Q: Hi Dave,
Maybe you can help me out on this one. A few weeks ago I read in different books that Capsicum pubescens is incapable of self-pollinating, and that it can’t cross-pollinate with other Capsicum species. This year I had one Rocoto Canario plant (C. pubescens) in my greenhouse together with several C. annuum varieties. I’m quite sure it’s a baccatum, as it had hairy foliage, purple flowers and the fruits developed black seeds. But what I can’t understand is that it did set fruits and developed seeds. Do you know, if C. pubescens can self-pollinate and if it can cross-pollinate with other Capsicums?
Regards and thanks,
A: Hello Brian:
I think you’re a little confused here as baccatum has nothing to do with this discussion—you probably meant to type "pubescens" there. C. pubescens has this little self-incompatibility issue going—its inability to self-pollinate. So the pollen must be carried to it from another plant—by an insect or human action, is the best bet, as chiles are not normally wind-pollinated. I have several pubescens plants about 9 years old and place them together in the summer and fall to encourage insect pollination. It worked very well this year. Regarding cross-pollination, I’m not certain but I think not. I’m copying this letter to Dr. Paul Bosland for fact checking on this, as I know that we wrote about all this, but I can’t find it.