In South and Central America, the five domesticated Capsicum species are C. annuum, C. baccatum, C. chinense, C. frutescens, and C. pubescens. The smaller wild C. annuum var. aviculare is also harvested and sold in the marketplace.
C. frutescens has many cultivars, including Piri piri (African birdseye, African devil), Brazilian Malagueta pepper, Tabasco pepper, and Thai pepper (Chili Padi or Siling labuyo).
The most popular generic name for members of C. frutescens is "bird peppers." Well known examples include the Brazilian Malaguete and African Zimbabwe varieties. Fermented Tabasco chili sauce, produced by the Mcllhenny family in Louisiana, is world renowned. The species probably originated from the Amazon Basin in Brazil, where wild Malagueta can be found to this date.
Many C. frutescens varieties are used to make hot sauces, both fresh and fermented, and are used in cuisine in the dried form when fresh supplies are unavailable.
Was this article helpful?