Chiles: A Diverse Crop

in HortTechnology
Paul W. Bosland Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003

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Capsicum, a New World genus, has a richness in diversity that has not received much attention. Along with tomato and potato, chile is one of the important New World crops belonging to the Solanaceae family. The Capsicum fruits are popular and used in cuisines from all over the world. There are many different cultivars, forms, and uses of Capsicum. Most cultivars grown in the United States belong to one species, Capsicum annuum. The species is divided into groups based on fruit shape, flavor, and culinary use. Unfortunately, there is confusion about the names associated with the various fruit types. This article attempts to reduce some of the confusion. Whatever the name, there can be no argument that Capsicum is an amazing plant genus.

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