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Varieties of Chilly

Chilly also known as “Mirch” in India originally originated in southern Brazil and eastern Bolivia. Thee seeds of the wild capsicum were first scattered and spread across the Americas by birds. But they were brought back to Europe by Christopher Columbus. Christopher Columbus and his crew collected the seeds and plants and brought them back to Europe where they got popular very quickly and spread rapidly across the world via trade networks. Capsicum plants are grown all over the world across a wide range of temperatures and under the most diverse growing conditions. Capsicum has 25 wild varieties and almost 2,000 – 3,000 different cultivars are grown across the world today. Some of the more common varieties of these are Habanero, jalapeño, cayenne, Serrano, birds eye and poblano. These are just a few. The complete list is exhaustive. Chilli varieties are bred from several different capsicum species. All of these cultivated chilli peppers are variations of 5 main species – C. Annuum, C. Chinense, C. Pubescens, C. Baccatum and C. Frutescens.

1.       C. annum: Annuum are the most common species. It includes Cayenne and Jalapeno as well as bell peppers.

2.       C. chinese: Chinense chilli plants are quite delicate. They are best suited to growing inside. Chinese species includes Habanero chillies along with the Trinidad Scorpion

3.       C. baccatum: Another chilly i.e. Baccatum chillies originate from South America. It can grow upto 5 feet tall. They include the Aji variety.

4.       C. frutescens: Frutescens are from Brazil and the Mexican city of Tabasco (giving its name to the popular variety) and they are a bushy species which grow up to 4 feet.

5.       C. pubescens: Pubescens are also known as Rocoto. They originate from Bolivia. They are hardy plants with a long growing season.

Varieties of Chilli found in India: There are a number of varieties under cultivation which differ in the size, shape, color and pungency of the fruits. The fruits of chilli may be thin and long, large and thick, short and bell- shaped or they may be small and round. The unripe fruits may be of any color i.e. green, creamy, yellow or orange and the ripe fruits may be of different shades of red. In India, two major species i.e. C. annum and C. frutescens are grown and the varieties of C. annum constitute the chief source of the dry chilli for commercial use. The major varieties grown in India include Birds Eye Chilli (Dhani), Byadagi (Kaddi), Ellachipur (Sannam S4 type), Guntur Sannam S4 type, Hindur S7, Jwala, Kanthari White, and Kashmir Chilli etc. Sannam S4 variety is most famous variety having 3 lakh tons a year production and it is also the major variety that is exported outside India.

Birds eye chiili is blood red in color and highly pungent while Byadagi is red in color, less pungent or it may be without pungency. Ellachipur is reddish in color and very hot while in case of Guntur Sannam S4 type, fruit skin is thick and it is hot and red. Hindpur-S7 is red in color, hot and highly pungent type of variety while Jwala is highly pungent, light red in color, short and its seeds are pungent. Kanthari-white variety has short and ivory fruits which are white in color with high pungency. Kashmiri chilli has long and fleshy fruits which are deep red in color. The variety i.e. Madras pari is pure red in color and hot.

Writer :: Jyoti Kaushik      Published on :: 22-Nov-2019

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