An Introduction to Wild Chillies

by WildChilli on August 12, 2010 · 0 comments

in General Information

Capsicum has been known since the beginning of civilization in the Western Hemisphere. After Columbus returned from his explorations, they were introduced to Europe and other parts of the world, and cultivation of the plant began in Spain and Portugal in the early sixteenth century.

Wild species of capsicum

Wild species of capsicum

The genus Capsicum contains five cultivated species and 23 wild species. Wild species of Capsicum are important genetic resources for Capsicum breeding. Not only are wild species useful in breeding for disease resistance, but they can be used to increase nutritional quality, yield and adaptation to stress. Interspecific hybridization plays an active role in the introgression of needed genes from wild species to commercial cultivars. Investigations of hybridization compatibility between Capsicum species can be helpful in determining the systematic of the genus Capsicum, and consequently, the improvement of cultivated varieties

Wild species of capsicum are the ancestors of all cultivated species which contains more the 3000 varieties. All species of wild capsicums have certain common characteristics: small, pungent, red fruits that may be round, elongate or conical and are attached to the plant in an erect position. The seeds of the deciduous fruits are dispersed by birds that are not affected by the pungency. Wild capsicum flowers have a stigma-bearing style that extends beyond the anthers to facilitate pollination by insects. Domesticated cultivars have short styles that promote self-pollination.

Wild species of capsicum

Wild species of capsicum

When humans began to cultivate the capsicum plant they, unconsciously or perhaps even consciously, selected seed from those fruits that where difficult to remove from the calyx so that birds could not pluck them. Pendent fruits became more desirable, and today most domesticated capsicums have pendent fruits instead of erect. Each time larger fruits where selected, the size and weight increased, which caused the capsicums to become pendent.

Source: Paul Bosland / Jean Andrews

Reg from www.wildchilli.eu has put together this introduction to Wild Chillies, if you would like to know more please visit his web site www.wildchilli.eu.

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