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Capsicum pubescens is a species of the genus Capsicum (pepper), which is found primarily in Central and South America. The name component pubescens means hairy, which refers to the hairy leaves of this pepper. The plants, but especially the fruits, are often referred to as rocoto (Quechua: ruqutu) and locoto (Aymara: luqutu).[1] As they reach a relatively advanced age and the roots lignify quickly, sometimes the familiar name is tree chili. Of all the domesticated species of peppers, this is the least widespread and systematically furthest away from all others. A very notable feature of this species is its ability to withstand cooler temperatures than other pepper plants.[2]

Physical description

Vegetative characteristics

Like all other species of the genus Capsicum, plants of the species Capsicum pubescens grow as a shrub, but sometimes as climbing plants. They grow into four-meter woody plants relatively quickly, and live up to 15 years, which gives them, especially with age, an almost tree-like appearance.[3] After a first impulse is formed, the plant branches at a height of about 30 cm for the first time, and forms during growth by further dividing into a bushy appearance. More shoots develop from the leaf axils. Some varieties have purple discoloration on the branches, as can be observed in other Capsicum species. The leaves have a 5–12 mm long petiole and a leaf blade ovate to 5–12 cm long, 2.5 to 4 cm wide, tapering at the top and the base is wedge-shaped.[4]

In addition to the relatively long life, Capsicum pubescens differs in many other characteristics from related species. Most striking is the eponymous coat, which is on leaves, stems, and sometimes found on the sepals of the flowers.

Flowers

The flowers appear singly or in pairs (rarely up to four) on the shoots, and the branches are at about 1 cm long flower stems, which extend on the fruit to around 4–5 cm. The cup is filled with five triangular pointed teeth, which have in the fruit of a length of about 1 mm. Distinct characteristic to other cultivated species of the genus Capsicum are the blue-violet-colored petals, used for the center part brighter. Although just as impressive in other ways – such as Capsicum annuum – isolated from varieties with purple flowers, but often only the edges of the petals colored. Sometimes the crown leaves are hood-shaped, the intertwined portions of the crown leaves are folded clear. The anthers are stained purple

Distribution and native habitat

In the wild

The natural range of Capsicum Pubescens is primarily north-western South America, as well as southern Central America. It is believed to have evolved from other, more primitive Capsicum species also occurring in the same area.[6]

In agriculture

C. pubescens is grown almost exclusively as the variety “Rocoto” and is a popular form of chilli with the people of the area. While there are other pubescens varieties, most are not cultivated and remain wild. Furthermore, most of these are now relatively scarce.

 

Written on February 29th, 2012 , Botany, Vegetables Tags:

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