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Chile Pepper Nomenclature

Dave DeWitt Chile History, Chile Nomeclature Leave a Comment

By Dave DeWitt A great deal of discussion and controversy has erupted over the terminology of the Capsicum genus in English. There are hundreds if not thousands of common terms for the pods in languages from all over the world, so it is curious that the following ones have been debated with such passion. Ají. This word, from the Arawaks …

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Pages From Livingston’s Seed Catalogs, 1893 & ’95

Dave DeWitt Historical Gardening Leave a Comment

Editor’s Note: Livingston’s Seed Company in Columbus, Ohio, was one of the premier seed companies in the United States during the last half of the nineteenth century. They developed many tomato varieties for farmers and home gardeners. Here are their catalog pages on the seed of the Capsicum varieties they sold in 1893 and 1895.           …

The “True Chili Capsicum”

Dave DeWitt Chile History Leave a Comment

By Joseph Paxton Editor’s Note: Sir Joseph Paxton (1803–1865) was an English gardener, architect, and Member of Parliament, best known for designing The Crystal Palace. Paxton began publishing a monthly magazine, Magazine of Botany in 1834. In 1838, when Capsicum nomenclature was still in its infancy, Paxton wrote about a new chile pepper species that was called Capsicum ustulatum. “Ustulatum” …

"Bird Pepper" Illustration, 1858

The Great Chile Pepper Health Debate

Dave DeWitt Chiles and Health Leave a Comment

If you’ve read some of the other articles in the Chiles and Health section of the SuperSite, you’re probably aware of just how contentious the debates have been, especially when chile peppers are accused of causing health problems like cancer and ulcers.  They don’t of course, but the debate about the healing properties versus the “damaging” aspects of chile pods …