The tale of “The Cornish Naga”

by Paul Tonkin on October 24, 2010 · 0 comments

in General Information

Paul Tonkin's Cornish Naga

Paul Tonkin's Cornish Naga

I have been growing chillies for a few years now, but recently have been growing more superhot varieties such as various types of Bhut Jolokia, Trinidad Scorpion and 7 pod. I also review all the chillies that I grow on YouTube, as well as other chilli related sauces and products.

This year I purchased some Trinidad Scorpion seeds from Gerald at the Chilli Pepper Company in Cumbria. The seeds were not guaranteed pure strain Scorpion plants, so I was pleased when they all started to produce typical Scorpion pods. One plant, however, produced normal looking pods on the first pod set, then started to produce these longer looking, Naga shaped pods. I assume the Scorpion plant that had produced the seeds for this plant had not been grown in isolation, and cross pollination had occurred, producing these hybrids. Another grower I have heard from has had Trinidad Scorpion pods that look very similar, these had come from seeds from scorpion plants that had been grown alongside Bhut Jolokia, which could possibly be the same cross as these.

This particular plant I had grown in a conservatory, which year upon year has produced amazing results with yields far exceeding anything grown out in the greenhouse. I couldn’t decide on a name to give them, so for now I am going down the same route as the Dorset and calling them The Cornish Naga.

Having tried the chilli and deciding that it was extremely hot, I contacted Leo, who many of you will have seen on the homegrownukchili channel on YouTube. He lives very close to me, so we decided to do a test with the pods, which you can see on the video below:



The pods have a strong fruity taste with floral undertones, and are very juicy. The taste is similar to the Scorpion but there is a definite Naga taste to them too.

Having tried a full pod with Leo, I set about contacting Warwick University HRI, who perform HPLC testing on chillies. Although the tests are not performed to the full criteria as set out by Dr Bosland of the New Mexico State University, they are accurate enough to give a good indication of how hot the chillies were. I didn’t set out to break any records, I just thought it would be interesting to see how hot a chilli I could produce.

I sent an e-mail to Warwick University asking who to contact, and had a reply from Andrew Jukes, the manager of the Mineral Analysis Laboratory. He said he would be happy to test the chillies for me, and asked me to send him a random sample of either fresh or dried pods. I sent him 6 fresh pods which he tested for me and sent me back a spreadsheet showing 1,178,988 SHU on a dry weight basis. I was very happy with the results, as they were slightly higher than the Infinity that Woody has tested recently.

It just goes to show that even a home grower can produce extremely hot pods if grown correctly, in good conditions using quality soil and feed. Like I said before, I was not looking to break any records, and unfortunately the results from Warwick do not count towards the Guinness world record anyway. Also Gerald has just proved that chillies are only going to get hotter and hotter with the recent results of his Naga Viper.

The Cornish Naga, Infinity and Naga Viper are all hybrids / crossed varieties, so in order for Dr Bosland to test them he would need to first stabilise the chilli and then grow it in set conditions for a minimum of three years. In total this could take many years to complete, so realistically it is not going to happen. I believe Dr Bosland is nearly ready to produce official results for the Trinidad Scorpion, which I am looking forward to as I believe it to be hotter than the Bhut Jolokia.

I have saved seeds from the Cornish Naga and will grow them again next year, hopefully they will grow true to this type again and not revert back to normal scorpions. I will test them again next year, hopefully the heat levels will increase, and also I would look to get tests done to determine the exact origins of this extremely hot chilli.

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