Species Name: Capsicum annuum var glabriusculum

Color: Green maturing to bright red or red-orange, dries to brownish-red

Average Size: 1/2 - 3/4" long, 1/4" diameter

Shape: Wild pequins are oval while domesticated chiles are a slightly elongated oval.

Description: Thin-fleshed and easily dried they range greatly in shape and color. They have a sweet, smoky flavor and lots of heat. They're small but they pack a punch.

Scoville Heat Units: 30,000 - 40,000

Substitute if Not Available: Cayenne pepper, Thai, Tabasco (though not that similar)

Other Names: Chile pequeno, piquen, amash, amomo, bird, bravo, chilillo, chilipiquin, chilpaya, chilpequin, chiltipiquin, del monte, huarahuao, max

Related Cultivars: NuMex Bailey Piquin

Most Commonly Grown In: Mexico, Argentina, New Mexico

Interesting Facts: Wild chiltepins originated in the Sonoran area of Mexico, where they grow between the desert and mountains under large, protective trees. Annual pilgrimages were made by the native Indians of Arizona to harvest these tiny peppers that were used for a variety of medicinal purposes, as well as in food. Because they are so hard to find and pick, they have developed a mystique and to this day are a somewhat coveted and expensive pepper. They are often eaten mashed with a variety of food and are also delicious pickled. Birds love them, hence their nickname 'bird pepper'. New Mexico State University developed a cultivar which was the first domesticated and machine harvested chile pequin.

Most Common Uses: Salsa, soups, vinegars, beans, pickled