The glossy green, oval leaves cover the branching plant. Small white to pale green flowers occur during the warm months. Small, narrow, pointed fruits develop after insect pollination. Fruits are initially pale green but orange and finally a deep shade of red at maturity. Tabasco peppers are rich in capsaicin, the compound that makes their seeds and flesh taste so hot. The hotness is measured in scaled units called Scoville units (Scoville Scale: http://www.chilliworld.com/FactFile/Scoville_Scale.asp). The purer the capsaicin the hotter the pepper and higher the Scoville rating. The pepper’s seeds and inner lining carry more heat than the flesh of the fruit.

Grow 'Calcutta' in full sun and a fertile, moist but well-drained soil enriched with organic matter. Grow it in the vegetable patch. Sow seeds indoors eight weeks before the last spring frost date in your region. Transplant the seedlings outside about two weeks after the final frost. Pepper plants relish heat and humidity, and demonstrate some drought tolerance.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 4

  • 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, Partial Sun

  • Height

    24"-40" / 61.0cm - 101.6cm

  • Width

    18"-30" / 45.7cm - 76.2cm

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    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, Light Green

  • Fruit Color

    Yellow, Red, Orange, Dark Red, Light Green

  • Fruit Color Modifier

    Multi-Color

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • 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

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No