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the web of life in southern Africa

Capsicum frutescens (Bird chilli, Tabasco pepper, Cayenne pepper)

Life > Embryophyta (plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Order: Solanales > Family: Solanaceae

A perennial herb that originates from Central and South America. There are two main cultivars namely 'Tabasco', which is used to make Tabasco sauce, and 'Habanero', which is claimed to be the hottest of all chillis. Cayenne pepper and red pepper are derived from the dried powdered fruits. Capsicum annuum has chilli-like cultivars and in fact most chillis sold in South African vegetable shops are of this species.


  • van Wyk, B.-E. 2005. Food Plants of the World - Identification, Culinary Uses and Nutritional Value. Briza, Pretoria.

Text by Hamish Robertson