Species Name: Capsicum pubescens

Color: Green to golden yellow, orange or red

Average Size: 2 inches wide, 2 inches long

Shape: Round, sometimes pear-shaped

Description: Very hot, thick-walled pods, usually eaten fresh as they don't dry well

Scoville Heat Units: Not rated but hotter than habanero (300,000+)

Substitute if Not Available: Closest substitute would be habanero (for heat, not flavor)

Other Names: Manzano, canaria, locoto, perron (Mexico), caballo (Guatemala), manzana, jalapeno (Costa Rica)

Related Cultivars: None

Most Commonly Grown In: South America, Central America, Mexico

Interesting Facts: The rocoto is still quite unknown in North America as it is not grown commercially in the U.S. It is an exotic looking chile with long, hairy stems, purple flowers, and jet-black seeds. It grows at a high altitude of between 3,500 to 6,000 feet and requires a cool climate. The rocoto is believed by many to be much hotter than a habanero but this has still not been substantiated.

Most Common Uses: In sauces, as a seasoning, in meat and vegetable dishes.