Texas Gardening forum: Native Chiltepin?

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May 22, 2012 4:38 PM CST
Hello everyone. I stumbled onto this forum while trying to identify a new plant I found on my property here in Montgomery County, Texas. From all of my searching on the internet, I believe I have a type of Chiltepin pepper plant although I cannot seem to identify exactly what variety. It is my understanding there is many different types.
I found several bushes just off in the woods where they get morning and midday sun but are mostly shaded in the evening. I have sandy loam type soil. The bushes are 2-4 feet tall and wide. Some of the peppers are still green while most have turned an orange color but I haven't gotten any that are red yet. It is evident that something, probably birds are eating them. The seeds look like most pepper seeds. The leaves are lanceolate in shape.
The main difference is if this is truly a Chiltepin pepper plant then it should be very hot, however mine taste somewhat sweet. Maybe they just aren't ripe yet. I'm attaching some pictures so anyone who might know what it is please help identify it.

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Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Master Gardener: Texas
Region: Texas Tropicals Plumerias Ferns Greenhouse Garden Art
May 22, 2012 8:11 PM CST


Welcome! We're glad you found us. Someone should be along to ID your pepper soon. Can I suggest you also ask on the ATP Plant ID forum? http://garden.org/forums/view/plantid/ Just click on the link.

We have some sharp folks over there that don't give up until they have an answer. And if you should find the answer somewhere else, we'd appreciate you letting us know too!
Name: Monica
Texas Gulf Coast (Zone 9b)
Sweat Weather, Not Sweater Weather
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Gulf Coast Multi-Region Gardener Seed Starter
May 22, 2012 9:13 PM CST

Hi, I'm in Brazoria County - my pequins are even smaller than yours and way hotter than you describe. Possibly is tepin type or one that got naturally crossed with a mild cultivar. Mockingbirds love these little guys and sometimes I'll see the whole bush shaking with a Mockingbird harvesting.

You're lucky to be in Montgomery County. The Extension Horticulture agent there is Tom LeRoy and he's top-notch. The extension office number is 936-539-7824, located at 9020 Airport Road, Conroe, TX 77303.

Tom and Montgomery Master Gardeners are also having a plant clinic this Saturday:

May 24 Plant Clinic (bring questions and samples)
Lone Star College- Kingwood, Academy for Lifelong Learning,
281.312.1749. / 10 AM - Noon

You'd get great info if you can stop in.

Could post back and let us know what you've found out? The mildness is interesting as nobody I know has a bird's eye that isn't blazing hot.



May 23, 2012 1:11 PM CST
well I still believe the dang birds are getting to the peppers before they are fully ripe. I went out today and at least half of the peppers that were on there yesterday are gone. I covered two bushes with some fine chicken wire in an effort to let the berries fully mature so I can try them in a few more days and see if they hottened up. We use to grow bell peppers a few years ago but this is the first time I have seem these plants. Im sure my neighbors have a garden and maybe some sweet peppers in it but that is over 500 feet away. A far stretch to imagine wind or the bees pollinating all 7 of the plants I found to make them sweet.

I keep tasting the peppers and they are still sweet with a hint of bell pepper and a slight tickle in the back of the mouth but that is it. Im avoiding eating more than one pepper at a time or tasting too many at once until I'm certain they are safe to eat.

Thank you for the information regarding the Extension office and the clinic. I might try to check it out and see if they can help identify the exact type of plant this is.
Name: Monica
Texas Gulf Coast (Zone 9b)
Sweat Weather, Not Sweater Weather
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Gulf Coast Multi-Region Gardener Seed Starter
May 23, 2012 4:02 PM CST
I've been thinking... make sure that your plant isn't Jerusalem Cherry which is mildly toxic (worse for children), round fruit, sweet tasting and typically orange rather than bright red. It's found wild (although not native) throughout southeast Texas. Yours looks very similar to pix on internet except the leaves don't seem to have those 2 smaller leaves at the base of the largest. Google Solanum pseudocapsicum for information. Supposedly Cardinals eat them.

Re: Bees foraging. According to the Beekeepers' Booth at the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show: "Bees always prefer it when they find flowers close to the hive. However, bees will forage as far away from the hive as one to five miles."

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