Capsicum L.

First published in Sp. Pl.: 188 (1753)
This genus is accepted
The native range of this genus is Mexico to Tropical America.

Descriptions

Flora Zambesiaca. Vol. 8, Part 4. Solanaceae. Gonçalves AE. 2005

Morphology General Habit
Annual or short-lived perennial herbs, rarely shrubby, often ± divaricately branched, unarmed, glabrous or pubescent with simple eglandular or glandular hairs Annual or short-lived perennial herbs, rarely shrubby, often ± divaricately branched, unarmed, glabrous or pubescent with simple eglandular or glandular hairs.
Morphology Leaves
Leaves alternate, often 2 or 3 appearing together, mainly towards the ends of branches, abruptly or gradually tapering into a slightly winged petiole, mostly entire, to weakly dentate; minor leaves sometimes present Leaves alternate, often 2 or 3 appearing together, mainly towards the ends of branches, abruptly or gradually tapering into a slightly winged petiole, mostly entire, to weakly dentate; minor leaves sometimes present.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers 1–few, extra-axillary, leaf-opposed or appearing axillary, actinomorphic Flowers 1–few, extra-axillary, leaf-opposed or appearing axillary, actinomorphic.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx short, broadly campanulate to shortly tubular, 5(7)-ribbed, truncate, entire or 5(7)- or 10-dentate; teeth short, setaceous, often splitting at the sutures; in fruit usually slightly enlarged Calyx short, broadly campanulate to shortly tubular, 5(7)-ribbed, truncate, entire or 5(7)- or 10-dentate; teeth short, setaceous, often splitting at the sutures; in fruit usually slightly enlarged.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla purple to bluish, yellowish, white or greenish, sometimes spotted, rotate to widely campanulate; tube short; limb plicate, deeply 5(7)-lobed, the lobes never overlapping in bud, with induplicate-valvate or valvate aestivation Corolla purple to bluish, yellowish, white or greenish, sometimes spotted, rotate to widely campanulate; tube short; limb plicate, deeply 5(7)-lobed, the lobes never overlapping in bud, with induplicate-valvate or valvate aestivation.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens 5(7), variously inserted in the corolla tube, ± exserted; anthers oblong or cordate, connivent or free, basifixed, the ± parallel thecae dehiscing by longitudinal slits Stamens 5(7), variously inserted in the corolla tube, ± exserted; anthers oblong or cordate, connivent or free, basifixed, the ± parallel thecae dehiscing by longitudinal slits.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Disc
Disk inconspicuous or none Disk inconspicuous or none.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Ovary
Ovary 2(4)-locular; ovules hemicampylotropous, numerous in each locule, on a placenta adnate to the dissepiment or arising from the central angle of 2 dissepiments at the base.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Style
Style filiform.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Stigma
Stigma capitate or slightly dilated, obsoletely 3-lobed or difformed
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Pistil
Ovary 2(4)-locular; ovules hemicampylotropous, numerous in each locule, on a placenta adnate to the dissepiment or arising from the central angle of 2 dissepiments at the base; style filiform; stigma capitate or slightly dilated, obsoletely 3-lobed or difformed.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit a berry, extremely variable in size and shape, seated on a flat or cupular calyx and greatly exceeding it, juiceless or somewhat juicy, incompletely 2–3(or rarely 1)-locular, sometimes with large air spaces in the locules, usually acrid. Fruit a berry, extremely variable in size and shape, seated on a flat or cupular calyx and greatly exceeding it, juiceless or somewhat juicy, incompletely 2–3(or rarely 1)-locular, sometimes with large air spaces in the locules, usually acrid
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds numerous, small, flat, compressed, suborbicular or ± reniform, with thickened margin; testa reticulate-rugose or almost smooth; embryo strongly curved or circinnate, subperipheral in the abundant, fleshy endosperm; radicle terete, as wide as the semi-terete cotyledons. Seeds numerous, small, flat, compressed, suborbicular or ± reniform, with thickened margin; testa reticulate-rugose or almost smooth; embryo strongly curved or circinnate, subperipheral in the abundant, fleshy endosperm; radicle terete, as wide as the semi-terete cotyledons
[FZ]

M. Thulin et al. Flora of Somalia, Vol. 1-4 [updated 2008] https://plants.jstor.org/collection/FLOS

Morphology General Habit
Herbs or shrubs, with indumentum of simple hairs
Morphology Leaves
Leaves alternate or in pairs, simple, entire or sinuate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers solitary or clustered in leaf axils
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx campanulate or tubular, shortly toothed, not or only slightly enlarged in fruit
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Corolla campanulate or rotate, divided halfway or more
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens inserted at top of corolla-tube, exserted; anthers dehiscing longitudinally
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Ovary
Ovary 2–3-celled, with numerous ovules; style slender, stigma capitate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit a berry
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds compressed.
Distribution
Genus of some 40 species, all native in South America.
[FSOM]

Solanaceae, Jennifer M Edmonds. Oliganthes, Melongena & Monodolichopus, Maria S. Vorontsova & Sandra Knapp. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2012

Morphology General Habit
Annual or perennial herbs or slender shrubs, sometimes clambering
Morphology Leaves
Leaves alternate or opposite when one often smaller, stipulate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences axillary to leaf-opposed, fasciculate with 2–8 flowers or solitary-flowered, pedicellate; flowers actinomorphic; pedicels erect though sometimes apically geniculate in flower, erect or recurved in fruit
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx cyathiform to campanulate, often truncate, with 5(–10) lobes often prolonged through the calyx as prominent veins, slightly accrescent and persistent but not enlarged in fruit; sometimes with an annular thickening basally. Corolla campanulate-rotate to stellate with short tube and deeply lobed; lobes valvate in bud, usually spreading after anthesis
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens 5, usually equal; filaments joined to corolla tube, sometimes by two conspicuous short, thick lateral basal appendages, glabrous; anthers connivent, basifixed, exserted. Ovary usually sessile, glabrous, bior tri-locular, ovules numerous; disc small or absent, annular; style filiform, often exserted; stigma capitate, globose, sometimes bilobed
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit dryish or sub-fleshy berries, 2- to 3- locular with large mesocarpellar cells, erect or drooping
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds rugose, reniform to suborbicular, compressed, numerous
Note
The literature and nomenclature surrounding these species, their varieties and cultivars is vast, complex and controversial with some authors still disagreeing over the treatment of various taxa, and even their common names. The history of their spread from the centres of origin to the rest of the world, and their early taxonomic treatments are given in Irish (1898), while Heiser & Smith (in Econ. Bot. 7: 214–227 (1953)), Heiser & Pickersgill (in Taxon 18: 277–283 (1969) & in Baileya 19: 151–156 (1975)) and D’Arcy & Eshbaugh (in Baileya 19: 93–105 (1974)) for example, all deal with successive treatments of the cultivated peppers and their complicated synonymy. The latest resumé of the generic taxonomy is given in Bosland & Zewdie (2001). These species display considerable variability in the shape and colour of their fruits, with the characteristic pungency being due to capsaicinoids, a mixture of seven phenolic amides or vanillilamides, which are unique to peppers (cf. Hunziker, 2001), and are concentrated in the seeds and inner surfaces of the fruits. Bosland & Zwedie (2001) found that capsaicinoid profiles were not consistent within species and therefore of limited use as chemotaxonomic identifiers. In addition to their pungent culinary value, these substances are also used medicinally - usually internally as a carminative and stimulant, and for flatulence and appetite loss, though they can cause skin irritation and blistering. A summary of the wide range of medicinal uses of these plants is given by Heiser (in Nightshades: 6–27 (1969)). Birds are thought to be immune from the pungent capsaicin in the fruit pods which prevents animals from eating them, but enhances dispersal by fruit-eating birds. The generic name, adapted from the Greek kapto, meaning to bite, refers to the hot taste of the fruits. The cultivated species are also widely consumed as a vegetable with the fruits providing a rich source of vitamins A and C, and occasionally grown as ornamentals. Though peppers rarely constitute an important commercial crop anywhere in Africa (Eshbaugh, 1983), in the US the sweet pepper crop in particular is very important commercially, with many varieties being grown ( cf. Heiser, 1969). Capsicum is an economically important genus whose species are major spice and vegetable crops throughout the world. They are universally known as peppers or as cayenne, chilli, sweet, green and red peppers and are probably the most important and widely consumed condiment. The introduction of Capsicum to Africa probably occurred through a combination of postColombian explorers, missionary work, colonial invasion, and trade ( cf. Eshbaugh, 1983); by the mid-1800’s there were reports of these species in various African countries. “Morogoro Chillies” otherwise known as ‘Habaneros’ or ‘Scotch Bonnets’, are apparently popular in East African cuisine, but these plants seem to be confined to cultivation. They are cultivars of C. chinense Jacq. and though they may occur as escapes in some regions, this species has not been encountered during this revision. Though some East African specimens have been identified as C. baccatum L., this species has not been positively identified from this region (see Excluded species, at the end of this genus). Hunziker (2001) considered that the genus comprised a natural assemblage of around 20 species and a few varieties, growing from Mexico to Central Argentina. Five of the species were domesticated, of which two, C. annuum and C. frutescens, are widely cultivated throughout Africa, while a third, C. baccatum has remained largely confined to South America, occasionally occurring as an introduction in Africa.
[FTEA]

Common Names

English
Pepper

Sources

  • Flora Zambesiaca

    • Flora Zambesiaca
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Flora of Somalia

    • Flora of Somalia
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Flora of Tropical East Africa

    • Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

    • Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2023. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2022 World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
  • Kew Living Collection Database

    • Common Names from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Living Collection https://www.kew.org/
  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2023. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2022 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
  • Kew Science Photographs

    • Copyright applied to individual images