Friday, February 10, 2012

Chilli variety 'Purple Tiger'

Ornamental Chilli 'Purple Tiger' 
 Capsicum annuum cv.
This is an ornamental variety of chilli which can be eaten though it is not particularly flavourful. The shiny black pendant fruits make a terrific table or plate decorative particularly when teamed with 'Black Russian' tomatoes. In the garden, the creamy grey and pink flecked leaves match well to plants like dark opal basil which has bright magenta coloured flowers. Some silver foliage, from say a Cineraria, the "silver dust" plant, is a good foil to this combination also.
As this is the first summer I have grown this variety,I am assuming it may well keep on fruiting for quite some time and I may just get a second year from the plants if they are kept a bit drier over winter. Other varieties with these black or dark purple fruits include 'Jigsaw' and 'Black Cuban'. 'Purple Tiger' also goes by the name of 'Trifetii'.

Tiger Hunt (detail) depicting Mughal Emperor Akbar (1556-1605)
Victoria and Albert Museum ,London
Akbar is shown on the brown steed beheading the purple tiger with his scimitar. One hopes this is a pure fantasy depiction from the book of his fantastic exploits. The playboy emperor was well aware of the need to appear larger than life to sustain his popularity and dominate his surroundings, though paintings like this could have been used to intensify the experience of being in a cool, sumptuous and safe Mughal garden with its voluptuous sense of luxury.
I am in need of a time machine right now to take me back to the 16th Century Persian style of gardening without the senseless killing of tigers.

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