Peppers

Peppers

Bell pepper (Capsicum annuum)

(c) Bodie Pennisi, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

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Chili fruit

(c) A.M. Varela, icipe

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Pepper

(c) Biovision

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Blossom end rot on chillies

(c) B. Nyambo & A.A. Seif, icipe

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Bacterial wilt on chillies

(c) A.M. Varela, icipe

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Bacterial wilt on chillies

(c) A.M. Varela, icipe

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Bacterial wilt on chillies

(c) A.M. Varela, icipe

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Bacterial wilt on chillies

(c) A.M. Varela, icipe

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Chili plant infected with fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. capsici).

(c) A.A. Seif & B. Nyambo, icipe

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Chilli field infected with fusarium wilt ( Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. capsici ). Note gaps due to death of plants.

(c) A. A. Seif & B. Nyambo, icipe

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Sweet-pepper root infected with fusarium wilt . Note brown discolouration of vascular tissues.

(c) A. A. Seif & B. Nyambo, icipe

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Damping-off disease in chilli field

(c) A. A. Seif & B. Nyambo, icipe

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Damping-off disease in chilli nursery

(c) A. A. Seif & B. Nyambo, icipe

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Initial symptoms of powdery mildew on a chilli leaf.

(c) A. M. Varela & A. A. Seif, icipe.

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Powdery mildew on leaves and fruit of chilli. Note fungal growth on pod.

(c) A. A. Seif & B. Nyambo, icipe

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Tomato spotted wilt virus on chilli

(c) A. A. Seif & B. Nyambo, icipe

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Whiteflies under leaf. Adult whiteflies are about 1mm long.

(c) B. Nyambo, A. A. Seif, icipe

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Fruit fly (Daccus bivittatus) on a chilli pod. Adults are 4-7 mm long.

(c) A. M. Varela, icipe

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Thrips damage on a chilli pod.

(c) A.A. Seif & B. Nyambo, icipe

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Caterpillar damage in chilli fruit

(c) A.M.Varela, icipe

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Caterpillar damage on chilli fruit

(c) A.M. Varela, icipe

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Broad mite Polyphagotarsonemus latus ) damage on chillies

(c) A.M. Varela, icipe

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Broad mite damage (here on chili)

(c) A.M. Varela, icipe

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Chilli plant affected by a virus disease

(c) A. A. Seif, & B. Nyambo, icipe

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Anthracnose (Colletotrichum capsici) on sweet pepper

(c) Courtesy EcoPort (http://www.ecoport.org): J. Kranz

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Bacterial spot of pepper (Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria)

(c) Courtesy EcoPort (http://www.ecoport.org): Volcani Center Archives, Bet Dagan, Israel, www.insectimages.org

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Scientific Name: 

Capsicum spp. (C. annuum, C. frutescens)

Order / Family: 
Solanales: Solanaceae
Local Names: 
Pilipili (Swahili)
Common Names: 
Sweet pepper, Bell pepper, Chilli, Hot pepper
Other pests: Broomrape, Dodder, Sedges

Geographical Distribution in Africa

Geographical Distribution of Peppers in Africa

 

General Information and Agronomic Aspects

Capsicum peppers (mainly Capsicum annuum, Bell pepper and capsicum frutescens, Chilli pepper) are the most popular and most widely used condiment all over the world. The genus Capsicum consists of all the 'chilli pepper plants' with 3-5 wild species and over 2000 cultivars. Its fruits are consumed in fresh, dried or processed form as table vegetable or spice. Capsicum peppers are extensively pickled in salt and vinegar. Colour and flavour extracts are used in both the food and feed industries, for example, ginger beer, hot sauces and poultry feed, as well as for some pharmaceutical products. Sweet, non-pungent capsicum peppers are widely used in the immature, green-mature or mature-mixed-colours stage as a vegetable, especially in the temperate zones. Capsicum extracts show promise against some crop pests.

 

Nutritive Value per 100 g of edible Portion

Raw or Cooked Pepper

Food

Energy (Calories / %Daily Value*)

Carbohydrates (g / %DV) Fat (g / %DV) Protein (g / %DV) Calcium (g / %DV) Phosphorus (mg / %DV) Iron (mg / %DV) Potassium (mg / %DV) Vitamin A (I.U) Vitamin C (I.U) Vitamin B 6 (I.U) Vitamin B 12 (I.U) Thiamine (mg / %DV) Riboflavin (mg / %DV) Ash (g / %DV)
Ancho Pepper dried 281 / 14% 51.4 / 17% 8.2 / 13% 11.9 / 24% 61.0 / 6% 201 / 20% 10.9 / 61% 2411 / 69% 20439 IU / 409% 2.0 / 3% 3.5 / 177% 0.0 / 0% 0.2 / 12% 2.3 / 133% 5.9
Banana Pepper raw 27.0 / 1% 5.3 / 2% 0.5 / 1% 1.7 / 3% 14.0 / 1% 32.0 / 3% 0.5 / 3% 256 / 7% 340 IU / 7% 82.7 / 138% 0.4 / 18% 0.0 / 0% 0.1 / 5% 0.1 / 3% 0.7
Serrano Pepper raw 32.0 / 2% 7.5 / 3% 0.4 / 1% 1.7 / 3% 11.0 / 1% 40.0 / 4% 0.9 / 5% 305 / 9% 937 / 19% 44.9 / 75% 0.5 / 25% 0.0 / 0% 0.1 / 4% 0.1 / 5% 0.9
Green Hot Chili Peppers raw 40.0 / 2% 9.5 / 3% 0.2 / 0% 2.0 / 4% 18.0 / 2% 46.0 / 5% 1.2 / 7% 340 / 10% 1179 IU / 24% 242 / 404% 0.3 / 14% 0.0 / 0% 0.1 / 6% 0.0 / 0% 0.6
Red Hot Chili Pepper raw                40.0 / 2% 8.8 / 3% 0.4 / 1% 1.9 / 4% 14.0 / 1% 43.0 / 4% 1.0 / 6% 322.0 / 9% 952 IU / 19% 144 / 239% 0.5 / 25% 0.0 / 0% 0.1 / 5% 0.0 / 0% 0.9
Jalapeno Peppers raw 30.0 / 2% 6.3 / 2% 0.6 / 1% 1.3 / 3% 10.0 / 1% 31.0 / 3% 0.7 / 4% 215.0 / 6% 799 IU / 16% 44.3 / 74% 0.5 / 25% 0.0 / 0% 0.1 / 10% 0.1 / 3% 0.4
Sweet Green Peppers cooked 28.0 / 1% 6.7 / 2% 0.2 / 0% 0.9 / 2% 9.0 / 1% 18.0 / 2% 0.5 / 3% 166.0 / 5% 468 IU / 9% 74.4 / 124% 0.2 / 12% 0.0 / 0% 0.1 / 4% 0.0 / 2% 0.3
Sweet Green Pepper raw 20.0 / 1% 4.6 / 2% 0.2 / 0% 0.9 / 2% 10.0 / 1% 20.0 / 2% 0.3 / 2% 175 / 5% 370 IU / 7% 80.4 / 134% 0.2 / 11% 0.0 / 0% 0.1 / 4% 0.0 / 2% 0.4
Sweet Red Pepper cooked 28.0 / 1% 6.7 / 2% 0.2 / 0% 0.9 / 2% 9.0 / 0% 18.0 / 2% 0.5 / 3% 166.0 / 5% 2941 IU / 59% 171 / 285% 0.2 / 12% 0.0 / 0% 0.1 / 4% 0.0 / 2% 0.3
Sweet Red Pepper raw 31.0 / 2% 6.3 / 2% 0.3 / 0% 1.0 / 2% 7.0 / 1% 26.0 / 3% 0.4 / 2% 211.0 / 6% 3131 IU / 63% 128.0 / 213% 0.3 / 15% 0.0 / 0% 0.1 / 4% 0.1 / 5% 0.5
Sweet Yellow Pepper raw 27.0 / 1% 6.3 / 2% 0.2 / 0% 1.0 / 2% 11.0 / 1% 24.0 / 2% 0.5 / 3% 212.0 / 6% 200 IU / 4% 183 / 306% 0.2 / 8% 0.0 / 0% 0.0 / 2% 0.0 / 1% 0.5

 

*Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower, depending on your calorie needs. 

 

Climate, soil and water management

Climatic requirements and cultural practices for production of sweet peppers and chillies are the same. They also share a same complex of pests and diseases. Capsicum peppers tend to tolerate shade conditions up to 45% of prevailing solar radiation, although shade may delay flowering. Capsicum peppers grow best on well-drained loamy soils at pH 5.5-6.8. They grow at a wide range of altitudes, with rainfall between 600 and 1250 mm. Severe flooding or drought is injurious to most cultivars. Seeds germinate best at 25-30degC. Optimal temperatures for productivity are between 18 and 30degC. C. frutescens are more tolerant to high temperatures. Cooler night temperatures down to 15degC favour fruit setting, although flowering will be delayed as temperatures drop below 25degC. Flower buds will usually abort rather than develop to maturity if night temperatures reach 30degC. Pollen viability is significantly reduced at temperatures above 30degC and below 15degC. 

 

Propagation and planting

Capsicum peppers are propagated by seed. Seeds should be harvested from mature fresh fruit after 2 weeks of ripening after harvest. Seeds remain viable for 2-3 years without special conservation methods if they are kept dry. They rapidly lose viability if they are not properly stored especially at high temperature or humidity. Seed dormancy may occur to a small extent, especially if seed is harvested from under-ripe fruits. Some 200-800 g of seed is required per ha, depending on plant density. When using own seeds, hot-water treat the seeds. 

For information on hot-water treatment of seeds click here. 

Seedbeds are usually covered with straw, leaves or protective tunnels. For better production, seedlings should be transferred to seedling pots (plastic pots, paper cups, banana leaf-rolls, etc.) when the cotyledons are fully expanded. Transplants are planted out in the field at the 8-10 true leaf stage, usually 30-40 days after sowing. Hardy transplants can be produced by restricting water and removing shade protection, starting 4-7 days before transplantingTransplanting should be done during cloudy days or in the late afternoon, and should be followed immediately by irrigation. Direct sowing in the field is practised to a limited extent. Capsicum peppers are well adapted to sole cropping and intercropping systems. Capsicum peppers are often relay-cropped with tomatoes, shallots, onions, garlic, okra, Brassica spp. and pulses. They also grow well among newly established perennial crops.  

 

Cultivars commonly grown in Kenya: 

Sweet pepper (C. annuum):

  • California Wonder
  • Yolo wonder
  • Emerald Giant
  • Ruby Giant

Hot pepper (C. frutescens)

  • Anaheim
  • Fresno
  • Jalapeno
  • Long Red Cayenne
  • Rocket
  • Short Bullet

 

Husbandry

Capsicum peppers thrive best if supplied with a generous amount of organic matter. A reasonable recommendation is to supply 10-20 t/ha of organic matter. General nutrient requirements are 130 kg/ha of N, 80 kg/ha of P and 110 kg/ha of K. Nutrient availability is subject to soil type and environmental conditions, so local recommendations vary. Manual weeding is usual for weed control. It is most critical at the reproductive phase. Organic or plastic mulches are very effective for weed control, and reflective mulches help to minimise insect vectors of plant viruses. Staking can help minimise lodging. Capsicum peppers may be grown under rain-fed or irrigated conditions. To avoid certain diseases, pests or allelopathic damage, capsicum peppers should not be planted after other solanaceous crops, sweet potato or jute. 

 

Harvesting

Capsicum peppers are ready for harvest 3-6 weeks after flowering depending on the fruit maturity desired. Green fruits are mature when firm, if gently squeezed they make a characteristic popping sound. Harvesting is done by hand or with the aid of a small knife. Sweet capsicum peppers are often harvested at the green mature stage, although sometimes they are harvested red. Assorted fruit colours such as yellow, orange, chocolate and purple are also available in specialised markets. Hot capsicum peppers are harvested green or red depending on their utilisation. For the fresh market, fruits are harvested mature but firm, whereas capsicum peppers sold as dried pods may be left to partially dry on the plants before harvesting. Yields under irrigated conditions tend to be higher than for rain-fed production, but vary with other management practices. Unless sold for the fresh market, hot capsicum peppers can be sun-dried. Sun-drying usually takes place in a vacant field or roadside, on mats or a well-swept area. In the sun, capsicum peppers will dry adequately in 10-20 days, with frequent turning of fruits. Steaming of hot and capsicum pepper before being sun-dried tends to improve the appearance, making dried fruits look glossy.

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Last Updated on:
Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 11:48
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