Capsicum annuum L. (Pepper)

Crop Type: Garden Crop

Breeding system: Predominantly autogamous

Pepper (Capsicum anuum L.) is an annual species, belongs to the Solanaceae family and has its origins in the tropical South American region centered in what is now Bolivia (Eshbaugh 1993) eventually spreading to Central America and South America. There it was cultivated and used as part of the indigenous diet and as a preservative (Bletsos 2012). Seeds of pepper where found in ancient tombs in Mexico, estimated from 5000 BC and pictures of the plant from 800-1000 BC in Peru (Heiser 1976). Later the Spanish and Portuguese spread the plant to India and other countries in Asia, eventually reaching Europe. It is rich in vitamins C (ascorbic acid) and B and has high concentrations of potassium (K), calcium (Ca), manganese (Mn) (USDA, 2009). Peppers are consumed as a main course cooked (fresh or frozen), as an appetizer (fresh, pickled, canned), as a spice (red pepper) and in addition the hot peppers are used in pharmaceutics (patches etc) (Bletsos 2012). In Greece pepper is one of the most important vegetables with the majority of production used for fresh consumption and exportation but a considerable amount used for making ground pepper. 

Pepper is predominantly self pollinating plant but often cross pollinating by insects. Some varieties show a low and other a high percentage of cross pollination (2-90%) (Bosland and Vatava 2000; Pickersgill 1977).

  • Bletsos F (2012) Pepper. In: Practical vegetable production and local varieties. Zitis publications, Thessaloniki, Greece, pp. 407 (in greek).
  • Bosland PW, Votava EJ (2000) Peppers, vegetable and spice Capsicums. CABI Publishing, New York, USA.
  • Eshbaugh WH (1993) Peppers: History and exploitation of a serendipitous new crop discovery. In: Janick J, Simon JE (eds). New crops. New York, USA, Wiley, pp. 132–139.
  • Pickersgill B (1977) Chromosomes and evolution in Capsicums. In: Pochard E (ed), Capsicum 77. Comptes Rendus du, Montfavet Avignon, pp 51-74.
  • USDA (2009) Nutrient database (