Capsicum pubescens
01 rocoto perupair.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Capsicum
C. pubescens
Binomial name
Capsicum pubescens
  • Brachistus lanceifolius Miers
  • Capsicum annuum var. violaceum Voss
  • Capsicum lanceifolium (Miers) Kuntze
Rocoto pepper
Heat Very hot
Scoville scale50,000–250,000 SHU
Countries in which C. pubescens is grown

Capsicum pubescens is native to Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador[2] and dates back to pre-Incan times; traces of its presence have been found in the Guitarrero Caves. The existence of Capsicum pubescens was documented by ancient Peruvians of the Paracas, Nazca, Moche, and Chimu cultures, through textiles, ceramics, and domestic remains. This chili pepper is the most important ingredient of the Bolivian sauce llajwa. It is also considered the flagship of Peru and it is consumed fresh, paste, dried, or ground. It belongs to a species of the genus Capsicum (pepper), and is known in Peru and Ecuador as rocoto (Quechua,[3][4] rukutu, ruqutu'), locoto in Bolivia and Argentina (Aymara,[5] luqutu)[6] and as the manzano pepper in Mexico [7] which means 'apple' for its apple-shaped fruit. This species is found primarily in Central and South America, and is known only in cultivation.[8] The species name, pubescens, means hairy, which refers to the hairy leaves of this pepper. The hairiness of the leaves, along with the black seeds, distinguish this species from others.[9] As they reach a relatively advanced age and the roots lignify quickly, sometimes they are called tree chili. Of all the domesticated species of peppers, this is the least widespread and systematically furthest away from all others. It is reproductively isolated from other species of the genus Capsicum.[8] A very notable feature of this species is its ability to withstand cooler temperatures than other cultivated pepper plants,[10] although it cannot withstand frost.[9]


Vegetative characteristics[edit]

Like all other species of the genus Capsicum, plants of the species Capsicum pubescens grow as a shrub, but sometimes as climbing plants. They grow into four-meter woody plants relatively quickly, and live up to 15 years, which gives them, especially with age, an almost tree-like appearance.[11] After a first impulse is formed, the plant branches at a height of about 30 cm for the first time, and forms during growth by further dividing into a bushy appearance. More shoots develop from the leaf axils. Some varieties have purple discoloration on the branches, as can be observed in other Capsicum species. The leaves have a 5–12 mm long petiole and a leaf blade ovate to 5–12 cm long, 2.5 to 4 cm wide, tapering at the top and the base is wedge-shaped.[12]

In addition to the relatively long life, Capsicum pubescens differs in many other characteristics from related species.


The flowers appear singly or in pairs (rarely up to four) on the shoots, and the branches are at about 1 cm long flower stems, which extend on the fruit to around 4–5 cm. The calyx has five triangular pointed teeth, which have in the fruit a length of about 1 mm. A characteristic different from other cultivated species of the genus Capsicum is the blue-violet-colored petals, brighter in the centre. The anthers are partly purple, partly white.[8]


Capsicum pubescens is found in cultivation primarily in Bolivia and Peru where it likely originated[13] as well as Mexico and Central America.[14] It is believed to have evolved from other, more primitive Capsicum species also occurring in the same area.[citation needed] C. pubescens grows at higher elevations than other species, and cannot survive the tropical heat in the lowlands.[10][15]

There are several cultivars of C. pubescens; most are rarely cultivated, and are now relatively scarce.[citation needed]

Cultivars include 'Canário' (yellow), 'Rojo' (red), 'Perón' (pear-shaped), Orange [7] and 'Rocoto Longo'.[9]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Plant List".
  2. ^ "Chilli Plants: Capsicum Pubescens". World of Chillies. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  3. ^ Teofilo Laime Ajacopa, Diccionario Bilingüe Iskay simipi yuyayk'ancha, La Paz, 2007 (Quechua-Spanish dictionary)
  4. ^ Diccionario Quechua - Español - Quechua, Academía Mayor de la Lengua Quechua, Gobierno Regional Cusco, Cusco 2005 (Quechua_Spanish dictionary) (5-vowel-system)
  5. ^ Teodoro Marka M., Nociones básicas de lengua Aymara
  6. ^ Dr. Sergio Zapata Acha, Editor: Diccionario de Gastronomia Peruana Tradicional. Universidad de San Martin de Pores Archived October 9, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Lima, Peru ISBN 9972-54-155-X.
  7. ^ a b Redwood City Seed Company Catalog of Ecoseeds
  8. ^ a b c Livsey, Julian. "Capsicum Genus Guide". Chileman Guides. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
  9. ^ a b c Dave DeWitt and Paul W. Bosland (2009). The Complete Chile Pepper Book: A Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking. Timber Press. ISBN 978-0881929201.
  10. ^ a b National Research Council (U.S.). Advisory Committee on Technology Innovation (1989). Lost crops of the Incas: little-known plants of the Andes with promise for worldwide cultivation. National Academies. pp. 196–197. ISBN 9780309042642. NAP:14292. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  11. ^ Kosmix Staff, None. "Rocoto Pepper". Chilli Articles. Retrieved 7 May 2011.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Duffy, Jim. "Capsicum Pubescens". Chilli Guides. Refining Fire Chillies. Archived from the original on 2015-02-21. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
  13. ^ Meckelmann, Sven W.; Jansen, Christian; Riegel, Dieter W.; van Zonneveld, Maarten; Ríos, Llermé; Peña, Karla; Mueller-Seitz, Erika; Petz, Michael (2015-12-01). "Phytochemicals in native Peruvian Capsicum pubescens (Rocoto)". European Food Research and Technology. 241 (6): 817–825. doi:10.1007/s00217-015-2506-y. ISSN 1438-2385. S2CID 98994557.
  14. ^ Bosland, Paul W.; Votava, Eric J.; Votava, Eric M. (2012). Peppers: Vegetable and Spice Capsicums. CABI. ISBN 978-1-84593-825-3.
  15. ^ Grubben, G. J. H. (2004). Vegetables. PROTA. pp. 155, 156.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]