Sunday, March 3, 2013

Capsicum pubescens 'Canario'

Capsicum pubescens 'Canario'
 It is the chilli ripening time of year and many of the varieties which I have had for years languish in pots in some odd corner awaiting garden space or spare time to nurture and plant out. Even these neglected ones still produce fruit and I look on in reverence knowing they go off the heat scale for me to even dare try, as I swear "siete caldos", hot enough to season seven soups or "caballo", because the heat of the pod kicks like a horse, when I pass them over for the milder 'lipstick' or 'bullet' types.
Capsicum pubescens has a history going back some 6000 years when it was domesticated by the Incas in the ancient capital of Cuzco in Peru. It is a high altitude species and forms a shrubby plant with arching branches to over a metre clothed in soft hairy leaves and conspicuous purple star shaped flowers. Cutting open a mature pod reveals many black seeds which is a way of distinguishing this species from other chilli. It will tolerate low winter temperatures and usually re-shoots after frost damage. Perfect to grow in a decorative pot in a courtyard or kitchen garden as they do in the highlands of Mexico and Peru.

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