Compiled by Dave DeWitt
From The Complete Chile Pepper Book
Glossary of Specialized Pepper Terms
Not included here are the names of the U.S. cultivars, which, after more than a century of breeding, number in the thousands and are too many to list.
Achocolatado. “Chocolatety”; in Mexico, another name for pasilla, a reference to its dark brown color.
Acorchado. “Corky”; in Mexico, a cultivated variety of jalapeño. The name is a reference to the “corking,” or brown streaks on the pod.
Ahumado. “Smoked-cured”; in Mexico, referring to chipotle chiles.
Ají. The common name for chiles in South America and some parts of the Caribbean; usually Capsicum baccatum.
Ají amarillo. “Yellow chile”; in Peru, the commonest chile grown and eaten. This C. Baccatum var. pendulum is 3 to 5 inches long and matures to a deep orange color. It has a medium-hot pungency and is grown in all regions of the country. Also called ají escabeche.
Ají ayucllo. In Peru, a semi-cultivated pungent variety of unknown species. It matures to a bright orange color, is small, thick-fleshed, and oval shaped.
Ají cereza. “Cherry chile”; cultivated in backyards in Peru, this semi-domesticate chile is round and about 1 ½ inches in diameter. It is extremely pungent and matures to a deep red color. It is either C. chinense or baccatum.
Ají charapa. In Peru, a wild chile that is harvested near the city of Iquitos. It is spherical, about 1/4 inch in diameter and very pungent. Fruits mature to red or yellow color. The species is either C. chinense or baccatum.
Ají chombo. A name for the chinense species in Panama.
Ají escurre-huéspedes. In Cuba, a chile that makes the guests sneak away.
Ají lengua de pájaro. “Bird’s tongue chile”; in Cuba, a variety of piquín.
Ají limo. Popular on the northern coast of Peru, this C. chinense is very pungent and matures to a yellow, orange, or red color. They are 2 to 3 inches long. The word “limo” has no known meaning; the species is C. frutescens.
Ají mono. “Monkey chile;” grown in the Peruvian jungles, this chile matures to bright red and measures 4 to 5 inches long. It has high pungency and is thought to be C. baccatum.
Ají norteño. “Northern chile”; in Peru, this chile is grown in northern coastal valleys. The ripe pods mature to yellow, orange, and red and measure 3 to 4 inches long. They have moderate pungency and are commonly eaten fresh with seafood. Thought to be C. baccatum.
Ají panca. Thought to be C. frutescens, this Peruvian chile grows from 3 to 5 inches long and has a mild pungency. It is deep red to purple when ripe and dries to a dark purple color
Ají pinguita de mono. “Little monkey penis chile”; found in Peru’s central valley of Chanchamayo, these are wild or semi-cultivated chiles of unknown species that are ½ to 1 inch long, very elongated, and mature to a bright red color. The species is C. chinense or baccatum.
Ají yaquitania. A name for the chinense species in Brazil.
Aleppo. A Syrian chile powder.
Altamira. In Mexico, a cultivated variety of serrano.
Amarillo. In Mexico, any yellow chile, but specifically chilcoxtle.
Amash. A piquín chile that grows wild in the Mexican states of Tabasco, Chiapas, and Yucatán. Very hot and consumed in the green form. Thought to be the progenitor of the pods transferred to Louisiana and called tobasco or tabasco; if true, then amash is C. frutescens.
Amatista. A South American purple ornamental, probably C. annuum.
Amomo. A variety of piquín chile in Mexico. This is a botanical name referring to the resemblance to grains of paradise, or malegueta pepper.
Anaheim. The name that the California produce industry gave the New Mexican pod type. Typically a long, mild chile primarily used in the green form, Anaheim is now considered to be a cultivated variety of the New Mexican pod type.
Ancho. “Wide” or “broad”; a dried poblano chile. In Mexico and the U.S., it is a large, broad, mild chile with a raisiny aroma and flavor. Confusingly, ancho is called pasilla in Morelia, Michoacán, and chile joto in Aguascalientes. It is also mistakenly called pasilla in some northern states and in California, U.S.A.
Annuum. The species most commonly grown around the world, including bell peppers and New Mexican varieties. The word means “annual,” a misnomer because chile peppers are perennial.
Anther. The reproductive part of a flower that produces and contains pollen.
Anthocyanin. Pigments responsible for the purple, violet, blues, lilac, and black colors seen on chile peppers; the anthocyanin foundin chile peppers is delphinidin.
Anthracnose. A fungal disease affecting plants that is characterized by dark, sunken lesions or black blisters on the pods.
Apaseo. In Mexico, a cultivated variety of pasilla.
Ardida do chile. A commercial variety of C. baccatum grown in Brazil.
ASTA. American Spice Trade Association. ASTA Units are a measurement of the degree of red coloration in peppers. The higher the ASTA value, the brighter the color and the more valuable the pepper for use in extraction oleoresins. A value of 300 ASTA is considered to be superior.
Ata. The generic term for chile pepper among the Yoruba of Nigeria. Ata funfun resembles the jalapeño, while ata wewe is a tabasco-like chile. Ata rodo is Capsicum chinense, the habanero relative.
Baccatum. Meaning berry-like, a species of Capsicum consisting of South American peppers.
Bakolocal. A cultivated variety of chile in Ethiopia.
Balín. “Bullet”; in Mexico, a cultivated variety of serrano chile.
Barkono. Term for chile in northern Nigeria.
Bandeño. In the state of Guerrero, Mexico, a name for the green costeño. The name refers to the bank of a river.
Berbere. The Amharic word for chile; in Ethiopia the term refers generically to both the pod and a paste made from the pods.
Bhere khorsani. In Nepal, wolf chile.
Bola. “Ball” or “marble”; see Cascabel. Also, in Jalisco, Mexico, a word for a spherical piquín.
Bolita. “Little ball”; see Cascabel.
Boludo. “Bumpy”; see Cascabel.
Bonda man Jacques. Name for the chinense species in Martinique and Guadeloupe.
Bonney pepper. Name for the chinense species in Barbados; considered to be the Red Caribbean pod type.
Bravo. “Brave, wild, savage”; in Mexico, a local name of chile de árbol.
Byadgi. A variety of annuum in India that resembles a wrinkled, dried cayenne.
Caballo. “Horse”; another name for rocoto in Mexico.
Cabe. (Also cabai). General term for chile peppers in Indonesia and Malaysia. Cabe hijau means green chiles; cabe merah, red chiles; cabe rawit, bird chiles (C. frutescens).
Cachucha. “Cap” chile; term for rocotillo in Cuba.
Calyx. The external, usually green, part of the flower composed of little leaves called sepals.
Cambray. A long, narrow chile grown in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, and marketed in Monterrey.
Campanulate. Shaped like a bell.
Canario. “Canary”; in Mexico, a yellow variety of the rocoto, or chile manzano.
Capones. Deseeded (or “castrated”) chipotles.
Capsaicinoids. Seven related compounds that cause the sensation of heat (punbgency) in chile peppers.
Capsicum. The genus chiles belong to. In Southeast Asia, this means bell pepper. From the Greek kapto, “to bite.”
Capón. An emasculated chile; one with the seeds removed.
Caribe. A variety of güero grown in Aguas Calientes; usually found fresh, it has a conical shape, is about 1 1/2 inches long and is colored yellow.
Carrocillo. A name in central Mexico for the güero.
Cascabel. “Jingle bell” or “rattle”; an allusion to the seeds rattling in the pods of this oval chile about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and dark red in the dried form. In the fresh form it is called bola, bolita, and boludo. Dried, cascabels are also known as coras and guajones. Grown in Jalisco and Guerrero.
Casero. “Homemade”; in the state of Guerrero, a name for the green costeño.
Catarina. A dried chile from the state of Aguas Calientes; it is 1 to 2 inches long, 1/2 inch wide, and the seeds rattle in the pods. Possibly a variety of de árbol.
Charapilla. A name for the chinense species in Peru.
Chawa. Mexican term for a variety of the Wax pod type.
Cherry Pepper. Originally thought to be C. cerasiforme; now a pod type of the annuum species that resembles a large cherry. Introduced into England from the West Indies in 1759. The cherry type is familiar because the pods are commonly pickled and served as an accompaniment to sandwiches. Varieties include ‘Cherry Sweet’ and ‘Red Cherry Hot’.
Chiapas. A name for the chiltepín in Chiapas, Mexico
Chilaca. Fresh form of the pasilla chile. This term is also used to refer to fresh New Mexican pod types grown in Durango and Chihuahua, Mexico.
Chilacate. A chile eaten both fresh and dry in Jalisco, Mexico, that resembles a small New Mexican type. Also called tierra.
Chilaile. See Mora.
Chilango. Slang term for natives of Mexico City.
Chilcoxle. A dried yellow chile used in the mole amarillo of Oaxaca, Mexico. Also spelled chilcostle and chilcoxtle.
Chile caribe. Coarsely ground chile powder; a red chile paste made from crushed or ground red chiles of any type, garlic, and water.
Chile colorado. Generally, any red chile; usually guajillo.
Chile con queso. A cheese and chile dip.
Chile pasado. Literally, “chile of the past,” in New Mexico it is roasted, peeled, and sun-dried green chile. The dried chile is later rehydrated for use in cooking.
Chile seco. Any dried chile; in various states of Mexico they refer to different chiles. For example, in the state of Colima, the term most often refers to guajillos. In other parts of Mexico it refers to chipotles.
Chiles rellenos. Roasted, peeled New Mexican or poblano chiles that are stuffed, usually with cheese, and battered and deep-fried.
Chilhuacle. In Mexico, a Oaxacan chile primarily used in moles. Some sources say that it is a regional variety of guajillo, but to our eyes it more closely resembles a small poblano. There are three forms, amarillo, rojo and negro. Also spelled chilguacle.
Chilillo. “Little chile”; a variety of piquín in Yucatán, Mexico.
Chilpaya. A variety of chiltepín in Veracruz, Mexico.
Chilipiquin. The Texas term for chiltepins.
Chiltepín. A sperical wild chile varying from 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in diameter. Extremely hot. Also spelled tepín, chiltepe and chiltipín. Also called chilpaya. They are pickled when fresh or added to soups and stews. Dried, they are a year-round spice.
Chiltepínero. A person who collects the wild chiltepíns or one who sells them.
Chinchi-uchu. Indigenous name for the chinense species in Peru.
Chino. Another term for a dried poblano chile, especially in central Mexico and San Luis Potosí.
Chipotle. Any smoked chile, but most often used to refer to a jalapeño that is smoked until it is very dark and stiff. Also spelled called chilpotle and chipocle. A typical chipotle sold in North American markets is a jalapeño that is smoked while green, rather than red, and thus has a whitish, tan color. They are often so dehydated that they need to be reconstituted by soaking in hot water.
Chlorosis. A plant disease marked by the yellowing of the stems and leaves.
Chombo. Local name for C. chinense in Panama.
Chorizo. In Latin America, a spicy sausage made with pork, garlic, and red chile powder.
Cili. Alternate Malaysian term for chiles. Cili padi are apparently the same as cabe rawit, the small bird chiles, while dried red chiles are cili kering. Chile powder is serbuk cili. Compare with sili. In the Czech Republic, cili is chile powder, usually pungent paprika, used in many dishes.
Cobán. A smoked Guatemalan piquin chile.
Coffee pepper. Local Trindadian name for a wild C. annuum variety that resembles a coffee bean.
Cola de Rata. “Rat’s tail”; a term for a long, thin variety of chile de árbol in Nayarit, Mexico.
Cold frame. An enclosed, unheated, small structure for growing and protecting seedlings in the spring.
Colombo. A type of hot curry introduced into the French Caribbean in the 1800s by migrant Indian workers mostly from Bengal.
Colorado. Another term for a dried red New Mexican chile.
Comapeño. A small, orange chile consumed both fresh and dry in Veracruz, Mexico. Also called ozulyamero.
Compost. A mixture consisting large of decayed organic material that is used to condition and fertilize the soil.
Congo. Local name for the Trinidad pod type of Capsicum chinense; the term is said to mean large or powerful.
Cora. A cutivated variety of cascabel grown in Nayarit, Mexico, where it is also called acaponeta and cuerudo. It is eaten both fresh and dry. The name is also the same as an Indian tribe.
Corazón. A spicy, heart-shaped poblano grown in Durango, Mexico.
Corolla. Flower petals that make up the inner floral envelope.
Corriente. In the state of Guerrero, Mexico a name for the green costeño.
Costeño. A small dried red chile about an inch long that is a variety of chile de árbol. Commonly found in the states of Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Guerrero, Mexico. Also spelled costeña. Other regional terms for this chile are bandeño, casero, criollo, and corriente.
Cotaxtla. A cultivated variety of serrano in Mexico.
Cotyledon. The first leaf to emerge form the embryo of a seed plant.
Coui. In the Caribbean, an ancient Carib Indian sauce of hot peppers and cassava juice.
Covincho. Local name for the wild C. chacoense in northern Argentina.
Cuaresmeño. See Jalapeño. The name refers to Lent, probably an allusion to the agriculture of the chile at that time of year.
Cuauhchilli. In Jalisco, Nayarit, and Aguascalientes, Mexico, a variety of de árbol.
Cuban. A pod type of the annuum species. These mild pods are much loved when fried. There are two basic types: the long-fruited ones like ‘Key Largo’ and ‘Biscayne’ and the short-fruited types like ‘Cubanelle’. Recommended varieties include ‘Aconagua,’ ‘Biscayne,’ and ‘Cubanelle.’
Cuerno de oro. “Horn of gold;” Costa Rican name for C. baccatum.
Cuicatleco. A variety of chile consumed by the indigenous people of the district of Cuicatlán, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Cultivar. A cultivated plant variety.
Damping-off. A fungal disease occurring in humid greenhouses which causes the stem of a seedling to rot and fall over.
Dandicut Cherry. Cultivated chile in Pakistan.
Dar feller. Yemeni word for chile pepper.
Datil. Local name for C. chinense in St. Augustine, Florida.
de Agua. “Water chile”; in Mexico, a fairly long (to 4 inches) conical chile that grows erect on plants in Oaxaca. It is used both in its green and dried red forms in sauces and stews. Some sources say it is a variety of poblano, but that is doubtful. When red and smoke-dried, it is called pasilla oaxaqueño.
de Árbol. “Tree chile”; in Mexico, the bush resembles a small tree. In the U.S., a pod type of the annuum species. The hot pods are red and about 1/4 inch wide by 1 1/2 to 3 inches long. Also called puya, cuauhchilli, alfilerillo, pico de pájaro, and cola de rata. Grown primarily in Jalisco and Nayarit. Varieties include ‘NuMex Sunburst,’ with bright orange, 3-inch, medium-hot pods; NuMex ‘Sunflare,’ bright red, 3-inch, medium-hot pods; and ‘NuMex Sunglo,” bright yellow, 3-inch, medium-hot pods.
de Chorro. “Irrigated chile”; in Mexico, a variety of poblano that is so named because each plant is irrigated separately. Grown only in Guanajuato and Durango. The pods are used only in the green form.
Deciduous. A plant that sheds its leaves in the fall.
de Color. “Of color”. There are two types in Mexico: chile pasera, a dried poblano that is left on the plant until the pods turn red and then are removed and dried in the sun, and chilessecadora, which is a green poblano that is removed from the bush are dried in a dehydrator.
de la Tierra. In Mexico, another term for a dried red New Mexican chile.
de Monte. “Hilly chile.” In Mexico, a general term for wild chiles, the chiltepínes.
de Onza. “By the ounce”; in Mexico, a small dried, brick-red Oaxacan chile about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. It is used in moles.
de Siete Caldos. A chile from Chiapas, Mexico that is supposedly so hot that one is enough to spice up seven pots of soup.
Dehisce. To open at definite places to discharge pollen.
Derriere de Madame Jacques. A name for the chinense species in Guadeloupe
Determinate. A plant that grows only for a specific period of time or height, flowers, sets fruit, then dies; example, ‘NuMex Piñata’.
Dicotamous. Describes a plant whose number of flowers doubles as it grows.
Dieback. A plant condition in which peripheral parts are killed by parasites.
Diente de Tlacuache. “Oppossum tooth”; in Mexico, the name for chiltepín in Tamaulipas.
Dominica pepper. Name for the chinense species in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Dulce. “Sweet”; in Mexico, a term for bell peppers and pimiento.
Dutch. A hot variety of C. annuum from The Netherlands that was developed from Indonesian varieties.
Emasculation. To remove the stamen of a flower during the process of artificial cross-pollination.
Erect. A fruit that points up.
Esmeralda. “Emerald”; in Mexico, a cultivated variety of poblano.
Espinateco. “Spiny; in Mexico, a cultivated variety of jalapeño.
Fasiculated: to cluster flowers or fruits.
Fatalii. Chinense variety grown in the Central African Republic.
Felfel al har. Arabic term for chile pepper in North Africa.
Filament. The part of the stamen that holds the anther.
Filfil. General Arabic term for chile pepper.
Flor de Pabellón. “Flower of the Pavillion”; in Mexico, a cultivated variety of poblano.
Foronto. Term for chile pepper in Senegal.
Friable. Used to describe the condition of soil that crumbles easily.
Fruit load. The maximum weight of fruits that a fruiting plant can bear.
Fukien Rice. Extremely pungent chile pepper grown in China.
Funtua. Principal chile grown in Nigeria.
Furtu. Name for peppers in French Guiana.
Frutescens. A Capsicum species including the Tabasco chile. The word means shrubby.
Gachupín. Name for piquín chile in Veracruz, Mexico.
Gamete. The sperm cell (pollen grain) or egg cell, which after fusion produces and embryo.
Glabrous. A morphological feature as smooth, glossy, having no hair or bristles.
Goan. A variety of annuum grown in Goa, India that resembles a pointed cascabel.
Goat Pepper. Local name for the chinense species in The Bahamas and some parts of Africa..
Gril koreni. In the Czech Republic, a dry rub composed of mild paprika, salt, and spices.
Guaguao. Term for piquin chiles in Cuba.
Guajillo. A common chile in Northern and Central Mexico, it resembles a small dried red New Mexican chile. It is used primarily in sauces. Grown primarily in Zacatecas, Durango, and Aguascalientes.
Güero. “Blonde”; a generic term for yellow chiles in Mexico. See Xcatic. Other terms are carricillo, cristal, and cristalino.
Guinea pepper. Thought to be of the chinense species, it is grown in Nigeria, Liberia, and the Ivory Coast. Introduced into England in 1548.
Gulasove Koreni. In the Czech Republic, a spice mixture for goulashes composed of hot paprika, salt, carraway seeds, and other spices.
Guntur red. A variety of annuum that is named for Guntur, reputedly the chile capital of India. It resembles a dried red jalapeño.
Habanero. “From Havana”; the hottest chile in the world, this pod is of the species Capsicum chinense. The fresh pods, usually orange, are about an inch wide and an inch and a half long, with a distinct aroma reminisicent of apricots. Grown in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico and in the U.S.
Habit. Refers to a plant’s characteristic mode of growth.
Harden-off. To make a seedling hardy enough to withstand transplanting outdoors; i.e., by leaving it outside during the day and gradually reducing watering.
Harissa. A North African chile paste.
Hot cap. A miniature, single-plant “greenhouse” usually made with clear plastic.
Huachinango. Another term for a large jalapeño; term for chipotle in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Huayca. Amara (Peruvian) term for chile pepper.
Humus. The organic portion of soil that comes from partial decomposition of plant material.
Hydroponics. Growing plants without soil in a water culture.
INIA. A cultivated variety of habanero in Mexico.
Indeterminate. A plant that continues to grow, flower and set fruit; example: chiltepin.
Jalapeño. The familiar small green chile about 3/4 inch wide and 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. Of medium heat, it is called chipotle in its dried, smoked form. Also spelled xalapeño. Also called cuaresmeño.
Japón. “Japan”; a small, pointed chile grown in Veracruz and San Luis Potosí, Mexico.
Joto. The term for chile ancho in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Kashmiri. Originally a variety of annuum grown in Kashmir, India, it is now the generic term for any medium-long dried red chile. An appropriate substitute would be guajillo.
Kayensky peper. In Hungaria, cayenne pepper.
Kochikai. Tamil (Southern India) word for chile pepper.
Kochu. In Korea, cayenne-like chiles. Also gochu.
Kulai. A cayenne-like chile grown in Malaysia.
La Blanca. “The white one”; a cultivated variety of mirasol in Mexico.
Lanceolate. Lance or spear point-shaped leaves.
Land race. A variety of chile peppers that has been grown in a particular region for such a long time that it has developed distinct traits.
La-Jiao. Chile peppers in China. Also hung fan jiao.
Largo. “Long or large”; a cutivated variety of serrano in Mexico.
Loco. “Crazy”; in Mexico, a term for mutants, especially those chiles hotter than normal.
Locoto. C. Pubescens, see Rocoto.
Locule. A cavity of compartment within a chile pepper pod.
Lombok. Alternate Indonesian term for chile peppers.
Loreto 74. A cultivated variety of mirasol in Mexico.
Macho. “Manly”; another name for piquín in Mexico.
Malagueta or melagueta. Capsicum frutescens; a Brazilian chile related to tabascos. It grows both wild and cultivated.
Mak phet. Chile peppers in Laotian. Mak phet dip are fresh green chiles; mak phet deng, fresh red chiles; mak phet nyai, large chiles; mak phet kuntsi, small chiles; mak phet kinou, tiny, “rat-dropping” chiles; mak phet haeng, dried red chiles; mak phet pung, ground red chiles.
Mango. Local term for bell peppers in Indiana and Illinois.
Mano. Term for chile in Liberia.
Manzano or Manzana. “Apple”; of the species Capsicum pubescens. Grown in the states of Michoacán, Chiapas, Guerrero, and México, these chile resemble small apples and are usually used in the red form. One variety is yellow and is termed canario. They have thick flesh and black seeds. The variety is also called cirhuelo in Queretaro. The manzano is also called cera, malinalco, and rocoto.
Marekofana. A cultivated variety of chile in Ethiopia.
Mata-Frade. In Brazil, friar-killer chile.
Max. Another name for piquín in Yucatán, Mexico.
Meco. A blackish-red smoked jalapeño in Mexico.
Miahuateco. Grown only in the states of Puebla and Oaxaca, Mexico, this large variety of poblano is used only in its green form.
Mirasol. “Looking at the sun”; the erect (sometimes pendant) pods are 2 to 4 inches long, are quite hot, and are used both fresh and dry. It is primarily grown in Zacatecas, Mexico. Also called miracielo, “looking at the sky.” In the U.S., a pod type of the annuum species. Varieties include: ‘De Comida,’ ‘Guajillo,’ and ‘Costeño.’
Mirch. Hindi term for hot Capsicums in northern India. Lal mirch is red chile; hari mirch is green chile. Cayenne is pisi hui lal mirch. Dried red chiles are sabut lal mirch. Kashmiri chiles are degi mirch.
Miri. Sinhalese word for chile.
Mississippi Hot. A variety of C. annuum grown in the American South for pickling. Also Mississippi Red Hot.
Mole sauce. A thick, spicy sauce made with chiles and spices in Puebla and Oaxaca, Mexico. It sometimes contains unsweetened chocolate as an ingredient.
Molido. Finely ground chile pepper powder.
Mombasa. Principal chile variety cultivated in Uganda.
Mora. “Mulberry” or “blackberry”; a smoked red serrano or jalapeño that is pliable. Also called morita in many parts of Mexico and chilaile in Quintana Roo.
Morelia. A variety of poblano that is grown only in Queréndaro, Michoacán, Mexico. The pods dry to a black color, so it is also known as chile negro. Named for the capital of Michoacán.
Morita. A cultivated variety of jalapeño. This variety is also smoked. See Mora.
Morrón. Generally, in Mexico, a bell pepper but also another name for pimiento.
Mosaic. A plant virus characterized by dark green or yellow-and-green mottling of stems and leaves.
Mosquito. “Mosquito chile”; in Mexico, another name for the piquín.
Mukuru. Local name for the wild C. tovarii of Peru.
Mulagay. Sri Lankan (Tamil) term for peppers.
Mulato. A variety of dried poblano chile in Mexico that has very dark brown–almost black–pods. Grown primarily in Jalisco, Guanajuato, and Puebla.
Mulch. Any material (such as straw, plastic, or newspaper) applied over the soil surface to retard weed growth, conserve moisture, and maintain a uniform temperature.
Murici. A name for the chinense species in Brazil
Mutton Pepper. Local name for C. chinense in Belize.
Mycelium. A mass of interwoven filaments that form the body of a plant fungus.
Necrosis. Death of a localized area on a plant.
Nectary. The flower part that secretes nectar.
Negro. “black”; see Morelia. Also sometimes refers to a dark pasilla chile in Mexico.
Nellore. A variety of annuum grown in India that resembles the Mexican de árbol variety.
New Mexican. Formerly called Anaheim, this pod type is grown in Chihuahua and other northern states of Mexico and then imported into the U.S. It is also grown extensively in New Mexico, Arizona, and California. It is a long (to 8 inches), fairly mild pod that is used both in green and red forms.
Nga yut thee. Burmese term for chiles.
Node. A joint in a stem.
Ornamental. A type of pepper that is showy and colorful and used primarily for display rather than eating (although they are edible).
Ot. General Vietnamese term for chile peppers. Dried chiles are ot kho and chile sauces are tuong ot.
Ovate. Shaped like an egg.
Ovule. A rudimentary seed containing the embryo sack before fertilization.
Pabellón 1. A cultivated variety of pasilla in Mexico.
Panameño. A name for the chinense species in Costa Rica.
Panco. A name for the chinense species in Peru.
Pánuco. A cultivated variety of serrano in Mexico. Named for a river in northern Veracruz.
Papaloápan. A cultivated variety of jalapeño in Mexico.
Paprika Paliva. In Slovakia, a very pungent mix of hot paprika and salt.
Paprika Sladka. A mild, bright red paprika from Slovakia.
Parado. A name for piquín in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Pasado. In Mexico, another name for chilaca; in New Mexico, roasted and peeled New Mexican chiles that are sun-dried.
Pasilla. “Little raisin”; a long, thin, mild, dark Mexican chile that is used in mole sauces. It has overtones of chocolate and raisin in its flavor. Fresh, it is called chilaca. They are grown primarily in Guanajuato, Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, and Jalisco.
Pasilla oaxaqueño. A smoke-dried chile de agua in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Pátzcuaro. A dark variety of pasilla grown in Michoacán, Mexico. Named for the famous lake.
Peludo. “Hairy”; a cultivated variety of jalapeñoin Mexico.
Pendant. A fruit than hangs down.
Peperoncino. Italian term for chile pepper.
Pequín. See piquín.
Peri-Peri. See pili-pili.
Perón. “Pear-shaped”; a regional name for the rocoto or manzano chile in Mexico.
Petiole. The slender stalk by which a leaf is attached to the stem.
Petit Malice. In Haiti, little prank chile.
Pichichi. A name for piquín in Puebla, Mexico.
Pico de pájaro. “Bird’s beak”; in Mexico, another name for chile de árbol; also, pico de paloma, “dove’s beak.”
Piment bouc. A name for the chinense species in Haiti.
Pimenta-de-bode. A name for the chinense species in Brazil.
Pimenta do chiero. “Chile of aroma”; small-podded C. chinense variety in Brazil.
Pimento. Portuguese term for peppers.
Pimiento. The familiar, mild, olive-stuffing pepper. They are also used fresh in salads and are pickled. Some varieties are grown and dried for their powder, which is marketed in the U.S. as paprika. A pod type of the annuum species. Varieties include ‘Pimento Select,’ ‘Pimiento Sweet,’ and ‘Red Heart Pimiento.’ Sometimes spelled pimento.
Piquín. The name of this pod type of the annuum species probably comes from the Spanish pequeño, meaning small. The piquins are also known by common names such as “bird pepper” and “chile mosquito.” Most are unnamed varieties, both wild and domesticated, varying in pod size and shape from BBs to de Arbol-like fruits. Generally speaking, the wild varieties (spherical “tepins”) are called chiltepins and the domesticated varieties (oblong “piquins”) are called piquins or pequins, but in Texas the wild varieties are called chilipiquins. Usually used in dry form.
Pili-pili. Swahili term for the chiltepin, or bird’s eye pepper in tropical Africa. Generically, all hot chile peppers in Africa.
Pilipili hoho. In East Africa, a chile that makes you say “ho-ho” after you eat it.
Piment. French term for peppers.
Piperiès. Greek term for peppers.
Piri-Piri. See pili-pili. Also describes dishes made with this hot pepper in Mozambique and Kenya. In the Caribbean, a spicy hot Portuguese pepper oil.
Pistil. The seed-bearing organ in a flower.
Poblano. “From Puebla”; one of the most common Mexican chiles, it is heart-shaped and dark green, about three inches wide and four inches long. Called miahuateco in southern Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula. The dried form is ancho.
Pochilli. In Mexico, the Náhuatl name for smoked chiles.
Prik. The Thai word for chile peppers. Prik khee noo (translated: rat turd chiles) are the tiny, slender chiles that are often labeled as “Thai chiles” or “bird pepper.” (Sometimes spelled prik khee noo suan.) Prik khee nu kaset is the term for serrano type chiles. Prik leuang is a yellow, medium-length, slender chile used in southern Thailand. Prik khee fah (sometimes prik chee far) is a term used to refer to cayenne chiles, while prik yuak is the yellow wax hot variety. The long, green, New Mexican types are prik num. Dried red chiles are prik haeng, while prik pon is red chile powder. Prik bod is chile paste; nam prik is chile sauce, while nam prik pao is chile tamarind paste.
Pubescens. The species of Capsicums that includes the Mexican manzanos and the Peruvian rocotos. The word means hairy, referring to the leaves, and this species has black seeds.
Pubescent. Hairy, especially the leaves.
Pujei. Term for chile in Sierra Leone.
Pulga. “Flea chile”; another name for pequín chiles in Mexico.
Pulla. See Puya.
Pusa Jwala. Cultivated chile in Liberia.
Puya. See de árbol. Also, a form of mirasol or guajillo.
Ramos. A cultivated variety of poblano in Coahuila, Mexico.
Reshampatti. A variety of annuum grown in India. The single reshampatti resembles a straight dried cayenne, while the double reshampatti resembles the ancho.
Real Mirasol. A cultivated variety of mirasol in Mexico.
Ristra. In Mexico and the American Southwest, a string of red chile pods.
Rocotillo. A mild chinense grown on various Caribbean islands including Cuba and the Cayman Islands.
Rocoto. The Peruvian name for Capsicum pubescens that are grown in mountainous regions of Mexico, where they are called manzana and canario (when yellow). The pods are thick-walled, quite hot, and have black seeds. Also spelled rocote and locoto.
Roque. A cultivated variety of mulato in Mexico.
Sakaipilo. Term for chile in Madagascar.
Salsa. Literally, “sauce,” in Spanish, but usually used to describe uncooked sauces (salsa cruda) in the rest of North America.
Sambal. A Malaysian and Indonesian chile paste.
Scotch bonnet. A variety of chinense grown in Jamaica. Also, the generic name for the species in other Caribbean islands.
Scoville Heat Unit. A measure of pepper pungency, or heat, named after Wilbur Scoville; peppers range from 0 to more than 1 million SHU.
Seasoning pepper. In the Caribbean, mild, elongated C. chinense varieties.
Self-compatible. Able to be fertilized by its own pollen.
Serrano. “From the highlands”; a common, small, bullet-shaped chile about 1 1/2 inches long and 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide used in salsas. Also called balín and serranito. It is the chile most commonly canned in Mexico. Grown all over Mexico, but primarily in Nayarit, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas.
Shatta. Arabic term for hot chile pepper.
Sili. The Filipino (Tagalog) word for Capsicums in general. Siling bilog is bell pepper; siling haba is the long green or red chile; siling labuyo is the bird pepper, very small and very hot (C. frutescens).
Sinteh. Name for the chinense species in Cameroon.
Spanischcher oderkercher pheffer. German term for peppers.
Spansk peppar. Swedish term for peppers.
Squash pepper. In the U.S., a pod type of the annuum species. Also called Cheese or Tomato peppers, the squash type is best known for the flattened shape of the pods. Varieties include ‘Red Squash Hot’ and ‘Yellow Squash Hot.’
Stamen. The organ of a flower that produces the pollen, or male gamete; its parts include the anther and the filament.
Stigma. The part of the flower that receives the pollen grains for reproduction and on which germination takes place.
Struchkovy pyerets. Russian term for peppers.
Taa’ ts’itsin its. “Chile excreted by birds”; term for chiltepin in Huastec Mayan language of Mexico.
Tabia. Balinese word for chile peppers. Tabia lombok (sometimes called tabia jawa) is finger-length and resembles cayenne; tabia Bali is about an inch long and is the most popular chile in Bali; tabia kerinyi are the “bird’s eye” chiles, or piquins. Tabia gede is bell pepper.
Tabiche. A chile in Oaxaca, Mexico, similar to a jalapeño, consumed both fresh and dry.
Tampiqueño-74. A cultivated variety of serrano in Mexico.
Tiger tooth. A variety of chinense grown in Guyana.
Tinnevelly. A variety of annuum grown in India that resembles a cascabel.
Típico. A cultivated variety of jalapeño in Mexico and the U.S.
Togarishi. Chile peppers in Japanese.
Travieso. “Naughty,” another Mexican term for guajillo.
Trompo. “Child’s top”; another Mexican term for a cascabel.
Truncate. Shape of leaves or pods that have the ends squared off.
Tuong. Chile paste in Vietnam. Also tuoi. Tuong ot is sriracha hot sauce.
Tuxtla. A piquín from southern Mexico.
Uchu. Quecha word for chiles in Peru.
Ulupica. Local name for the wild chiles C. eximium and C. cardensaii in Bolivia.
Umbigo-de-Tainha. In Brazil, mullet’s navel chile.
Uxmal. A cultivated variety of habanero in Mexico.
Variegated. The presence of two or more colors in leaves or flowers.
Veracruz S-69. A cultivated variety of serrano in Mexico.
Verde. “Green or unripe”; in Mexico, any green chile, but typically serrano.
Verdeño. A pale green, cultivated Mexican variety of poblano.
Wax. In the U.S., a pod type of the annuum species. The shiny appearance of the pods of these varieties is the reason the type is called Wax. They vary greatly in size, shape, and pungency.
Varieties include ‘Banana Supreme,’ ‘Caloro,’ ‘Hungarian Yellow Wax Hot,’ and ‘Santa Fe Grande.’
Xcatic. A fairly mild chile grown in the Yucatán Peninsula that is related to yellow wax and banana chiles. Sometimes called güero (“blonde”) it usually is yellow in color.