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Saturday, December 20, 2003

Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum (Bird Pepper).

last week darin brought me an unknown plant from a friend's property near austin. it had been growing in the underbrush and its sparse leaves made it look ratty. however, it was covered with tiny, bright red berries so i had him put it in a temporary container until i could decide what to do with it.

today i squished one of the berries -- they are tiny, pearl sized -- with my finger. not much came out, just a little juice and a few seeds. looking at the seeds, i realized that they looked just like pepper seeds.

i've read about chile pequin, aka "bird pepper,"  and know they grow wild in texas, but i've never seen either plant or fruit.

now, i'm an incredibly cautious person and have a very healthy respect for what i don't know. totally against character, i touched the squished berry to my tongue. only a teensy bit.

holy cow, it was HOT! my lips were on fire for twenty minutes. these are much hotter than serranos.

drinking lots of milk does alleviate the burn.

i didn't think chile pequin had any use beyond providing food for birds (certainly reason enough for existence), but it turns out that they are attractive small perennials and can be used as an ornamental.

they can also be used in salsas, soups, and such, but i would use with great caution.

now that i know what it is, i'll definitely be keeping this plant. somewhere.

more chile pequin info:

Posted by Erica Bess Duncan in Edibles, Ornamentals | Permalink

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Comments

I had one of those pequin pepper plants sprout as if by magic in my tiny garden at my old home in Houston the summer before last. The plant gree about 3 feet tall and wide, kinda globe shaped, and it was loaded with tiny peppers that all started turning red at about the same time. They looked like pretty red berries, and I was really grateful that my little boy didn't ever toddle over to grab a handful.

Posted by: Uncle Bob | Dec 23, 2003 11:28:07 AM

from the pictures i've found, it is a very cute little plant. and the berries / peppers are quite festive. but i'm sure glad we don't have any little kids who might be tempted!

Posted by: erica | Dec 25, 2003 3:51:13 PM

I remember african pequin peppers when I was missionary in Liberia westAfrica (1967-71). They had such a good hot flavor. Mostly people would boil them in a little water and use it as a flavoring sauce. Do you have plants and seeds available in small quantities? I tried growing some seeds but they would just grow to a two leaf sprout and then wither up and die.

Thanks.

Posted by: George C. Bullwinkle | Apr 24, 2004 7:47:28 PM

Mr. Bullwinkle, I've had the same luck, two leaves, fall over and die. My mom found me some habanero plants in the Texas valley and they are thriving! Promising way too many of the delicious little bombs! I've had the Red Savina variety, bottled pickled, and loved em! Anybody know how I might find plants/seeds to these wonderfully terroristic chile peppers? My wife and I love em on all Mexican dishes and in salsa's, with chips, eggs, hmmm, does this make us "chileheads"? <--- laughing at self! Please let me know if anyone knows of this variety of habanero available in Texas/the states. We also acquired recently some of the little bird peppers. Surprisingly hot, they started an argument as to their name. It was thought they were the Pequin, but thanks to this site, I've found them to be Chiltepin. Love the recipe's posted on here, Thanks, Happy Eating!
God Bless , Dale Blevins

Posted by: Dale Blevins | Aug 22, 2004 10:24:37 AM

what is the best atmosphere for this plant. also how often should you water. is direct sunlight ok.

Posted by: chong | Jun 19, 2006 7:56:20 PM

i had a few pequin peppers given to me from a friend who has them growing wild in his back yard in mexico, he told me the best way to gro them was to just dry out the red peppers and throw them on the dirt kepping them moist, so i tried it and so far i have 21 little plants about 3 inches tall all with 5 sets of leaves, fingers crossed i hope they keep growing ill keep yall posted and post some pics if they mature....

Posted by: lee | Aug 26, 2006 12:47:56 AM

I am looking for a bird pepper plant and have had no luck finding one. Does anyone have any ideas where to purchase one?

Posted by: Rose | Sep 7, 2006 4:43:09 PM

DOES ANYONE HAVE A RECEIPE FOR PICKLING CHILE PETINS OR BIRD PEPPERS

Posted by: joseph tilton | Nov 5, 2006 6:14:19 PM

Until recently almost no one has been able to grow chile pequins. Their best method of propagation is by birds. At one time it was thought pequins would only grow if they had a "nurse tree" but my thinking is birds stop in trees after eating pequins and the droppings not only plant the seed but furnish the fertilizer to make it grow quickly. Passing thru the bird's systme must soften the seeds also. When we try to plant the seeds we miss those parts of the propagation. Last year I had some pequin plants in some pots of hibiscus and when I repotted the hibiscus I decided to transplant the pequins and one grew. I have never been able to transplant them. Bill Moran San Diego, TX texaschef.bill@gmail.com

Posted by: Bill Moran | Jan 20, 2007 4:28:43 AM

I've had a lot of luck with bird peppers, my largest plant is about 91/2 feet tall (when I don't cut it back.) I've started the plants out in my green house, and they take off from there.

Once these plants are mature, they are the very easy to maintain.

The larger plants will have to be picked every 3 weeks, or you can use a net to catch the peppers once they have dried and fallen

Posted by: adavis | Feb 22, 2007 3:16:42 PM

my grandmother (she is 97) has been growing bird peppers for years. Bill, I don't know who told you that people can't grow them, but they are wrong. All you have to do is remove the seeds from the pepper, and plant with the lightest of sprinkling of dirt over the seeds. They do take a while to germinate though...

Posted by: Kim | Mar 15, 2007 12:39:25 AM

I live in Pittsburgh and I have been growing these tasty little peppers for years........my first attempt produced a plant that lives 5 years.....I just brought it inside for the winter. I don't fuss with it.....give it plenty of sunlight and water as needed. After 5 years the original plant died, but I just saved the seeds and replanted and now I have a healthy new plant. I have never had any problem growing them.

Posted by: Paula | Jul 8, 2007 5:51:17 PM

My wife and I have 3 pequin plants in our front garden. My sister in law was visiting us one year and popped one in her mouth after I told her they were berries. I think she's still mad about that, it didn't help that she had a cold sore at the time. I'm also interested in pickling these tasty little guys, any ideas?

Posted by: James Delgado | Jul 26, 2007 2:35:06 PM

check out www.darnhotpeppers.com. The guy who owns is is a local guy, he has these little Pequins dried and in tins for sale as gifts. I opened one and took a big sniff and WOW, instant tears. Pretty darn hot for being so small....

Posted by: Jon | Aug 2, 2007 4:24:28 PM

I have several seeds from dried peppers from back home (Bahamas) and planted 5 seeds almost 3 weeks ago in a pot but no luck yet. I planted 3 more seeds 4 days ago. Anyone know about how many days they take to spring?

Posted by: Ian | Feb 21, 2008 11:29:12 AM

I have several seeds from dried peppers from back home (Bahamas) and planted 5 seeds almost 3 weeks ago in a pot but no luck yet. I planted 3 more seeds 4 days ago. Anyone know about how many days they take to spring?

Posted by: Ian | Feb 21, 2008 11:31:46 AM

I have grown these on different occasions and usually start them in the green house before moving them to the garden, I prune often to keep them in check and they usually last a few years before I replant new ones in their place.

Posted by: Conservatory Furniture | Apr 7, 2008 3:55:46 AM

I live in the brushcontry of south texas near alice and chili piquine is as common as maquite and cactus, My advice to someone wanting a chili plant is attract mocking birds and you will wind up with peper plants under your trees sooner or later. they grow in the brush and are as durable as cactus . I like to eat them with crackers and cheese though a few go a long way. :)

Posted by: dale | Aug 17, 2008 9:21:01 PM

I like the capsicum annuum, it tastes better

Posted by: Gardening Seeds | Mar 8, 2009 2:17:10 PM

I remember african pequin peppers when I was missionary in Liberia westAfrica (1967-71). They had such a good hot flavor. Mostly people would boil them in a little water and use it as a flavoring sauce. Do you have plants and seeds available in small quantities?

Thanks.

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Once these plants are mature, they are the very easy to maintain.

The larger plants will have to be picked every 3 weeks, or you can use a net to catch the peppers once they have dried and fallen

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