Bird Pepper (Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum)

Bird Pepper (Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum)

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Bird Pepper is a highly-ornamental perennial evergreen shrub with generally ovate leaves and green-to-red ellipsoidal berries. Florida’s sole “true” pepper, the Bird Pepper can be found growing native in Florida, Texas, Central America, Northern South America, and the Caribbean. 

This Solanaceae (Nightshade) family member is related to our Litchi Tomatoes and Thai Eggplants and is a relatively easy-to-maintain shrub! 

Generally pest free, you’ll find these Bird Peppers growing wild in citrus groves of South Florida where they have the nickname Grove Pepper. Their year-round white blossoms make them easy to spot. Their five-lobed, solitary ¼ inch blooms are favored by bees and their under-ripe fruits are beloved by birds. 

Once the Bird Peppers ripen to red, they are favored by chefs seeking a spicy chili punch! Typically, their chili-forward spice measures between 50,000-100,000 units on the Scoville scale. This range makes them perfect for hot sauces ranging in heat from cayenne to habanero! Bringing a nice vitamin A and C rich benefit, their spice is sure to clear out your sinuses too! Try to make them into a sauce or dry them into a powder seasoning.

Common Names:  
Bird Pepper, Annual Peppers of the Birds, Chiltecpin, Grove Peppers, Chile Pequin

Native to: 
Florida, Texas, Central America, Northern South America, the Caribbean

Traditional Uses: 
Culinary

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Plant Type:
Perennial Evergreen Shrub, can be grown as annuals in cooler climates.

Harvest Season:
Flowers Year-Round
Fruits in Winter

Mature Size:
3-10 ft tall

Soil & Moisture:
Rich, well-draining soil with a calcareous, sandy or clay soil. Drought tolerant. Cannot tolerate long-lasting freezes.

Light Requirements:
Full Sun to Part Shade

Self-Fertile: 
Yes

Growth Rate: 
Fast

Zone Hardiness: 
Grown as a perennial outdoors 8b-11 with frost protection.  Grown as an annual in cooler climates.  Patio/Greenhouse zones 4+ 

Propagation: 
Grown from seed and capable of producing fruit in its first growing season

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