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Paul W. Bosland

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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Paul W. Bosland

The genus Capsicum provides a bountiful source of extraordinary genetic diversity with which to improve the cultivated species. Approximately 23 species are recognized within the genus. Five major cultivated species are derived from different ancestral stocks found in three distinct centers of origin. Mexico is the primary center for C. annuum, with Guatemala a secondary center; Amazonian for C. chinense and C. frutescens, and Peru and Bolivia for C. baccatum and C. pubescens. Several wild species are crossable to C. annuum, the most commercialized species. Capsicum inhabits a vast array of ecological zones. The wild species furnish a variation of mating systems, plant–animal interaction, patterns of speciation, and other intriguing biological features. However, their potential value for improvement of Capsicum cultivars is under-exploited. Such genetic resources clearly deserve more intensive investigation.

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Paul W. Bosland

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Paul W. Bosland

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Paul W. Bosland

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Paul W. Bosland

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Paul W. Bosland

During a natural field epidemic of curly top virus, accessions within five species of Capsicum were evaluated for resistance. Accessions were considered resistant if 0% to 25% of the individual plants were devoid of curly top virus symptoms. Resistance was found in three accessions each of C. annuum L. and C. frutescens L. and one accession each of C. chacoense Hunz. and C. chinense Jacq. The resistant C. annuum accessions were `Burpee Chiltepin', `NuMex Bailey Piquin', and `NuMex Twilight', while the C. frutescens resistant accessions were USDA-Grif 9322 from Costa Rica, PI 241675 from Ecuador and `Tabasco'. The resistant C. chacoense accession was PI 273419 from Argentina and the C. chinense resistant accession was USDA-Grif 9303 from Colombia.