Capsicum frutescens
Tabasco peppers
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Capsicum
C. frutescens
Binomial name
Capsicum frutescens

Capsicum frutescens is a wild chili pepper having genetic proximity to the cultivated pepper Capsicum chinense native to Central and South America.[2] Pepper cultivars of C. frutescens can be annual or short-lived perennial plants. Flowers are white with a greenish white or greenish yellow corolla, and are either insect- or self-pollinated. The plants' berries typically grow erect; ellipsoid-conical to lanceoloid shaped. They are usually very small and pungent, growing 10–20 millimetres (0.39–0.79 in) long and 3–7 millimetres (0.12–0.28 in) in diameter.[3] Fruit typically grows a pale yellow and matures to a bright red, but can also be other colors. C. frutescens has a smaller variety of shapes compared to other Capsicum species. C. frutescens has been bred to produce ornamental strains because of its large quantities of erect peppers growing in colorful ripening patterns.[2]


Green Capsicum frutescens


Capsicum frutescens includes the following cultivars and/or varieties:

Hybrids and landraces

Origins and distribution

Capsicum frutescens 'Siling Labuyo' from the Philippines, showing the distinctive erect habit of C. frutescens fruits

The Capsicum frutescens species likely originated in South or Central America. It spread quickly throughout the tropical and subtropical regions in this area and still grows wild today.[8] Capsicum frutescens is native to Central America and Northern and Western South America. C. frutescens may be related to C. chinense.[9]



Capsicum frutescens 'Hidalgo' flowers

According to Richard Pankhurst, C. frutescens (known as barbaré) was so important to the national cuisine of Ethiopia, at least as early as the 19th century, "that it was cultivated extensively in the warmer areas wherever the soil was suitable."[10] Although it was grown in every province, barbaré was especially extensive in Yejju, "which supplied much of Showa as well as other neighbouring provinces". He singles out the upper Golima River valley as almost entirely devoted to cultivating this plant, where thousands of acres were devoted to the plant and it was harvested year-round.[11]


This pepper is common in eastern and southern India where it grows readily in a favorable climate. It is known locally by various common names.[12]


Siling labuyo, the local cultivar of C. frutescens in the Philippines, developed from plants introduced during the Spanish colonial era. The fruits are widely used for making traditional dips (sawsawan), spiced vinegar (like sinamak), and condiments like palapa. They are also commonly added to various dishes. The leaves are also eaten as a leafy vegetable, most notably in the soup dish tinola.[13][14][15][16]

Capsaicin, the main chemical substance responsible for the hot sensation


Helicoverpa assulta is one of very few insects that can successfully feed on the red pepper because it can tolerate capsaicin.[17]

See also


  1. ^ Azurdia, C., Aguilar-Meléndez, A., Cerén-López, J., Contreras, A. & Menjívar, J. 2020. Capsicum frutescens (amended version of 2017 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T110057309A172968369. Downloaded on 11 October 2021.
  2. ^ a b Carvalho, S. I. C.; Ragassi, C. F.; Bianchetti, L. B.; Reifschneider, F. J. B.; Buso, G. S. C.; Faleiro, F. G. (2014-09-12). "Morphological and genetic relationships between wild and domesticated forms of peppers (Capsicum frutescens L. and C. chinense Jacquin)" (PDF). Genetics and Molecular Research. 13 (3): 7447–7464. doi:10.4238/2014.September.12.11. ISSN 1676-5680. PMID 25222244.
  3. ^ "Capsicum frutescens: info from PIER (PIER species info)". Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  4. ^ "Postharvest Handling Technical Bulletin : PEPPERS" (PDF). October 2003. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  5. ^ Stevens, Alan M. (2004-01-01). A Comprehensive Indonesian-English Dictionary. PT Mizan Publika. ISBN 9789794333877.
  6. ^ "Tjabe Rawit information (German)". Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  7. ^ Atlas tumbuhan obat Indonesia (in Indonesian). Niaga Swadaya. 2008-01-01. ISBN 9789796610655.
  8. ^ "Capsicum frutescens". The Chillies. SoilMates. Archived from the original on 4 March 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  9. ^ Russo, Vincent M. (2012). Peppers: Botany, Production and Uses. Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International. p. 17. ISBN 9781845937676. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  10. ^ Richard Pankhurst, Economic History of Ethiopia (Addis Ababa: Haile Selassie I University, 1968), p. 193.
  11. ^ Pankhurst, Economic History, p. 194
  12. ^ "Digital Flora of Eastern Ghats - IISc". Archived from the original on 2020-08-11. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  13. ^ DeWitt, D.; Bosland, P.W. (2009). The Complete Chile Pepper Book: A Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking. Timber Press. ISBN 978-0881929201.
  14. ^ Ponseca, Nicole; Trinidad, Miguel. "Filipino-Style Spiced Vinegar". epicurious. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  15. ^ "PINAY LIFESTYLE: Filipino dishes not complete without the "sawsawan" (dips) - The Complete "Sawsawan" Guide: Bulacan, Philippines". Filipina Women's Network. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  16. ^ "A Guide to Filipino Sawsawan (Dipping Sauces)". Primer. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  17. ^ Ahn, Seung-Joon; Badenes-Pérez, Francisco R.; Heckel, David G. (September 2011). "A host-plant specialist, Helicoverpa assulta, is more tolerant to capsaicin from Capsicum annuum than other noctuid species". Journal of Insect Physiology. 57 (9): 1212–1219. doi:10.1016/j.jinsphys.2011.05.015. PMID 21704632.