Capsicum L.


Greek kapto — to bite, referring to the hot taste of some varieties.

Annual, biennial and perennial herbs and soft-wooded shrubs. Leaves alternate or paired, ovate to elliptic, simple, entire. Flowers regular, solitary or several together in the leaf axils. Calyx tubular, with 5 tooth-like lobes or lobes absent. Corolla mostly deeply 5-lobed, white or occasionally greenish or pale violet, lobes wheel-like. Stamens mostly 5, equal, attached at the base of the corolla, bluish and projecting from the flower. Ovary 2-3-chambered. Fruit a dry to fleshy yellow, green, orange or red (occasionally purple or black in cultivars) pod-like berry containing flattened seeds.

Often grown for the attractive low, bushy habit and colourful edible pod-like berries; generally treated as annuals.


Apart from their culinary uses, some varieties are used in the treatment of rheumatic disorders.

Flowers wheel-shaped; fruits the distinctive culinary peppers and capsicums.

10 species from tropical America.

Heiser & Pickersgill (1969), D'Arcy & Eshbaugh (1974), Symon (1981a), J. Andrews (1984), England (1999a, 1999b).

Source: Spencer, R. (2002). Solanaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 4. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 3. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Hero image
kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Asteranae
order      Solanales
family       Solanaceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
species         Capsicum annuum L.