The most wide spread of the five cultivated Capsicum species, and also the most diverse. This diversity of plant habit, the size, shape, colour and flavour of the chillies, of leaf and flower colour, make it very difficult to generalise about the species. At one extreme there are the sweet bell peppers and the Mexican mole chillies, all far larger than the common concept of a chilli, while at the other are the tiny bird peppers and the semi-wild forms. The primitive Capsicum annuum var glabriusculum is easier: very small, fiercely hot red chillies with a delicious smoky flavour more akin to C. frutescens than to a bell pepper.
Many C. annuum cultivars are either ornamentals, or of no particular distinction, but others like Jalapeño are among the most valuable culinary chillies and worth a place in any chilli lovers collection.
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