Compiled by Damn Good Pepper


Adjuma, Adjoema, aji umba, or ojemma² is a variety of Capsicum chinense
chili pepper, originally from Suriname. The fruits are shaped like small
bell peppers, colored red or yellow. This pepper is sometimes sold as
Madame Jeanette, although that is a different variety. Adjuma chilies are
also very often sold as "Habanero" or "Scotch Bonnet", due to their

See also

- List of Capsicum cultivars


[1] Adjuma on
[2] Aji Umba on

Ají dulce

Ají dulce (from South American Spanish ají, "chili" + Spanish dulce,
"sweet") is any of a variety of sweet perennial peppers found in Latin
America and the Caribbean. It is most widely known in Venezuela where it
refers to a specific native variety of Capsicum chinense related to the
habanero, but with a much milder, smoky flavour.

In Venezuela, the "ají dulce" is a key ingredient in the preparation of the
paramount dish of the Venezuelan cuisine, the Hallaca; and one of the
cornerstones of the national cuisine.

In Puerto Rico, the "ají dulce" or "ajicito" (colloquially, "ajice") is
grown commercially and is an important ingredient for sauces, such as
recaíto, sofrito or "mojito isleño" (a fish or meat sauce).

In Brazil, this pepper is called Rubra or Biquinho (Because the
rounded-form cultivar; observe the first photo), and is used to make a
sweet jam.

The history of this pepper is obscure, but since wild peppers are naturally
hot this variety was probably developed over the years among farmers by
simple selection of seed from milder and milder fruits. The fruit of aji
dulce can be used green or ripe, and it can be seeded and frozen for use
over the winter, a technique that also preserves its rich flavor much
better than drying. It is a small, light green pepper that turns red (or
yellow) if left long enough on the plant. It has the shape and size of a
habanero pepper without the intense heat. Occasionally, there can be some
ají dulce fruit that is pungent, probably due to out-crossing with other
hot pepper plants. In the tropics, this plant can grow as a perennial,
although most of the commercial production is with annual systems.

See also

- Ají pepper, a spicier pepper
- List of Capsicum cultivars


- Weaver, William Woys. (2000) 100 Vegetables and Where They Came From.
  Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books. ISBN 1-56512-238-0

Aleppo pepper

For other meanings, see Aleppo (disambiguation).

The Aleppo pepper (Arabic: فلفل حلبي‎ / ALA-LC: fulful Ḥalabī; known as pul
biber [flake pepper] in Turkish) is a variety of Capsicum annuum used as a
spice, particularly in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. Also known
as the Halaby pepper,¹ it starts as pods which ripen to a burgundy color
and is then semi-dried, de-seeded, then crushed or coarsely ground.² The
pepper is named after Aleppo, a long-inhabited city along the Silk Road in
northern Syria, and is grown in Syria and Turkey.

Although a common condiment, its use in the United States outside of
Armenian, Syrian and Turkish immigrant communities was rare until the 20th
century, with one source (Los Angeles magazine) dating its rise in use
among the broader U.S. population to the 1994 publication of The Cooking of
the Eastern Mediterranean (ISBN 978-0-06-016651-9) by Paula Wolfert.³


The Aleppo pepper has a moderate heat level of about 10,000 on the Scoville
scale,⁴ ⁵ with some fruitiness and mild, cumin-like undertones. Its flavor
is similar to the ancho chile, but oilier and slightly salty; salt is often
used in the drying process.² It is fairly mild, with its heat building
slowly, with a fruity raisin-like flavor. It has also been described as
having the flavor of "sweetness, roundness and perfume of the best kind of
sundried tomatoes, but with a substantial kick behind it."⁶


The most common use is in the form of crushed flakes, which are typically
slightly milder and more oily than conventional crushed red pepper, with a
hint of saltiness and a slightly raisin-like flavor. Unlike crushed red
pepper, the flakes contain no inner flesh and seeds, contributing to the
mildness. Crushed Aleppo pepper can be used as a substitute for crushed red
pepper or paprika.

The spice is a common ingredient in some of the dishes that comprise a

See also

- Urfa Biber
- List of Capsicum cultivars


[1] "Spices or Herbs or Seasoning Terms". Ockerman's International Food
  Information. Ohio State University Extension. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
[2] David Floyd (June 10, 2010). "The Aleppo Pepper". United Kingdom: The
  ChileFoundry. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
[3] "Hot Stuff". Connoisseur Corner. Los Angeles. May 2002. Retrieved
[4] "Aleppo Pepper: Silk Roads and Subpar Steaks". Spice World (blog).
  Riverfront Times. July 27, 2010. Archived from the original on 1 October
  2010. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
[5] "Pepper Heat Ratings in Scoville Units". Penzeys Spices. Retrieved
[6] "Bluefish and Aleppo Pepper". Diner's Journal (blog). The New York
  Times. June 27, 2008. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
[7] "Bank holiday special: A picnic with a twist". Metro. 27 April 2009.
  Retrieved 2010-10-20.

Anaheim pepper

An Anaheim pepper is a mild variety of the New Mexico chile pepper. The
name "Anaheim" derives from Emilio Ortega, a farmer who brought the seeds
to the Anaheim, California, area in the early 1900s. They are also called
California chile or Magdalena, and dried as chile seco del norte. Since
Anaheim peppers originated from New Mexico, they are also sometimes known
as New Mexico peppers. Additionally, in New Mexico they are often referred
to simply as "chile" because they are so ubiquitous. Varieties of the
pepper grown in New Mexico tend to be hotter than those grown in

The chile "heat" of Anaheims typically ranges from 500 to 2,500 on the
Scoville scale;¹ however, typical cultivars grown in New Mexico range from
500 to 10,000 Scoville units.²

New Mexican cultivars were developed in the state by Dr. Fabian Garcia,
whose major release was the New Mexico No. 9 in 1913.³ These cultivars are
"hotter" than others in order to suit the tastes of New Mexicans in their
traditional foods. The hottest cultivars (e.g. NuMex XXHot) can be as hot
as 70,000 Scoville units,⁴ indicating large genetic variability. Chiles
grown around the town of Hatch are marketed under the name of the town and
are often sold fresh-roasted in New Mexico and neighboring states in the
early autumn.

This chile is used in many Mexican and New Mexican dishes.

See also

- Ristra
- New Mexican cuisine
- List of Capsicum cultivars


[1] "Anaheim Pepper". Truestar Health Encyclopedia. 2007. Archived from the
  original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
[2] "Chile Heat". Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University.
  2007. Retrieved 2007-10-22.
[3] "The Chile Cultivars of New Mexico State University, Released from 1913
  to 2008". Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University. 2008.
[4] "Just How HOT Are My Chiles?".

External links

- History at
- Description at
- History at


In the APG II system (2003) for the classification of flowering plants, the
name asterids denotes a clade (a monophyletic group).¹ Common examples
include the forget-me-nots, nightshades, potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes,
peppers, tobacco, petunias, morning glory, sweet potato, coffee, lavender,
lilac, olive, jasmine, honeysuckle, ash tree, teak, snapdragon, sesame,
psyllium, garden sage, and a number of table herbs such as mint, basil, and

Most of the taxa belonging to this clade had been referred to the Asteridae
in the Cronquist system (1981) and to the Sympetalae in earlier systems.
The name asterids (not necessarily capitalised) resembles the earlier
botanical name but is intended to be the name of a clade rather than a
formal ranked name, in the sense of the ICBN. This clade is one of the two
most speciose groups of eudicots, the other being the rosids. It consists

- clade asterids:
      order Cornales order Ericales
    clade euasterids I
          family Boraginaceae family Icacinaceae family Oncothecaceae
          family Vahliaceae
        order Garryales order Solanales order Gentianales order Lamiales
    clade euasterids II
          family Bruniaceae family Columelliaceae (+ family
          Desfontainiaceae) family Eremosynaceae family Escalloniaceae (+
          family Tribelaceae) family Paracryphiaceae (+ families
          Sphenostemonaceae and Quintiniaceae) family Polyosmaceae
        order Aquifoliales order Apiales order Dipsacales order Asterales

Note: " + ...." = optional as a segregate of the preceding family.


The APG III system, published in 2009, made several changes:²

- clade asterids:
      order Cornales order Ericales
    clade lamiids (similar to euasterids I in APG II)
          family Boraginaceae family Icacinaceae family Oncothecaceae
          family Vahliaceae family Metteniusaceae
        order Garryales order Solanales order Gentianales order Lamiales
    clade campanulids (similar to euasterids II in APG II)
        order Apiales order Aquifoliales order Asterales order Bruniales
        order Dipsacales order Escalloniales order Paracryphiales


[1] Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2003). "An update of the Angiosperm
  Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering
  plants: APG II" (PDF). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 141 (4):
  399–436. doi:10.1046/j.1095-8339.2003.t01-1-00158.x. ISSN 0024-4074.
[2] Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2009). "An update of the Angiosperm
  Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering
  plants: APG III" (PDF). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161 (2):
  105–121. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x. ISSN 0024-4074.

External links

- Asterids in Stevens, P. F. (2001 onwards). Angiosperm Phylogeny Website.
  Version 7, May 2006.

Banana pepper

The banana pepper (also known as the yellow wax pepper or banana chili) is
a medium-sized member of the chili pepper family that has a mild, tangy
taste. While typically bright yellow, it is possible for them to change to
green, red, or orange as they ripen. It is often pickled, stuffed or used
as a raw ingredient in foods. It is a cultivar of the species Capsicum
annuum. Its flavor is not very hot (0–500 Scoville units), and as is the
case with most peppers, its hotness depends on the maturity of the pepper,
with the most ripe being sweeter than younger ones.


A mature fruit will be about 2-3 inches (5–8 cm) in length and have a
curved shape and yellowish color similar to a banana, giving rise to the
fruit's common name. Peperoncini are often erroneously referred to as
banana peppers and immature Hungarian wax peppers are frequently mistaken
for them. It's not uncommon for Hungarian wax peppers to be sold in bunches
of banana peppers providing more heat and less sweetness than would be


The plant requires full sun, like other Capsicum annuum varieties, and
should be treated the same as most other plants in the pepper family.
Plants can be grown from seed and cuttings. The hot varieties of Banana
pepper are called Hungarian Wax Peppers. Cultivars include Early Sweet
Banana, Hungarian Yellow Wax, Sweet Banana, Sweet Hungarian.¹ A mature
plant will reach 1 to 2 feet tall and can be grown in many climates, but
prefer warmer climates.

Nutritional information

Banana peppers are an optimum food for inclusion in weight loss diets,
containing low amounts of calories, fat, and sodium. They are also a good
source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, potassium and a very good source of
vitamin C. The mild heat associated with them makes it ideal for adding to
lighter fare such as salads in order to make them feel more filling.²

Serving styles

- Pickled banana peppers are commonly sold sliced and used to garnish
  pizzas, sandwiches and Greek salads.
- Pickled and stuffed banana peppers are common inclusions on Antipasto
  bars filled with prosciutto and/or cheese.
- Stuffed banana peppers are served warm with a variety of Italian sausage
  and cheeses.
- Chopped or diced banana peppers are used in many relishes and salsas to
  add sweetness with other peppers providing heat.
- Banana peppers may be jellied along with other hot green peppers such as

See also

- Peperoncini
- Hungarian wax peppers
- List of Capsicum cultivars
- Scoville scale


[1] Jean Andrews (1995). Peppers: The Domesticated Capsicums, New Edition.
  University of Texas Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-292-70467-1. Retrieved 31
  August 2012.
[2] Livestrong: Are Banana Peppers Good For You?

Bell pepper

Bell pepper, also known as sweet pepper or a pepper (in the United Kingdom,
Canada and Ireland) and capsicum /ˈkæpsɨkəm/¹ (in India, Pakistan,
Australia, Singapore and New Zealand), is a cultivar group of the species
Capsicum annuum.² Cultivars of the plant produce fruits in different
colors, including red, yellow, orange, green, chocolate/brown,
vanilla/white, and purple. Bell peppers are sometimes grouped with less
pungent pepper varieties as "sweet peppers". Peppers are native to Mexico,
Central America and northern South America. The ribs and seeds inside bell
peppers may be consumed, but some find the taste to be bitter.³ Pepper
seeds were later carried to Spain in 1493 and from there spread to other
European, African and Asian countries. Today, China is the world's largest
pepper producer, followed by Mexico and Indonesia.

Ideal growing conditions for bell peppers include warm soil, ideally 21 to
29 °C (70 to 84 °F), that is kept moist but not waterlogged.⁴ Bell peppers
are sensitive to an abundance of moisture and excessive temperatures.


The misleading name "pepper" was given by Christopher Columbus upon
bringing the plant back to Europe. At that time peppercorns, the fruit of
an unrelated plant originating from India, Piper nigrum, was a highly
prized condiment; the name "pepper" was at that time applied in Europe to
all known spices with a hot and pungent taste and so naturally extended to
the newly discovered Capsicum genus. The most commonly used alternative
name of the plant family, "chile", is of Mexican origin, from the Nahuatl
word chilli or xilli. Bell peppers are botanically fruits, but are
generally considered in culinary contexts to be vegetables.

While the bell pepper is a member of the Capsicum genus, it is the only
Capsicum that does not produce capsaicin,⁵ a lipophilic chemical that can
cause a strong burning sensation when it comes in contact with mucous
membranes. (An exception to this is the hybrid variety Mexibelle, which
does contain a moderate level of capsaicin, and is therefore somewhat hot).
The lack of capsaicin in bell peppers is due to a recessive form of a gene
that eliminates capsaicin and, consequently, the "hot" taste usually
associated with the rest of the Capsicum genus.⁶

The terms "bell pepper", "pepper" or in India, Australia and New Zealand
"capsicum", are often used for any of the large bell shaped fruits,
regardless of their color. In British and Canadian English, the fruit is
simply referred to as a "pepper", or additionally by color (as in the term
"green pepper", for example), whereas in the United States and Malaysia,
they are usually referred to as "bell peppers". Canadian English uses both
"bell pepper" and "pepper" interchangeably. In some countries in Europe,
the term "paprika", which has its roots in the word for pepper, is used –
sometimes referred to by their color (e.g., "groene paprika", "gele
paprika", in Dutch, which are green and yellow, respectively). The bell
pepper is called "パプリカ" (papurika) in Japan. Paprika also refers to the
powdered spice made from the fruits in the Capsicum genus.⁷ In Switzerland
it is mostly called "peperoni", which is the Italian name of the fruit. In
France, it is called "poivron", with the same root as "poivre" (meaning
"pepper"), or "piment". In Korea, the word "피망" (pimang from the Japanese
"ピーマン" (piiman)) refers to green bell peppers, whereas "파프리카" (papurika
from paprika) refers to bell peppers of other colors.


Most often bell peppers are green, yellow, orange, and red (between stages
of ripening). More rarely, color can be brown, white, rainbow, lavender and
dark purple, depending on the variety of pepper. Most typically, unripe
fruit are green or, less commonly, pale yellow or purple. Red bell peppers
are simply ripened green peppers,⁸ although the Permagreen variety
maintains its green color even when fully ripe. Green peppers are less
sweet and slightly more bitter than yellow or orange peppers, with red bell
peppers being the sweetest. The taste of ripe peppers can also vary with
growing conditions and post-harvest storage treatment; the sweetest are
fruit allowed to ripen fully on the plant in full sunshine, while fruit
harvested green and after-ripened in storage are less sweet.

Nutritional value

Capsicum peppers are rich sources of antioxidants and vitamin C. Compared
to green peppers, red peppers have more vitamins and nutrients and contain
the antioxidant lycopene.² The level of carotene, like lycopene, is nine
times higher in red peppers. Red peppers have twice the vitamin C content
of green peppers.²

Red and green bell peppers are high in para-coumaric acid.

The characteristic aroma of green peppers is caused by
3-isoButyl-2-methoxypyrazine (IBMP). Its detection threshold in water is
estimated to be 2 ng/L.⁹ The same chemical is responsible for
characteristic Cabernet Sauvignon green note.


- Note: Serbia before 2006 incl. Montenegro



Orange bell pepper


A variety of colored bell peppers


A whole and halved red bell pepper


A whole purple pepper


Red bell peppers


Japanese green pepper


Green, yellow and red peppers


Quadrato d'Asti Giallo bell pepper flower


Secondary fruit growing inside a capsicum annuum


Red bell pepper as decoration


yellow bell pepper plant


Green bell pepper plant

See also

- List of Capsicum cultivars
- Paprika
- Scoville scale
- Stuffed peppers


[1] Wells, John C. (2008), Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.),
  Longman, p. 123, ISBN 9781405881180
[2] Pharmacognosy and Health Benefits of Capsicum Peppers (Bell Peppers)
[4] "Growing Peppers: The Important Facts".
  Retrieved 10 January 2013.
[6] "The World's Healthiest Foods". Archived from the original on 8
  February 2010. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
[7] Azhar Ali Farooqi; B. S. Sreeramu; K. N. Srinivasappa (2005).
  Cultivation of Spice Crops. Universities Press. pp. 336–. ISBN
  978-81-7371-521-1. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
[8] "Vegetable of the Month: Bell Pepper". CDC Fruit & Vegetable of the
  Month. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
[9] Dominique Roujou de Boubee, School of Oenology, University of Bordeaux
  II. "Research on 2-methoxy-3-isoButylpyrazine in Grapes and Wine".
  Retrieved 18 March 2013.
[10] "Table 64—World bell and chile peppers: Production 1990–2007". United
  States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-05-08.

Bhut Jolokia

The bhut jolokia (Assamese: ভূত-জলকীয়া),¹ ² also known as bih jolokia,
u-morok, ghost pepper, ghost chili pepper, red naga chilli, and ghost
chilli is an interspecific hybrid chili pepper cultivated in the Indian
states of Assam, Nagaland and Manipur.³ ⁴ It is an interspecies hybrid of
C. chinense and C. frutescens genes.⁵

In 2007, Guinness World Records certified that the ghost pepper was the
world's hottest chili pepper, 401.5 times hotter than Tabasco sauce; the
ghost chilli is rated at more than 1 million Scoville heat units (SHUs).
Classic Tabasco sauce ranges from 2,500 to 5,000 SHUs. However, as of 2012,
it was superseded by the Trinidad moruga scorpion.⁶

On December 26, 2013, the Guinness World Records rated the "Carolina
Reaper" the world's hottest pepper, moving the ghost chili to third place.⁷


The chili is referred to differently in different regions. In Assam, it is
widely known as bhot jolokia (ভোট জলকীয়া) or bih jolokia. In some parts of
Assam, this chili is called noga jolokia, believed to be named after the
ferocious Naga warriors inhabiting the plains and hills of Nagaland.⁸
Further complicating matters, a 2009 paper coined the English term "Naga
king chili" which refers to the chili's large pod size.⁹ ¹⁰ This is
probably because the chili has long been colloquially known as Raja mircha
or Raja mirchi in Nagaland. It also stated that the most common Indian
(Assamese) usage is bhot jolokia and gives the alternate common name as bih
jolokia (bih means "poison" in Assamese, denoting the plant's heat). The
Assamese word jolokia simply means the Capsicum pepper. Other usages on the
subcontinent are saga jlokia, Indian mystery chili, and Indian rough chili
(after the chili's rough skin).⁹ ¹¹ It has also been called the Tezpur
chili after the Assamese city of Tezpur.⁸ In Manipur, the chili is called
umorok or oo-morok (oo = "tree", morok = "chili").¹²

Scoville rating

In 2000, India's Defence Research Laboratory (DRL) reported a rating of
855,000 SHUs,¹³ and in 2004 a rating of 1,041,427 SHUs was made using HPLC
analysis.¹⁴ For comparison, Tabasco red pepper sauce rates at 5000–10,000,
and pure capsaicin (the chemical responsible for the pungency of pepper
plants) rates at 16,000,000 SHUs.

In 2005, at New Mexico State University Chile Pepper Institute near Las
Cruces, New Mexico,¹⁵ Regents Professor Paul Bosland found bhut jolokia
grown from seed in southern New Mexico to have a Scoville rating of
1,001,304 SHUs by HPLC.³

The effect of climate on the heat of these peppers is dramatic. A 2005
study comparing percentage availability of capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin
in bhut jolokia peppers grown in Tezpur (Assam), showed the heat of the
pepper is decreased by over 50% in Gwalior's more arid climate.¹⁶ Elsewhere
in India, scientists at Manipur University measured its average Scoville
rating by HPLC at only 329,100 SHUs.¹²


Ripe peppers measure 60 to 85 mm (2.4 to 3.3 in) long and 25 to 30 mm (1.0
to 1.2 in) wide with a red, yellow, orange, or chocolate color. The
unselected strain of bhut jolokia from India is an extremely variable
plant, with a wide range in fruit sizes and fruit production per plant, and
offers a huge potential for developing much better strains through
selection in the future. Bhut jolokia pods are unique among peppers, with
their characteristic shape, and very thin skin.¹⁷ However, the red fruit
variety has two different fruit types, the rough, dented fruit and the
smooth fruit. The images on this page show the smooth fruit form. The rough
fruit plants are taller, with more fragile branches, and the smooth fruit
plants yields more fruit, and is a more compact plant with sturdier


Bhut jolokia is used as a food and a spice, as well as a remedy to summer
heat.⁴ It is used in both fresh and dried forms, to not only "heat up"
curries, pickles and chutneys, but also to impart two distinct flavors to
them. It is popularly used in combination with pork or dried or fermented
fish. In northeastern India, the peppers are smeared on fences or
incorporated in smoke bombs as a safety precaution to keep wild elephants
at a distance.¹⁹ ²⁰ The pepper's intense heat makes it a fixture in
competitive chili pepper eating.²¹

Defense product

Main article: Chili grenade

In 2009, scientists at India's Defence Research and Development
Organisation announced plans to use the peppers in hand grenades, as a
nonlethal way to flush out terrorists from their hideouts and to control
rioters. It will also be developed into pepper spray as a
self-defense/antirape product.²² ²³ ²⁴ ²⁵ ²⁶ ²⁷ ²⁸ ²⁹ ³⁰

R. B. Srivastava, the director of the Life Sciences Department at the New
Delhi headquarters of India's Defence Research and Development Organisation
(who also led a defense research laboratory in Assam), said bhut
jolokia-based aerosol sprays could be used as a "safety device", and "civil
variants" of chili grenades could be used to control and disperse mobs.³¹

Dorset Naga

The Dorset Naga is a substrain of the original Naga, selected from the
Bangladeshi varieties of the chili, naga morich.³²

Annually, since 2005, the heat level of Dorset Naga has been tested, taking
samples from different sites, various seasons, and states of maturity. The
heat level has ranged from 661,451 SHUs for green fruit in 2007, up to
1,032,310 SHUs for ripe fruit harvested in 2009.³³

High as the results were, the BBC's Gardeners' World television programme
recorded a much higher heat level for Dorset Naga. As part of the 2006
programming, the BBC gardening team ran a trial looking at several chili
varieties, including Dorset Naga. Heat levels were tested by Warwick HRI,
and the Dorset Naga came in at 1,598,227 SHUs, one of the hottest heat
levels ever recorded for a chili.³² ³⁴



Peach Bhut Jolokia Ghost Pepper


Yellow Bhut Jolokia Ghost Pepper


Chocolate Bhut Jolokia Ghost Pepper


Purple Bhut Jolokia Ghost Pepper


Red Bhut Jolokia Ghost Pepper


[1] Pvt. Ltd. (2007-02-18). "Available Resources in Assam". Retrieved 2012-07-20.
[2] "Assam to promote 'Bhot Jalakiya', the hottest chilli of the world".
  Assam Times. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
[3] Shaline L. Lopez (2007). "NMSU is home to the world's hottest chile
  pepper". Archived from the original on 2007-02-19. Retrieved 2007-02-21.
[4] "'Ghost chile' burns away stomach ills - Diet & Nutrition -". Associated Press. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
[5] Paul W. Bosland and Jit B. Baral (2007). "'Bhut Jolokia'—The World's
  Hottest Known Chile Pepper is a Putative Naturally Occurring
  Interspecific Hybrid". Horticultural Science 42 (2): 222–4.
[6] Susan Montoya Bryan (February 16, 2012). "Trinidad Moruga Scorpion wins
  hottest pepper title". Associated Press. Archived from the original on
[7] "Hottest Chili". Guiness World Records. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
[8] Dave DeWitt, Dave DeWitt coauthors=Paul W. Bosland (2009). The Complete
  Chile Pepper Book. Timber Press. p. 158. ISBN 0-88192-920-4.
[9] Raktim Ranjan Bhagowati et al (2009). "Genetic Variability and
  Traditional Practices in Naga King Chili Landraces of Nagaland" (PDF).
  Asian Agri-History 13 (3): 171–180.
[10] "Northeast 'Hottest' chef gets a taste of hottest jolokia". The
  Telegraph (Calcutta). 2009-04-10. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
[11] Rajghatta, Chidanand (6 September 2009). "Saga Jolokia: Indian chilli
  acquires cult following in US". The Economic Times (New Dehli, India).
  Retrieved 24 April 2012.
[12] Sanatombi K., G. J. Sharma (2008). "Capsaicin Content and Pungency of
  Different Capsicum spp. Cultivars" (PDF). Not. Bot. Hort. Agrobot. Cluj.
  36 (2): pp. 89–90. ISSN 1842-4309.
[13] Mathur R, et al. (2000). "The hottest chili variety in India" (PDF).
  Current Science 79 (3): 287–8.
[14] "Bih jolokia". 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-12.
[15] "NMSU: The Chile Pepper Institute - Home". The Chile Pepper Institute.
  Retrieved 2012-07-20.
[16] Tiwari A, et al. (2005). "Adaptability and production of hottest chili
  variety under Gwalior climatic conditions" (PDF). Current Science 88
  (10): 1545–6.
[17] Barker, Catherine L. (2007). "Hot Pod: World's Hottest". National
  Geographic Magazine 2007 (May). p. 21.
[18] Dremann, Craig Carlton. 2011. Redwood City Seed Company, Observations
  on the variations in the Bhut Jolokia pepper from seed reproduction
[19] Hussain, Wasbir (2007-11-20). "World's Hottest Chile Used as Elephant
  Repellent". National Geographic. Retrieved 2007-11-21.
[20] "Ghost Chile Scares Off Elephants". National Geographic News website.
  National Geographic. 2007-11-20. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
[22] "Army's new weapon: world's hottest chili - Trends News - IBNLive". 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
[23] "Curry bomb! Indian army chiefs reveal latest weapon in war on terror
  | Mail Online". London: 2008-04-01. Retrieved
[24] "South Asia | India plans hot chilli grenades". BBC News. 2009-06-25.
  Retrieved 2012-11-06.
[25] Stephen Bates (2010-03-23). "India deploys world's hottest chilli to
  fight terrorism | World news". The Guardian (London). Retrieved
[26] Mail Foreign Service (2010-03-25). "World's hottest chilli is new
  weapon for India | Mail Online". London: Retrieved
[29] Social Post (2010-03-24). "Indian army to use chilli grenades to fight
  terror | India - Oneindia News". Retrieved 2012-11-06.
[30] "South Asia | India plans hot chilli grenades.". BBC News. 2009-06-25.
  Retrieved 2010-04-11.
[31] Bhaumik, Subir (24 March 2010). "India scientists hail 'multi-purpose'
  chillis". BBC News (City of Westminster, England: BBC). Retrieved 24
  April 2012.
[32] "Some Like It Hot: Dorset's Ultra-Hot Chillies". Retrieved 2010-08-25.
[33] "Dorset Naga". Dorset Naga. Retrieved 2012-07-20.
[34] "Gardening: 20 October 2006". (London: BBC). 20 October
  2006. Gardeners' World's hottest chillies. Archived from the original on
  17 January 2008. Retrieved 20 July 2012.

Bird's eye chili

Not to be confused with Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum, also called
bird's eye pepper
For a similar cultivar also known as peri-peri, see African birdseye.

Bird's eye chili, bird's chili or Thai chili (Vietnamese: Ớt hiểm, Thai:
พริกขี้หนู, RTGS: phrik khi nu, IPA: [pʰrík kʰîː nǔː], literal: Mouse/rat
dropping chili; Indonesian: Cabai rawit; Malay: Cili api or Cili padi) is a
chili pepper, a cultivar from the species Capsicum annuum, commonly found
in Southeast Asia. It is often confused with a similar-looking chili
derived from the species Capsicum frutescens, the cultivar 'siling labuyo'.
Bird's eye chili can also be found in India, in Meghalaya and Kerala; it is
used in traditional dishes of the Kerala cuisine (in Malayalam as kanthari
mulagu Malayalam: കാന്താരി മുളക്). The Garos of Meghalaya called it jal·ik
meseki (where jal·ik = chili; meseki = mouse dropping). This cultivar
(known as කොච්චි (kochchi) in Sinhalese) is also found in rural areas of
Sri Lanka, where it is used as a substitute for green chilis. It is also a
main ingredient in kochchi sambal, a salad made using freshly scraped
coconut ground with bird's eye chilis and seasoned with salt and lime
juice. It is used extensively in Thai, Lao, Khmer, Indonesian, and
Vietnamese cuisine.



The bird's eye chili plant is a perennial with small, tapering fruits,
often two or three, at a node. The fruits are very pungent.

The bird's eye chili is small, but is quite hot (piquant). It measures
around 100,000–225,000 Scoville units, which is at the lower half of the
range for the hotter habanero chili but still many times more spicy than a

Characteristics of the bird's eye chili plant³

- Plant height: up to 2 m
- Stem colour: green
- Leaf colour: green
- Leaf size: 3–8 cm by 2–4 cm
- Fruit colour at maturity: green, orange, or red
- Fruit shape: conical
- Fruit length: 2–3 cm
- Fruit width at shoulder: 0.5 cm
- Fruit weight: 2–3 g
- Fruit surface: smooth
- Seed colour: light tan
- Seeds per fruit: 10–20


All chilis found around the world today have their origins in Mexico,
Central America, and South America. They were spread by the Spanish and the
Portuguese, together with many other now common crops such as maize,
tomatoes and pineapples. This is now called the Columbian Exchange. The
chili varieties found in Southeast Asia today were brought by Spanish and
Portuguese colonists and traders in the 16th or 17th century.⁴ ⁵

Common names

The chilis may also be referred to as cili padi (cili pronounced as
"chili") in parts of Malaysia because their small size reminds people of
the small-grained rice eaten as a staple in the region. In the northern
parts of Malaysia, this chili is known as cabai burung or bird chili, as
birds eat this variety of chili. In Sarawak, it is called cabik padi. In
the Philippines, it is mistakenly called labuyo, but Siling labuyo is
hotter and has a paler colour.

In Mandarin Chinese, they are known as 小米椒 (xiǎo mǐ jiāo).

Bird's eye chilis can also be referred to as cabai rawit (Indonesian),
lombok rawit (Javanese), cengis (Banyumasan language), céngék (Sundanese),
phrik khi nu (Thai: พริกขี้หนู), Thai hot, Thai dragon (due to its
resemblance to claws), ladâ, and boonie pepper (the Anglicized name).



In Vietnamese cuisine, these chilis are used in soups, salads, and
stir-fried dishes. They are also put in fish sauce as a condiment or eaten

In Thai cuisine, these chilis are highly valued for their fruity taste and
extreme spiciness. They are extensively used in many Thai dishes, such as
in Thai curries and in Thai salads, green as well as the ripe red chilis;
or they can just be eaten raw on the side, with for instance, khao kha mu
(stewed pork trotter served with rice).

Similar ornamentals

The more decorative, but slightly less pungent chili, sometimes known as
'Thai ornamental', has peppers that point upward on the plant, and range
from green to yellow, orange, and then red. It is the basis for the hybrid
cultivar 'Numex twilight', essentially the same, but less pungent, and
starting with purple fruit, creating a rainbow effect. These peppers can
grow wild in places such as Saipan and Guam.

See also

- List of Capsicum cultivars
- African bird's eye chili


[1] DeWitt, D.; Bosland, P.W. (2009). The Complete Chile Pepper Book: A
  Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking. Timber
  Press. ISBN 978-0881929201.
[3] Growing Chili: Bird's Eye Chili

Bishop's crown

Not to be confused with the Capsicum frutescens pepper also called peri

The bishop's crown, Christmas bell, peri peri, or joker's hat, is a pepper,
a cultivar of the species Capsicum baccatum var. pendulum.¹ It is named for
its distinct three-sided shape resembling a bishop's crown.²

Although this variety can be found in Barbados,² and is Capsicum baccatum
var. pendulum, ¹ it may be indigenous to South America. Today, it is also
found in Europe, possibly brought there from Brazil by the Portuguese
sometime in the 18th century.¹

The actual plant is relatively large, being three to four feet in height.
It produces 30 to 50 peculiar, three or four flat-winged, wrinkled pods.
These somewhat flying saucer-like peppers grow to approximately 1.5 inches

The flesh inside each pepper is thin, yet crisp. They mature to red from a
pale green colour about 90-100 days after the seedlings emerge.¹

The body of the peppers have very little heat, with the wings being sweet
and mild.¹

Other names

This pepper has numerous common names, some of which are shared by other
varieties of the species.¹

- Balloon pepper
- Pimenta cambuci
- Campane
- Peri peri
- Ubatuba cambuci
- Aji flor
- Orchid
- Christmas bell


[1] "PI 497974 chile pepper database". Retrieved
[2] "Chile pepper varieties". Retrieved 2011-08-20.

External links

- High resolution images

Black pepper

"Peppercorn" redirects here. For other uses, see Peppercorn

Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae,
cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and
seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately 5
millimetres (0.20 in) in diameter, dark red when fully mature, and, like
all drupes, contains a single seed. Peppercorns, and the ground pepper
derived from them, may be described simply as pepper, or more precisely as
black pepper (cooked and dried unripe fruit), green pepper (dried unripe
fruit) and white pepper (ripe fruit seeds).

Black pepper is native to south India, and is extensively cultivated there
and elsewhere in tropical regions. Currently Vietnam is the world's largest
producer and exporter of pepper, producing 34% of the world's Piper nigrum
crop as of 2008.

Dried ground pepper has been used since antiquity for both its flavor and
as a traditional medicine. Black pepper is the world's most traded spice.
It is one of the most common spices added to European cuisine and its
descendants. The spiciness of black pepper is due to the chemical piperine,
not to be confused with the capsaicin that gives fleshy peppers theirs. It
is ubiquitous in the modern world as a seasoning, and is often paired with


The word "pepper" has its roots in the Dravidian word for long pepper,
pippali.² ³ ⁴ Ancient Greek and Latin turned pippali into the Latin piper,
which was used by the Romans to refer both to black pepper and long pepper,
as the Romans erroneously believed that both of these spices were derived
from the same plant.⁵ Today's "pepper" derives from the Old English pipor.
The Latin word is also the source of Romanian piper, Italian pepe, Dutch
peper, German Pfeffer, French poivre, and other similar forms.

In the 16th century, pepper started referring to the unrelated New World
chili pepper as well. "Pepper" was used in a figurative sense to mean
"spirit" or "energy" at least as far back as the 1840s; in the early 20th
century, this was shortened to pep.⁶


Black pepper

Black pepper is produced from the still-green unripe drupes of the pepper
plant. The drupes are cooked briefly in hot water, both to clean them and
to prepare them for drying. The heat ruptures cell walls in the pepper,
speeding the work of browning enzymes during drying. The drupes are dried
in the sun or by machine for several days, during which the pepper around
the seed shrinks and darkens into a thin, wrinkled black layer. Once dried,
the spice is called black peppercorn. On some estates, the berries are
separated from the stem by hand and then sun-dried without the boiling

Once the peppercorns are dried, pepper spirit & oil can be extracted from
the berries by crushing them. Pepper spirit is used in many medicinal and
beauty products. Pepper oil is also used as an ayurvedic massage oil and
used in certain beauty and herbal treatments.


Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) essential oil in a clear glass vial


Ground black pepper and a plastic pepper shaker


Roughly cracked black peppercorns, also known as mignonette or poivre

White pepper

"White pepper" redirects here. For the Ween album, see White Pepper.

White pepper consists of the seed of the pepper plant alone, with the
darker-colored skin of the pepper fruit removed. This is usually
accomplished by a process known as retting, where fully ripe red pepper
berries are soaked in water for about a week, during which the flesh of the
pepper softens and decomposes. Rubbing then removes what remains of the
fruit, and the naked seed is dried. Sometimes alternative processes are
used for removing the outer pepper from the seed, including removing the
outer layer through mechanical, chemical or biological methods.⁷

Ground white pepper is often used in cream sauces, Chinese and Thai
cuisine, and dishes like salad, light-colored sauces and mashed potatoes,
where black pepper would visibly stand out. White pepper has a slightly
different flavor than black pepper, due to the lack of certain compounds
present in the outer fruit layer of the drupe, but not found in the seed. A
slightly sweet version of white pepper from India is sometimes called
"whilte pepper".

Green pepper

Green pepper, like black, is made from the unripe drupes. Dried green
peppercorns are treated in a way that retains the green color, such as
treatment with sulfur dioxide, canning or freeze-drying. Pickled
peppercorns, also green, are unripe drupes preserved in brine or vinegar.
Fresh, unpreserved green pepper drupes, largely unknown in the West, are
used in some Asian cuisines, particularly Thai cuisine.⁸ Their flavor has
been described as spicy and fresh, with a bright aroma.⁹ They decay quickly
if not dried or preserved.

Orange pepper and red pepper

Orange pepper or red pepper usually consists of ripe red pepper drupes
preserved in brine and vinegar. Ripe red peppercorns can also be dried
using the same color-preserving techniques used to produce green pepper.¹⁰

Pink pepper and other plants used as pepper

Pink pepper from Piper nigrum is distinct from the more-common dried "pink
peppercorns", which are actually the fruits of a plant from a different
family, the Peruvian pepper tree, Schinus molle, or its relative the
Brazilian pepper tree, Schinus terebinthifolius.

The bark of Drimys winteri ("Canelo" or "Winter's Bark") is used as a
substitute for pepper in cold and temperate regions of Chile and Argentina
where it is easily available.

In New Zealand the seeds of Kawakawa (Macropiper excelsum), a relative of
black pepper, are sometimes used as pepper and the leaves of Pseudowintera
colorata (mountain horopito) are another replacement for pepper.

Several plants in the United States are used also as pepper substitutes,
such as Lepidium campestre, Lepidium virginicum, shepherd's purse,
horseradish, and field Pennycress.

Region of origin

Peppercorns are often categorized by their place of origin. Two types come
from India's Malabar Coast: Malabar and Tellicherry. Tellicherry comes from
grafted Malabar plants grown on Mount Tellicherry.¹¹

Sarawak pepper is native to the Malaysian portion of Borneo. White Muntok
pepper comes from Indonesia and Lampung hails its island of Sumatra.
Vietnam produces both white and black pepper in the provinces of Bà
Rịa–Vũng Tàu, Chu Se District, Bình Phước, and Phú Quốc Island in Kiên
Giang Province.¹²

Kampot Pepper is native to Kampot, Cambodia. Kampot (pepper) has received
GI (Geographical Indication) in 2008. The pepper grown and designated as
Kampot Pepper is grown in a limited geographical region. There are four
varieties grown - black, green, red, and white.


The pepper plant is a perennial woody vine growing up to 4 metres (13 ft)
in height on supporting trees, poles, or trellises. It is a spreading vine,
rooting readily where trailing stems touch the ground. The leaves are
alternate, entire, 5 to 10 cm long and 3 to 6 cm across. The flowers are
small, produced on pendulous spikes 4 to 8 cm long at the leaf nodes, the
spikes lengthening up to 7 to 15 cm as the fruit matures.¹³ The fruit of
the black pepper is called a drupe and when dried it is a peppercorn.

Pepper can be grown in soil that is neither too dry nor susceptible to
flooding, moist, well-drained and rich in organic matter (the vines do not
do too well over an altitude of 900 m (3,000 ft) above sea level). The
plants are propagated by cuttings about 40 to 50 centimeters long, tied up
to neighboring trees or climbing frames at distances of about two meters
apart; trees with rough bark are favored over those with smooth bark, as
the pepper plants climb rough bark more readily. Competing plants are
cleared away, leaving only sufficient trees to provide shade and permit
free ventilation. The roots are covered in leaf mulch and manure, and the
shoots are trimmed twice a year. On dry soils the young plants require
watering every other day during the dry season for the first three years.
The plants bear fruit from the fourth or fifth year, and typically continue
to bear fruit for seven years. The cuttings are usually cultivars, selected
both for yield and quality of fruit.

A single stem will bear 20 to 30 fruiting spikes. The harvest begins as
soon as one or two fruits at the base of the spikes begin to turn red, and
before the fruit is fully mature, and still hard; if allowed to ripen
completely, the fruit lose pungency, and ultimately fall off and are lost.
The spikes are collected and spread out to dry in the sun, then the
peppercorns are stripped off the spikes.¹³

Black pepper is either native to South East Asia.¹⁴ or Southern Asia¹⁵
Within the genus Piper, it is most closely related to other Asian species
such as Piper caninum.¹⁵


Piper nigrum on tree support in Goa, India


Pepper vine, Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India


Pepper is native to South Asia and Southeast Asia and has been known to
Indian cooking since at least 2 BCE.¹⁶ J. Innes Miller notes that while
pepper was grown in southern Thailand and in Malaysia, its most important
source was India, particularly the Malabar Coast, in what is now the state
of Kerala¹⁷ Peppercorns were a much-prized trade good, often referred to as
"black gold" and used as a form of commodity money. The legacy of this
trade remains in some Western legal systems which recognize the term
"peppercorn rent" as a form of a token payment made for something that is
in fact being given.

The ancient history of black pepper is often interlinked with (and confused
with) that of long pepper, the dried fruit of closely related Piper longum.
The Romans knew of both and often referred to either as just "piper". In
fact, it was not until the discovery of the New World and of chili peppers
that the popularity of long pepper entirely declined. Chili peppers, some
of which when dried are similar in shape and taste to long pepper, were
easier to grow in a variety of locations more convenient to Europe.

Before the 16th century, pepper was being grown in Java, Sunda, Sumatra,
Madagascar, Malaysia, and everywhere in Southeast Asia. These areas traded
mainly with China, or used the pepper locally.¹⁸ Ports in the Malabar area
also served as a stop-off point for much of the trade in other spices from
farther east in the Indian Ocean. Following the British hegemony in India,
virtually all of the black pepper found in Europe, the Middle East, and
North Africa was traded from Malabar region.

Black pepper, along with other spices from Southern and Southeast Asia and
lands farther east, changed the course of world history. It was in some
part the preciousness of these spices that led to the Portuguese efforts to
find a sea route to China during the age of discovery and consequently to
the Portuguese colonial occupation of that country, as well as the European
discovery and colonization of the Americas.¹⁹

Ancient times

Black peppercorns were found stuffed in the nostrils of Ramesses II, placed
there as part of the mummification rituals shortly after his death in 1213
BCE.²⁰ Little else is known about the use of pepper in ancient Egypt and
how it reached the Nile from Southeast Asia.

Pepper (both long and black) was known in Greece at least as early as the
4th century BCE, though it was probably an uncommon and expensive item that
only the very rich could afford. Trade routes of the time were by land, or
in ships which hugged the coastlines of the Arabian Sea. Long pepper,
growing in the north-western part of India, was more accessible than the
black pepper from further south; this trade advantage, plus long pepper's
greater spiciness, probably made black pepper less popular at the time.

By the time of the early Roman Empire, especially after Rome's conquest of
Egypt in 30 BCE, open-ocean crossing of the Arabian Sea direct to southern
India's Malabar Coast was near routine. Details of this trading across the
Indian Ocean have been passed down in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.
According to the Roman geographer Strabo, the early Empire sent a fleet of
around 120 ships on an annual one-year trip to China, Southeast Asia, India
and back. The fleet timed its travel across the Arabian Sea to take
advantage of the predictable monsoon winds. Returning from India, the ships
travelled up the Red Sea, from where the cargo was carried overland or via
the Nile Canal to the Nile River, barged to Alexandria, and shipped from
there to Italy and Rome. The rough geographical outlines of this same trade
route would dominate the pepper trade into Europe for a millennium and a
half to come.

With ships sailing directly to the Malabar coast, black pepper was now
travelling a shorter trade route than long pepper, and the prices reflected
it. Pliny the Elder's Natural History tells us the prices in Rome around 77
CE: "Long pepper ... is fifteen denarii per pound, while that of white
pepper is seven, and of black, four." Pliny also complains "there is no
year in which India does not drain the Roman Empire of fifty million
sesterces," and further moralizes on pepper:

  It is quite surprising that the use of pepper has come so much into
  fashion, seeing that in other substances which we use, it is sometimes
  their sweetness, and sometimes their appearance that has attracted our
  notice; whereas, pepper has nothing in it that can plead as a
  recommendation to either fruit or berry, its only desirable quality being
  a certain pungency; and yet it is for this that we import it all the way
  from India! Who was the first to make trial of it as an article of food?
  and who, I wonder, was the man that was not content to prepare himself by
  hunger only for the satisfying of a greedy appetite? (N.H. 12.14)²¹

Black pepper was a well-known and widespread, if expensive, seasoning in
the Roman Empire. Apicius' De re coquinaria, a 3rd-century cookbook
probably based at least partly on one from the 1st century CE, includes
pepper in a majority of its recipes. Edward Gibbon wrote, in The History of
the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, that pepper was "a favorite
ingredient of the most expensive Roman cookery".

Postclassical Europe

Pepper was so valuable that it was often used as collateral or even
currency. In the Dutch language, "pepper expensive" (peperduur) is an
expression for something very expensive. The taste for pepper (or the
appreciation of its monetary value) was passed on to those who would see
Rome fall. Alaric the Visigoth included 3,000 pounds of pepper as part of
the ransom he demanded from Rome when he besieged the city in 5th
century.²² After the fall of Rome, others took over the middle legs of the
spice trade, first the Persians and then the Arabs; Innes Miller cites the
account of Cosmas Indicopleustes, who travelled east to India, as proof
that "pepper was still being exported from India in the sixth century".²³
By the end of the Early Middle Ages, the central portions of the spice
trade were firmly under Islamic control. Once into the Mediterranean, the
trade was largely monopolized by Italian powers, especially Venice and
Genoa. The rise of these city-states was funded in large part by the spice

A riddle authored by Saint Aldhelm, a 7th-century Bishop of Sherborne,
sheds some light on black pepper's role in England at that time:

I am black on the outside, clad in a wrinkled cover,
Yet within I bear a burning marrow.
I season delicacies, the banquets of kings, and the luxuries of the table,
Both the sauces and the tenderized meats of the kitchen.
But you will find in me no quality of any worth,
Unless your bowels have been rattled by my gleaming marrow.[1]

- ^ Translation from Turner, p 94. The riddle's answer is of course pepper.

It is commonly believed that during the Middle Ages, pepper was used to
conceal the taste of partially rotten meat. There is no evidence to support
this claim, and historians view it as highly unlikely: in the Middle Ages,
pepper was a luxury item, affordable only to the wealthy, who certainly had
unspoiled meat available as well.²⁴ In addition, people of the time
certainly knew that eating spoiled food would make them sick. Similarly,
the belief that pepper was widely used as a preservative is questionable:
it is true that piperine, the compound that gives pepper its spiciness, has
some antimicrobial properties, but at the concentrations present when
pepper is used as a spice, the effect is small.²⁵ Salt is a much more
effective preservative, and salt-cured meats were common fare, especially
in winter. However, pepper and other spices certainly played a role in
improving the taste of long-preserved meats.

Its exorbitant price during the Middle Ages—and the monopoly on the trade
held by Italy—was one of the inducements which led the Portuguese to seek a
sea route to India. In 1498, Vasco da Gama became the first person to reach
India by sailing around Africa (see Age of Discovery); asked by Arabs in
Calicut (who spoke Spanish and Italian) why they had come, his
representative replied, "we seek Christians and spices". Though this first
trip to India by way of the southern tip of Africa was only a modest
success, the Portuguese quickly returned in greater numbers and eventually
gained much greater control of trade on the Arabian sea. It was given
additional legitimacy (at least from a European imperialistic perspective)
by the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas, which granted Portugal exclusive rights
to the half of the world where black pepper originated.

The Portuguese proved unable to maintain their stranglehold on the spice
trade for long. The old Arab and Venetian trade networks successfully
'smuggled' enormous quantities of spices through the patchy Portuguese
blockade, and pepper once again flowed through Alexandria and Italy, as
well as around Africa. In the 17th century, the Portuguese lost almost all
of their valuable Indian Ocean trade to the Dutch and the English who,
taking advantage from the Spanish ruling over Portugal (1580–1640),
occupied by force almost all Portuguese dominations in the area. The pepper
ports of Malabar began to trade increasingly with the Dutch in the period

As pepper supplies into Europe increased, the price of pepper declined
(though the total value of the import trade generally did not). Pepper,
which in the early Middle Ages had been an item exclusively for the rich,
started to become more of an everyday seasoning among those of more average
means. Today, pepper accounts for one-fifth of the world's spice trade.²⁶


It is possible that black pepper was known in China in the 2nd century BCE,
if poetic reports regarding an explorer named Tang Meng (唐蒙) are correct.
Sent by Emperor Wu to what is now south-west China, Tang Meng is said to
have come across something called jujiang or "sauce-betel". He was told it
came from the markets of Shu, an area in what is now the Sichuan province.
The traditional view among historians is that "sauce-betel" is a sauce made
from betel leaves, but arguments have been made that it actually refers to
pepper, either long or black.²⁷

In the 3rd century CE, black pepper made its first definite appearance in
Chinese texts, as hujiao or "foreign pepper". It does not appear to have
been widely known at the time, failing to appear in a 4th-century work
describing a wide variety of spices from beyond China's southern border,
including long pepper.²⁸ By the 12th century, however, black pepper had
become a popular ingredient in the cuisine of the wealthy and powerful,
sometimes taking the place of China's native Sichuan pepper (the
tongue-numbing dried fruit of an unrelated plant).

Marco Polo testifies to pepper's popularity in 13th-century China when he
relates what he is told of its consumption in the city of Kinsay
(Hangzhou): "... Messer Marco heard it stated by one of the Great Kaan's
officers of customs that the quantity of pepper introduced daily for
consumption into the city of Kinsay amounted to 43 loads, each load being
equal to 223 lbs."²⁹ Marco Polo is not considered a very reliable source
regarding China, and this second-hand data may be even more suspect, but if
this estimated 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg) a day for one city is anywhere near
the truth, China's pepper imports may have dwarfed Europe's.

During the course of the treasure voyages in the early 15th century,
Admiral Zheng He and his expeditionary fleets returned with such a large
amount of black pepper that the once-costly luxury became a common

Phytochemicals, folk medicine and research

Like many eastern spices, pepper was historically both a seasoning and a
folk medicine. Long pepper, being stronger, was often the preferred
medication, but both were used. Black Pepper (or perhaps long pepper) was
believed to cure illness such as constipation, diarrhea, earache, gangrene,
heart disease, hernia, hoarseness, indigestion, insect bites, insomnia,
joint pain, liver problems, lung disease, oral abscesses, sunburn, tooth
decay, and toothaches.³¹ Various sources from the 5th century onward also
recommend pepper to treat eye problems, often by applying salves or
poultices made with pepper directly to the eye. There is no current medical
evidence that any of these treatments has any benefit; pepper applied
directly to the eye would be quite uncomfortable and possibly damaging.³²
Nevertheless, black pepper, either powdered or its decoction, is widely
used in traditional Indian medicine and as a home remedy for relief from
sore throat, throat congestion, cough etc.

Pepper is known to cause sneezing. Some sources say that piperine, a
substance present in black pepper, irritates the nostrils, causing the
sneezing;³³ Few, if any, controlled studies have been carried out to answer
the question.

Piperine is under study for its potential to increase absorption of
selenium, vitamin B, beta-carotene and curcumin as well as other
nutrients.³⁴ As a folk medicine, pepper appears in the Buddhist
Samaññaphala Sutta, chapter five, as one of the few medicines allowed to be
carried by a monk.³⁵

Pepper contains phytochemicals,³⁶ including amides, piperidines,
pyrrolidines and trace amounts of safrole which may be carcinogenic in
laboratory rodents.³⁷

Piperine is under study for a variety of possible physiological effects,³⁸
although this work is preliminary and mechanisms of activity for piperine
in the human body remain unknown.


One tablespoon (6 grams) of ground black pepper contains moderate amounts
of vitamin K (13% of the Daily Value or DV), iron (10% DV) and manganese
(18% DV), with trace amounts of other essential nutrients, protein and
dietary fiber.³⁹


Pepper gets its spicy heat mostly from piperine derived both from the outer
fruit and the seed. Black pepper contains between 4.6% and 9.7% piperine by
mass, and white pepper slightly more than that.⁴⁰ Refined piperine, by
weight, is about one percent as hot as the capsaicin found in chili
peppers.⁴¹ The outer fruit layer, left on black pepper, also contains
important odour-contributing terpenes including pinene, sabinene, limonene,
caryophyllene, and linalool, which give citrusy, woody, and floral notes.
These scents are mostly missing in white pepper, which is stripped of the
fruit layer. White pepper can gain some different odours (including musty
notes) from its longer fermentation stage.⁴² The aroma of pepper is
attributed to rotundone
a sesquiterpene originally discovered in the tubers of cyperus rotundus,
which can be detected in concentrations of 0.4 nanograms/L in water and in
wine: rotundone is also present in marjoram, oregano, rosemary, basil,
thyme, and geranium, as well as in some Shiraz wines.⁴³

Pepper loses flavor and aroma through evaporation, so airtight storage
helps preserve its spiciness longer. Pepper can also lose flavor when
exposed to light, which can transform piperine into nearly tasteless
isochavicine.⁴² Once ground, pepper's aromatics can evaporate quickly; most
culinary sources recommend grinding whole peppercorns immediately before
use for this reason. Handheld pepper mills or grinders, which mechanically
grind or crush whole peppercorns, are used for this, sometimes instead of
pepper shakers that dispense pre-ground pepper. Spice mills such as pepper
mills were found in European kitchens as early as the 14th century, but the
mortar and pestle used earlier for crushing pepper have remained a popular
method for centuries as well.⁴⁴

World trade

Peppercorns (dried black pepper) are, by monetary value, the most widely
traded spice in the world, accounting for 20 percent of all spice imports
in 2002. The price of pepper can be volatile, and this figure fluctuates a
great deal year to year; for example, pepper made up 39 percent of all
spice imports in 1998.⁴⁵ By weight, slightly more chili peppers are traded
worldwide than peppercorns.

The International Pepper Exchange is located in Kochi, India. Participation
in the IPE however is domestic with regulatory restrictions on
international membership on local exchanges; something common to almost all
Asian commodity exchanges.

As of 2008, Vietnam is the world's largest producer and exporter of pepper,
producing 34% of the world's Piper nigrum. Other major producers include
India (19%), Brazil (13%), Indonesia (9%), Malaysia (8%), Sri Lanka (6%),
China (6%), and Thailand (4%). Global pepper production peaked in 2003 with
over 355,000 t (391,000 short tons), but has fallen to just over 271,000 t
(299,000 short tons) by 2008 due to a series of issues including poor crop
management, disease and weather. Vietnam dominates the export market, using
almost none of its production domestically; however its 2007 crop fell by
nearly 10% from the previous year to about 90,000 t (99,000 short tons).
Similar crop yields occurred in 2007 across the other pepper producing
nations as well.⁴⁶ Nowadays, in England, industrial buyers mix Peppers of
different origin to maintain a balance between price, taste and other
factors. Malabar black peppers are used for weight and taste, Sumatra for
colour, and Penang for strength.⁴⁷

See also

- Peppercorn sauce
- Salt

Notes and references

[1] "Piper nigrum information from NPGS/GRIN". Retrieved
  2 March 2008.
[2] Dravidian India - T.R. Sesha Iyengar - Google Books.
  Retrieved on 31 October 2012.
[3] Intercourse Between India and the Western World - H. G. Rawlinson -
  Google Books. Retrieved on 31 October 2012.
[4] Antiquities of India: An Account of the History and Culture of Ancient
  Hindustan - Lionel D. Barnett - Google Books. Retrieved
  on 31 October 2012.
[5] "Pepper". 30 October 2012.
[6] Douglas Harper's Online Etymology Dictionary entries for pepper and
  pep. Retrieved 13 November 2005.
[7] "Cleaner technology for white pepper production". The Hindu Business
  line. 27 March 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2009.
[8] See Thai Ingredients Glossary. Retrieved 6 November 2005.
[9] Ochef, Using fresh green peppercorns. Retrieved 6 November 2005.
[10] Katzer, Gernot (2006). Pepper. Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages. Retrieved
  2 December 2012.
[11] Peppercorns, from Penzeys Spices. Retrieved 17 October 2006.
[12] Pepper varieties information from A Cook's Wares. Retrieved 6 November
[13] "Black Pepper Cultivation and Harvest". Thompson Martinez. Retrieved
  14 May 2014.
[14] "Piper nigrum Linnaeus". Flora of China.
[15] Jaramillo, M. Alejandra; Manos (2001). "Phylogeny and Patterns of
  Floral Diversity in the Genus Piper (Piperaceae)". American Journal of
  Botany 88 (4): 706 Extra |pages= or |at= (help). doi:10.2307/2657072.
  PMID 11302858.
[16] Davidson & Saberi 178
[17] J. Innes Miller, The Spice Trade of the Roman Empire (Oxford:
  Clarendon Press, 1969), p. 80
[18] Dalby p. 93.
[19] Jack Turner (10 August 2004). Spice. Random House. ISBN 0-375-40721-9.
  Retrieved 9 July 2013.
[20] Stephanie Fitzgerald (8 September 2008). Ramses II, Egyptian Pharaoh,
  Warrior, and Builder. Compass Point Books. p. 88. ISBN 0-7565-3836-X.
  Retrieved 29 January 2008.
[21] From Bostock and Riley's 1855 translation. Text online.
[22] J. Norwich, Byzantium: The Early Centuries, 134
[23] Innes Miller, The Spice Trade, p. 83
[24] Dalby p. 156; also Turner pp. 108–109, though Turner does go on to
  discuss spices (not pepper specifically) being used to disguise the taste
  of partially spoiled wine or ale.
[25] H. J. D. Dorman and S. G. Deans (2000). "Antimicrobial agents from
  plants: antibacterial activity of plant volatile oils". Journal of
  Applied Microbiology 88 (2): 308 Extra |pages= or |at= (help).
  doi:10.1046/j.1365-2672.2000.00969.x. PMID 10736000.. Full text at
  Blackwell website; purchase required. "Spices, which are used as integral
  ingredients in cuisine or added as flavoring agents to foods, are present
  in insufficient quantities for their antimicrobial properties to be
[26] Jaffee, p. 10.
[27] Dalby pp. 74–75. The argument that jujiang was long pepper goes back
  to the 4th century CE botanical writings of Ji Han; Hui-lin Li's 1979
  translation of and commentary on Ji Han's work makes the case that it was
  piper nigrum.
[28] Dalby p. 77.
[29] Yule, Henry; Cordier, Henri, Translation from The Travels of Marco
  Polo: The Complete Yule-Cordier Edition, Vol. 2, Dover. ISBN
  0-486-27587-6. p. 204.
[30] Finlay, Robert (2008). "The Voyages of Zheng He: Ideology, State
  Power, and Maritime Trade in Ming China". Journal of the Historical
  Society 8 (3): 337. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5923.2008.00250.x.
[31] Turner p. 160.
[32] Turner p. 171.
[33] U.S. Library of Congress Science Reference Services "Everyday
  Mysteries", Why does pepper make you sneeze?. Retrieved 12 November 2005.
[34] Dudhatra, GB; Mody, SK; Awale, MM; Patel, HB; Modi, CM; Kumar, A;
  Kamani, DR; Chauhan, BN (2012). "A comprehensive review on
  pharmacotherapeutics of herbal bioenhancers". The Scientific World
  Journal 2012 (637953): 637953. doi:10.1100/2012/637953. PMC 3458266. PMID
[35] Thanissaro Bhikkhu (30 November 1990). Buddhist Monastic Code II.
  Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-36708-5. Retrieved 29 January
[36] Dawid, Corinna; Henze, Andrea; Frank, Oliver; Glabasnia, Anneke; Rupp,
  Mathias; Büning, Kirsten; Orlikowski, Diana; Bader, Matthias; Hofmann,
  Thomas (2012). "Structural and Sensory Characterization of Key Pungent
  and Tingling Compounds from Black Pepper (Piper nigrum L.)". Journal of
  Agricultural and Food Chemistry 60 (11): 2884–2895.
  doi:10.1021/jf300036a. PMID 22352449.
[37] James A. Duke (16 August 1993). CRC Handbook of Alternative Cash
  Crops. CRC Press. p. 395. ISBN 0-8493-3620-1. Retrieved 29 January 2009.
[38] Srinivasan K (2007). "Black pepper and its pungent principle-piperine:
  a review of diverse physiological effects". Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 47
  (8): 735–48. doi:10.1080/10408390601062054. PMID 17987447.
[39] "Nutrition facts for black pepper, one tablespoon (6 g); USDA Nutrient
  Database, version SR-21". Conde Nast. 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
[40] Pepper. Retrieved on 31 October 2012.
[41] Lawless, Harry T.; Heymann, Hildegarde (2010). Sensory Evaluation of
  Food: Principles and Practices. Springer. p. 43. ISBN 1441964886.
[42] McGee p. 428.
[43] Siebert, Tracey E.; Wood, Claudia; Elsey, Gordon M.; Alan (2008).
  "Determination of Rotundone, the Pepper Aroma Impact Compound, in Grapes
  and Wine". J. Agric. Food Chem 56 (10): 3745–3748. doi:10.1021/jf800184t.
[44] Montagne, Prosper (2001). Larousse Gastronomique. Hamlyn. p. 726. ISBN
  0-600-60235-4. OCLC 47231315 50747863 83960122. "Mill".
[45] Jaffee p. 12, table 2.
[46] "Karvy's special Reports — Seasonal Outlook Report Pepper" (PDF).
  Karvy Comtrade Limited. 15 May 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2008.
[47] "Black Pepper". Regency as China Business Limited. 1 January 2014.
  Retrieved 20 May 2014.


- Dalby, Andrew (2002). Dangerous Tastes. Berkeley: University of
  California Press. ISBN 0-520-23674-2.
- Davidson, Alan (2002). Wilder Shores of Gastronomy: Twenty Years of the
  Best Food Writing from the Journal Petits Propos Culinaires. Berkeley:
  Ten Speed Press. ISBN 978-1-58008-417-8.
- Jaffee, Steven (2004). "Delivering and Taking the Heat: Indian Spices and
  Evolving Process Standards" (PDF). An Agriculture and Rural Development
  Discussion Paper (Washington: World Bank).
- McGee, Harold (2004). "Black Pepper and Relatives". On Food and Cooking
  (Revised Edition). Scribner. pp. 427–429. ISBN 0-684-80001-2. OCLC
- Turner, Jack (2004). Spice: The History of a Temptation. London: Vintage
  Books. ISBN 0-375-70705-0. OCLC 61213802.

Further reading

- Black Pepper Chemical List (Dr. Duke's Databases)
- "Black Pepper" from Plant Cultures, a collaboration between NYKRIS and
  Kew Gardens
- Ravindran, P.N. (2000). Black pepper: piper nigrum. Amsterdam: Harwood
  Academic, CRC. ISBN 978-90-5702-453-5

External links

- Media related to Piper nigrum at Wikimedia Commons
- Data related to Piper nigrum at Wikispecies
- Pepper at Wikibook Cookbooks


Capsaicin (/kæpˈseɪ.ɨsɪn/; 8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) is an active
component of chili peppers, which are plants belonging to the genus
Capsicum. It is an irritant for mammals, including humans, and produces a
sensation of burning in any tissue with which it comes into contact.
Capsaicin and several related compounds are called capsaicinoids and are
produced as secondary metabolites by chili peppers, probably as deterrents
against certain mammals and fungi.² Pure capsaicin is a volatile,
hydrophobic, colorless, odorless, crystalline to waxy compound.


The compound was first extracted in impure form in 1816 by Christian
Friedrich Bucholz (1770–1818).³ He called it "capsicin", after the genus
Capsicum from which it was extracted. John Clough Thresh (1850–1932), who
had isolated capsaicin in almost pure form,⁴ ⁵ gave it the name "capsaicin"
in 1876.⁶ Karl Micko isolated capsaicin in its pure form in 1898.⁷
Capsaicin's chemical composition was first determined by E. K. Nelson in
1919, who also partially elucidated capsaicin's chemical structure.⁸
Capsaicin was first synthesized in 1930 by E. Spath and S. F. Darling.⁹ In
1961, similar substances were isolated from chili peppers by the Japanese
chemists S. Kosuge and Y. Inagaki, who named them capsaicinoids.¹⁰ ¹¹

In 1873 German pharmacologist Rudolf Buchheim¹² (1820–1879) and in 1878 the
Hungarian doctor Endre Hőgyes¹³ stated that "capsicol" (partially purified
capsaicin¹⁴ ) caused the burning feeling when in contact with mucous
membranes and increased secretion of gastric acid.


Capsaicin is the main capsaicinoid in chili peppers, followed by
dihydrocapsaicin. These two compounds are also about twice as potent to the
taste and nerves as the minor capsaicinoids nordihydrocapsaicin,
homodihydrocapsaicin, and homocapsaicin. Dilute solutions of pure
capsaicinoids produced different types of pungency; however, these
differences were not noted using more concentrated solutions.

Capsaicin is believed to be synthesized in the interlocular septum of chili
peppers by addition of a branched-chain fatty acid to vanillylamine;
specifically, capsaicin is made from vanillylamine and 8-methyl-6-nonenoyl
CoA.¹⁵ ¹⁶ Biosynthesis depends on the gene AT3, which resides at the pun1
locus, and which encodes a putative acyltransferase.¹⁷

Besides the six natural capsaicinoids, one synthetic member of the
capsaicinoid family exists. Vanillylamide of n-nonanoic acid (VNA, also
PAVA) is used as a reference substance for determining the relative
pungency of capsaicinoids.

Natural function

Capsaicin is present in large quantities in the placental tissue (which
holds the seeds), the internal membranes and, to a lesser extent, the other
fleshy parts of the fruits of plants in the genus Capsicum. The seeds
themselves do not produce any capsaicin, although the highest concentration
of capsaicin can be found in the white pith of the inner wall, where the
seeds are attached.¹⁸

The seeds of Capsicum plants are dispersed predominantly by birds: in
birds, the TRPV1 channel does not respond to capsaicin or related chemicals
(avian vs mammalian TRPV1 show functional diversity and selective
sensitivity). This is advantageous to the plant, as chili pepper seeds
consumed by birds pass through the digestive tract and can germinate later,
whereas mammals have molar teeth which destroy such seeds and prevent them
from germinating. Thus, natural selection may have led to increasing
capsaicin production because it makes the plant less likely to be eaten by
animals that do not help it reproduce.¹⁹ There is also evidence that
capsaicin may have evolved as an anti-fungal agent:²⁰ the fungal pathogen
Fusarium, which is known to infect wild chilies and thereby reduce seed
viability, is deterred by capsaicin, which thus limits this form of
predispersal seed mortality.

In 2006, it was discovered that the venom of a certain tarantula species
activates the same pathway of pain as is activated by capsaicin; this was
the first demonstrated case of such a shared pathway in both plant and
animal anti-mammal defense.²¹



Because of the burning sensation caused by capsaicin when it comes in
contact with mucous membranes, it is commonly used in food products to give
them added spice or "heat" (piquancy). In high concentrations, capsaicin
will also cause a burning effect on other sensitive areas of skin. The
degree of heat found within a food is often measured on the Scoville scale.
In some cases, people enjoy the heat; there has long been a demand for
capsaicin-spiced food and beverages.²² There are many cuisines and food
products featuring capsaicin such as hot sauce, salsa, and beverages.

For information on treatment, see the section Treatment after exposure.

It is common for people to experience pleasurable and even euphoriant
effects from ingesting capsaicin. Folklore among self-described
"chiliheads" attributes this to pain-stimulated release of endorphins, a
different mechanism from the local receptor overload that makes capsaicin
effective as a topical analgesic. In support of this theory, there is some
evidence that the effect can be blocked by naloxone and other compounds
that compete for receptor sites with endorphins and opiates.²³


Capsaicin is used as an analgesic in topical ointments, nasal sprays
(Sinol-M), and dermal patches to relieve pain, typically in concentrations
between 0.025% and 0.25%. It may be applied in cream form for the temporary
relief of minor aches and pains of muscles and joints associated with
arthritis, backache, strains and sprains, often in compounds with other
rubefacients.²⁴ It is also used to reduce the symptoms of peripheral
neuropathy such as post-herpetic neuralgia caused by shingles.²⁵ In direct
application the treatment area is typically numbed first with a topical
anesthetic; capsaicin is then applied by a therapist wearing rubber gloves
and a face mask. The capsaicin remains on the skin until the patient starts
to feel the "heat", at which point it is promptly removed. Capsaicin is
also available in large bandages (plasters) that can be applied to the

Capsaicin creams are used to treat psoriasis as an effective way to reduce
itching and inflammation.²⁶ ²⁷

The mechanism by which capsaicin's analgesic and/or anti-inflammatory
effects occurs is purportedly by mimicking a burning sensation;
overwhelming the nerves by the calcium influx, and thereby rendering the
nerves unable to report pain for an extended period of time. With chronic
exposure to capsaicin, neurons are depleted of neurotransmitters, leading
to reduction in sensation of pain and blockade of neurogenic inflammation.
If capsaicin is removed, the neurons recover.²⁸ ²⁹

Capsaicin selectively binds to a protein known as TRPV1 that resides on the
membranes of pain and heat-sensing neurons.³⁰ ³¹ TRPV1 is a heat-activated
calcium channel that opens between 37 and 45 °C (98.6 and 113 °F,
respectively). When capsaicin binds to TRPV1, it causes the channel to open
below 37 °C (normal human body temperature), which is why capsaicin is
linked to the sensation of heat. Prolonged activation of these neurons by
capsaicin depletes presynaptic substance P, one of the body's
neurotransmitters for pain and heat. Neurons that do not contain TRPV1 are

One study with human subjects indicates that capsaicin may be used to help
regulate blood sugar levels by affecting carbohydrate breakdown after a

Rodent studies have shown that capsicum may have some effectiveness against
cancer. However, the American Cancer Society warns "available scientific
research does not support claims for the effectiveness of capsicum or whole
pepper supplements in preventing or curing cancer at this time".³³ Other
uses not supported by evidence are: "addiction, malaria, yellow fever,
heart disease, stroke, weight loss, poor appetite, and sexual potency".³³

Capsaicin is the key ingredient in the experimental drug Adlea, which is in
(as of 2007) 'Phase 2 Trials' as a long-acting analgesic to treat
post-surgical and osteoarthritic pain for weeks to months after a single
injection to the site of pain.³⁴ Moreover, the drug purportedly reduces
pain caused by osteoarthritis,³⁵ joint and/or muscle pain from fibromyalgia
and from other causes.

Non-lethal force

Capsaicin is also the active ingredient in riot control and personal
defense pepper spray chemical agents. When the spray comes in contact with
skin, especially eyes or mucous membranes, it is very painful, and
breathing small particles of it as it disperses can cause breathing
difficulty, which serves to discourage assailants. Refer to the Scoville
scale for a comparison of pepper spray to other sources of capsaicin.

Pest deterrent

Capsaicin is also used to deter pests, specifically mammalian pests.
Targets of capsaicin repellants include voles, deer, rabbits, squirrels,
insects, and attacking dogs.³⁶ Ground or crushed dried chili pods may be
used in birdseed to deter squirrels,³⁷ taking advantage of the
insensitivity of birds to capsaicin. The Elephant Pepper Development Trust
claims the use of chili peppers to improve crop security for rural African
communities. Notably, an article published in the Journal of Environmental
Science and Health in 2006 states that "Although hot chili pepper extract
is commonly used as a component of household and garden insect-repellent
formulas, it is not clear that the capsaicinoid elements of the extract are
responsible for its repellency."³⁸

The first pesticide product using solely capsaicin as the active ingredient
was registered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1962.³⁶ There are
multiple manufacturers of a capsaicin-based gel product claiming to be a
feral-pigeon (Columba livia) deterrent from specific roosting and loafing
areas. Some of these products have an EPA label and NSF approval.

Equestrian sports

Capsaicin is a banned substance in equestrian sports because of its
hypersensitizing and pain-relieving properties. At the show jumping events
of the 2008 Summer Olympics, four horses tested positive for the substance,
which resulted in disqualification.³⁹

Mechanism of action

The burning and painful sensations associated with capsaicin result from
its chemical interaction with sensory neurons. Capsaicin, as a member of
the vanilloid family, binds to a receptor called the vanilloid receptor
subtype 1 (TRPV1).⁴⁰ First cloned in 1997, TRPV1 is an ion channel-type
receptor.⁴¹ TRPV1, which can also be stimulated with heat, protons and
physical abrasion, permits cations to pass through the cell membrane when
activated. The resulting depolarization of the neuron stimulates it to
signal the brain. By binding to the TRPV1 receptor, the capsaicin molecule
produces similar sensations to those of excessive heat or abrasive damage,
explaining why the spiciness of capsaicin is described as a burning

Early research showed capsaicin to evoke a strikingly long-onset current in
comparison to other chemical agonists, suggesting the involvement of a
significant rate-limiting factor.⁴² Subsequent to this, the TRPV1 ion
channel has been shown to be a member of the superfamily of TRP ion
channels, and as such is now referred to as TRPV1. There are a number of
different TRP ion channels that have been shown to be sensitive to
different ranges of temperature and probably are responsible for our range
of temperature sensation. Thus, capsaicin does not actually cause a
chemical burn, or indeed any direct tissue damage at all, when chili
peppers are the source of exposure. The inflammation resulting from
exposure to capsaicin is believed to be the result of the body's reaction
to nerve excitement. For example, the mode of action of capsaicin in
inducing bronchoconstriction is thought to involve stimulation of C
fibers⁴³ culminating in the release of neuropeptides. In essence, the body
inflames tissues as if it has undergone a burn or abrasion and the
resulting inflammation can cause tissue damage in cases of extreme
exposure, as is the case for many substances that cause the body to trigger
an inflammatory response.


Acute health effects

Capsaicin is a highly irritant material requiring proper protective
goggles, respirators, and proper hazardous material-handling procedures.
Capsaicin takes effect upon skin contact (irritant, sensitizer), eye
contact (irritant), ingestion, and inhalation (lung irritant, lung
sensitizer). The LD₅₀ in mice is 47.2 mg/kg.⁴⁴ ⁴⁵

Painful exposures to capsaicin-containing peppers are among the most common
plant-related exposures presented to poison centers. They cause burning or
stinging pain to the skin and, if ingested in large amounts by adults or
small amounts by children, can produce nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain,
and burning diarrhea. Eye exposure produces intense tearing, pain,
conjunctivitis, and blepharospasm.⁴⁶

When used for weight loss in capsules, there has been a report of heart
attack; this was thought to be due to excess sympathetic output.⁴⁷

Treatment after exposure

The primary treatment is removal from exposure. Contaminated clothing
should be removed and placed in airtight bags to prevent secondary

For external exposure, bathing the mucous membrane surfaces that have
contacted capsaicin with oily compounds such as vegetable oil, paraffin
oil, petroleum jelly (Vaseline), creams, or polyethylene glycol is the most
effective way to attenuate the associated discomfort; since oil and
capsaicin are both hydrophobic hydrocarbons the capsaicin that has not
already been absorbed into tissues will be picked up into solution and
easily removed. Capsaicin can also be washed off the skin using soap,
shampoo, or other detergents. Plain water is ineffective at removing
capsaicin,⁴⁴ as are bleach, sodium metabisulfite and topical antacid
suspensions. Capsaicin is soluble in alcohol, which can be used to clean
contaminated items.⁴⁴

When capsaicin is ingested, cold milk is an effective way to relieve the
burning sensation (due to caseins having a detergent effect on capsaicin⁴⁸
); and room-temperature sugar solution (10%) at 20 °C (68 °F) is almost as
effective.⁴⁹ The burning sensation will slowly fade away over several hours
if no actions are taken.

Burning and pain symptoms can also be relieved by cooling, such as from
ice, cold water, cold bottles, cold surfaces, or a flow of air from wind or
a fan. In severe cases, eye burn might be treated symptomatically with
topical ophthalmic anesthetics, and mucous membrane burn with lidocaine
gel. The gel from the aloe plant has also been shown to be very effective.
Capsaicin-induced asthma might be treated with nebulized bronchodilators or
oral antihistamines or corticosteroids.⁴⁶

Effects of dietary consumption

Ingestion of spicy food or ground jalapeño peppers does not cause mucosal
erosions or other abnormalities.⁵⁰ Some mucosal microbleeding has been
found after eating red and black peppers, but there was no significant
difference between aspirin (used as a control) and peppers.⁵¹ The question
of whether chili ingestion increases or decreases risk of stomach cancer is
mixed: a study of Mexican patients found self-reported capsaicin intake
levels associated with increased stomach cancer rates (and this is
independent of infection with Helicobacter pylori⁵² ) while a study of
Italians suggests eating hot peppers regularly was protective against
stomach cancer.⁵³ Carcinogenic, co-carcinogenic, and anticarcinogenic
effects of capsaicin have been reported in animal studies.⁵⁴ ⁵⁵

Effects on weight loss and regain

There is no evidence showing that weight loss is directly correlated with
ingesting capsaicin, but there is a positive correlation between ingesting
capsaicin and a decrease in weight regain. The effects of capsaicin are
said to cause "a shift in substrate oxidation from carbohydrate to fat
oxidation".⁵⁶ This leads to a decrease in appetite as well as a decrease in
food intake.⁵⁶ Even though ingestion of capsaicin causes thermogenesis, the
increase in body temperature does not affect weight loss. However, both
oral and gastrointestinal exposure to capsaicin increases satiety and
reduces energy as well as fat intake.⁵⁷ Oral exposure proves to yield
stronger reduction suggesting that capsaicin has sensory effects.
Short-term studies suggest that capsaicin aids in the decrease of weight
regain. However, long-term studies are limited because of the pungency of
capsaicin.⁵⁸ Another recent study has suggested that the ingestion of
capsaicinoids can increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation through the
activation of brown adipose tissue (BAT) in humans from the effects of the

See also

- Allicin, the active piquant flavor chemical in uncooked garlic, and to a
  lesser extent onions (see those articles for discussion of other
  chemicals in them relating to pungency, and eye irritation)
- Allyl isothiocyanate, the active piquant chemical in mustard, radishes,
  horseradish, and wasabi
- Capsazepine, capsaicin antagonist
- Capsinoids, similar in structure to capsaicin, but lack the extreme
  pungency, and density
- Discovery and development of TRPV1 antagonists
- Gingerol and shogaol, the active piquant flavor chemicals in ginger
- Naga Viper pepper, Bhut Jolokia Pepper, Carolina Reaper, Trinidad Moruga
  Scorpion; some of the world's most capsaicin-rich fruits
- Pepper spray, used in policing, riot control, crowd control, and personal
  self-defense, including defense against dogs and bears
- Piperine, the active piquant chemical in black pepper
- Scoville scale, a measurement of the spicy heat (or pungency) of a chili
- Sinus Buster, a patent medicine containing capsaicin
- syn-Propanethial-S-oxide, the major active piquant chemical in onions
- TRPV1, the only known receptor (a transient receptor potential channel)
  for capsaicin

Further reading

- Abdel-Salam, Omar M. E. [ed.]: Capsaicin as a Therapeutic Molecule.
  Springer, 2014. ISBN 978-3-0348-0827-9 (print); ISBN 978-3-0348-0828-6



[1] ChemSpider - Capsaicin
[2] What Made Chili Peppers So Spicy? Talk of the Nation, 15 August 2008.
[3] History of early research on capsaicin:
  - Harvey W. Felter and John U. Lloyd, King's American Dispensatory
    (Cincinnati, Ohio: Ohio Valley Co., 1898), vol. 1, page 435. Available
    on-line at: Henriette's Herbal.
  - Andrew G. Du Mez, "A century of the United States pharmocopoeia
    1820-1920. I. The galenical oleoresins" (Ph.D. dissertation, University
    of Wisconsin, 1917), pages 111-132. Available on-line at:
  - C. F. Bucholz (1816) "Chemische Untersuchung der trockenen reifen
    spanischen Pfeffers" [Chemical investigation of dry, ripe Spanish
    peppers], Almanach oder Taschenbuch für Scheidekünstler und Apotheker
    (Weimar) [Almanac or Pocket-book for Analysts (Chemists) and
    Apothecaries], vol. 37, pages 1-30. [Note: Christian Friedrich
    Bucholz's surname has been variously spelled as "Bucholz", "Bucholtz",
    or "Buchholz".]
  - The results of Bucholz's and Braconnot's analyses of Capsicum annuum
    appear in: Jonathan Pereira, The Elements of Materia Medica and
    Therapeutics, 3rd U.S. ed. (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Blanchard and
    Lea, 1854), vol. 2, page 506.
  - Biographical information about Christian Friedrich Bucholz is available
    in: Hugh J. Rose, Henry J. Rose, and Thomas Wright, ed.s, A New General
    Biographical Dictionary (London, England: 1857), vol. 5, page 186.
  - Biographical information about C. F. Bucholz is also available (in
    German) on-line at: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie.
  - Some other early investigators who also extracted the active component
    of peppers:
    + Benjamin Maurach (1816) "Pharmaceutisch-chemische Untersuchung des
      spanischen Pfeffers" (Pharmaceutical-chemical investigation of
      Spanish peppers), Berlinisches Jahrbuch für die Pharmacie, vol. 17,
      pages 63-73. Abstracts of Maurach's paper appear in: (i) Repertorium
      für die Pharmacie, vol. 6, page 117-119 (1819); (ii) Allgemeine
      Literatur-Zeitung, vol. 4, no. 18, page 146 (Feb. 1821); (iii)
      "Spanischer oder indischer Pfeffer", System der Materia medica ... ,
      vol. 6, pages 381-386 (1821) (this reference also contains an
      abstract of Bucholz's analysis of peppers).
    + French chemist Henri Braconnot (1817) "Examen chemique du Piment, de
      son principe âcre, et de celui des plantes de la famille des
      renonculacées" (Chemical investigation of the chili pepper, of its
      pungent principle [constituent, component], and of that of plants of
      the family Ranunculus), Annales de Chemie et de Physique, vol. 6,
      pages 122- 131.
    + Danish geologist Johann Georg Forchhammer in: Hans C. Oersted (1820)
      "Sur la découverte de deux nouveaux alcalis végétaux" (On the
      discovery of two new plant alkalis), Journal de physique, de chemie,
      d'histoire naturelle et des arts, vol. 90, pages 173-174.
    + German apothecary Ernst Witting (1822) "Considerations sur les bases
      vegetales en general, sous le point de vue pharmaceutique et
      descriptif de deux substances, la capsicine et la nicotianine"
      (Thoughts on the plant bases in general from a pharmaceutical
      viewpoint, and description of two substances, capsicin and nicotine),
      Beiträge für die pharmaceutische und analytische Chemie, vol. 3,
      pages 43ff.
[4] In a series of articles, J. C. Thresh obtained capsaicin in almost pure
  - J. C. Thresh (1876) "Isolation of capsaicin," The Pharmaceutical
    Journal and Transactions, 3rd series, vol. 6, pages 941-947;
  - J. C. Thresh (8 July 1876) "Capsaicin, the active principle in Capsicum
    fruits," The Pharmaceutical Journal and Transactions, 3rd series, vol.
    7, no. 315, pages 21 ff. [Note: This article is summarized in:
    "Capsaicin, the active principle in Capsicum fruits," The Analyst, vol.
    1, no. 8, pages 148-149, (1876).]. In The Pharmaceutical Journal and
    Transactions, volume 7, see also pages 259ff and 473 ff and in vol. 8,
    see pages 187ff;
  - Year Book of Pharmacy… (1876), pages 250 and 543;
  - J. C. Thresh (1877) "Note on Capsaicin," Year Book of Pharmacy…, pages
  - J. C. Thresh (1877) "Report on the active principle of Cayenne pepper,"
    Year Book of Pharmacy..., pages 485-488.
[5] Obituary notice of J. C. Thresh: "John Clough Thresh, M.D., D. Sc., and
  D.P.H.," The British Medical Journal, vol. 1, no. 3726, pages 1057-1058
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[6] J King, H Wickes Felter, J Uri Lloyd (1905) A King's American
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  capsaicin), Zeitschrift für Untersuchung der Nahrungs- und Genussmittel
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  pages 818-829. See also: Karl Micko (1899) "Über den wirksamen
  Bestandtheil des Cayennespfeffers" (On the active component of Cayenne
  pepper), Zeitschrift für Untersuchung der Nahrungs- und Genussmittel,
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  substance), Archiv der Heilkunde (Archive of Medicine), vol. 14, pages
  1ff. See also: R. Buchheim (1872) "Fructus Capsici," Vierteljahresschrift
  fur praktische Pharmazie (Quarterly Journal for Practical Pharmacy), vol.
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  Science Association] (1877); reprinted in: Orvosi Hetilap [Medical
  Journal] (1878), 10 pages. Published in German as: "Beitrage zur
  physiologischen Wirkung der Bestandtheile des Capiscum annuum (Spanischer
  Pfeffer)" [Contributions on the physiological effects of components of
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  Julius, D (Oct 23, 1997). "The capsaicin receptor: a heat-activated ion
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  doi:10.1038/39807. PMID 9349813.
[42] Geppetti, Pierangelo & Holzer, Peter (1996). Neurogenic Inflammation.
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[43] Fuller, R. W., Dixon, C. M. S. & Barnes, P. J. (1985).
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[48] General Chemistry Online: Fire and Spice
[49] Temporal effectiveness of mouth-rinsing on capsaicin mouth-burn.
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[50] Graham DY, Smith JL, Opekun AR.; Smith; Opekun (1988). "Spicy food and
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  capsicum annuum extract, capsicum annuum fruit extract, capsicum annuum
  resin, capsicum annuum fruit powder, capsicum frutescens fruit, capsicum
  frutescens fruit extract, capsicum frutescens resin, and capsaicin". Int.
  J. Toxicol. 26 Suppl 1: 3–106. doi:10.1080/10915810601163939. PMID
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General references

- Dray A (1992). "Mechanism of action of capsaicin-like molecules on
  sensory neurons". Life Sci. 51 (23): 1759–65.
  doi:10.1016/0024-3205(92)90045-Q. PMID 1331641.
- Garnanez RJ, McKee LH (2001) "Temporal effectiveness of sugar solutions
  on mouth burn by capsaicin" IFT Annual Meeting 2001
- Henkin R (November 1991). "Cooling the burn from hot peppers". JAMA 266
  (19): 2766. doi:10.1001/jama.266.19.2766b. PMID 1942431.
- Nasrawi CW, Pangborn RM (April 1990). "Temporal effectiveness of
  mouth-rinsing on capsaicin mouth-burn". Physiol. Behav. 47 (4): 617–23.
  doi:10.1016/0031-9384(90)90067-E. PMID 2385629.
- Tewksbury JJ, Nabhan GP (July 2001). "Seed dispersal. Directed deterrence
  by capsaicin in chilies". Nature 412 (6845): 403–4. doi:10.1038/35086653.
  PMID 11473305.
- Kirifides ML, Kurnellas MP, Clark L, Bryant BP (February 2004). "Calcium
  responses of chicken trigeminal ganglion neurons to methyl anthranilate
  and capsaicin". J. Exp. Biol. 207 (Pt 5): 715–22. doi:10.1242/jeb.00809.
  PMID 14747403.
- Tarantula Venom, Chili Peppers Have Same "Bite," Study Finds
- Minna M. Hamalainen, Alberto Subieta, Christopher Arpey, Timothy J.
  Brennan, "Differential Effect of Capsaicin Treatment on Pain-Related
  Behaviors After Plantar Incision," The Journal of Pain, 10,6 (2009),

External links

- Capsaicin Technical Fact Sheet - National Pesticide Information Center
- EPA Capsaicin Reregistration Eligibility Decision Fact Sheet
- Molecule of the Month
- European Commission, opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food on
- Fire and Spice: The molecular basis for flavor
- A WikiHow article on How to Cool Chilli Pepper Burns.


This article is about a genus of plant. For bell peppers, see Bell pepper.
For the hot varieties, see chili pepper. For the heat-simulating chemical
in chili pepper, see Capsaicin.

Capsicum /ˈkæpsɨkəm/³ (commonly known as peppers or bell peppers') is a
genus of flowering plants in the nightshade family Solanaceae. Its species
are native to the Americas, where they have been cultivated for thousands
of years. In modern times, it is cultivated worldwide, and has become a key
element in many regional cuisines. In addition to use as spices and food
vegetables, Capsicum species have also found use in medicines.

The fruit of Capsicum plants have a variety of names depending on place and
type. The piquant (spicy) varieties are commonly called chili peppers, or
simply "chilies". The large, mild form is called red pepper, green pepper,
or bell pepper in North America and typically just "capsicum" in New
Zealand,⁴ Australia, and India. The fruit is called paprika in some other
countries (although paprika can also refer to the powdered spice made from
various capsicum fruit).

The generic name is derived from the Greek word κάπτω (kapto), meaning "to
bite" or "to swallow".⁵ The name "pepper" came into use because of their
similar flavour to the condiment black pepper, Piper nigrum, although there
is no botanical relationship with this plant, or with Sichuan pepper. The
original Mexican term, chilli (now chile in Mexico) came from the Nahuatl
word chilli or xilli, referring to a larger Capsicum variety cultivated at
least since 3000 BC, as evidenced by remains found in pottery from Puebla
and Oaxaca.⁶

Capsaicin in capsicum

For more details on this topic, see Capsaicin.

The fruit of most species of Capsicum contains capsaicin (methyl vanillyl
nonenamide), a lipophilic chemical that can produce a strong burning
sensation (pungency or spiciness) in the mouth of the unaccustomed eater.
Most mammals find this unpleasant, whereas birds are unaffected.⁷ ⁸ The
secretion of capsaicin protects the fruit from consumption by insects⁹ and
mammals, while the bright colours attract birds that will disperse the

Capsaicin is present in large quantities in the placental tissue (which
holds the seeds), the internal membranes, and to a lesser extent, the other
fleshy parts of the fruits of plants in this genus. The seeds themselves do
not produce any capsaicin, although the highest concentration of capsaicin
can be found in the white pith around the seeds.¹⁰

The amount of capsaicin in the fruit is highly variable and dependent on
genetics and environment, giving almost all types of Capsicum varied
amounts of perceived heat. The most recognizable Capsicum without capsaicin
is the bell pepper,¹¹ a cultivar of Capsicum annuum, which has a zero
rating on the Scoville scale. The lack of capsaicin in bell peppers is due
to a recessive gene that eliminates capsaicin and, consequently, the "hot"
taste usually associated with the rest of the Capsicum family.¹² There are
also other peppers without capsaicin, mostly within the Capsicum annuum
species, such as the cultivars Giant Marconi,¹³ Yummy Sweets,¹⁴ Jimmy
Nardello,¹⁵ and Italian Frying peppers.¹⁶

Chili peppers are of great importance in Native American medicine, and
capsaicin is used in modern medicine—mainly in topical medications—as a
circulatory stimulant and analgesic. In more recent times, an aerosol
extract of capsaicin, usually known as capsicum or pepper spray, has become
widely used by police forces as a nonlethal means of incapacitating a
person, and in a more widely dispersed form for riot control, or by
individuals for personal defense. Pepper in vegetable oils, or as an
horticultural product¹⁷ can be used in gardening as a natural insecticide.

Although black pepper causes a similar burning sensation, it is caused by a
different substance—piperine.


Capsicum fruits and peppers can be eaten raw or cooked. Those used in
cooking are generally varieties of the C. annuum and C. frutescens species,
though a few others are used, as well. They are suitable for stuffing with
fillings such as cheese, meat, or rice.

They are also frequently used both chopped and raw in salads, or cooked in
stir-fries or other mixed dishes. They can be sliced into strips and fried,
roasted whole or in pieces, or chopped and incorporated into salsas or
other sauces, of which they are often a main ingredient.

They can be preserved in the form of a jam,¹⁸ or by drying, pickling, or
freezing. Dried peppers may be reconstituted whole, or processed into
flakes or powders. Pickled or marinated peppers are frequently added to
sandwiches or salads. Frozen peppers are used in stews, soups, and salsas.
Extracts can be made and incorporated into hot sauces.

The Spanish conquistadores soon became aware of their culinary properties,
and brought them back to Europe, together with cocoa, potatoes, sweet
potatoes, tobacco, maize, beans, and turkeys. They also brought it to the
Spanish Philippines colonies, whence it spread to Asia. The Portuguese
brought them to their African and Asiatic possessions such as India.

All the varieties were appreciated, but the hot ones are particularly
appreciated because they can enliven otherwise monotonous diets. This was
of some importance during dietary restrictions for religious reasons, such
as Lent in Christian countries.

Spanish cuisine soon benefited from the discovery of chiles in the New
World, and it would be very difficult to untangle Spanish cooking from
chiles, garlic, and olive oil. Ground chiles, or paprika, hot or otherwise,
are a key ingredient in chorizo, which is then called picante (if hot chile
is added) or dulce (if otherwise). Paprika is also an important ingredient
in rice dishes, and plays a definitive role in squid Galician style (polbo
á feira). Chopped chiles are used in fish or lamb dishes such as ajoarriero
or chilindrón. Pisto is a vegetarian stew with chilies and zucchini as main
ingredients. They can also be added, finely chopped, to gazpacho as a
garnish. In some regions, bacon is salted and dusted in paprika for
preservation. Cheese can also be rubbed with paprika to lend it flavour and
colour. Dried round chiles called ñoras are used for arroz a banda.

According to Richard Pankhurst, C. frutescens (known as barbaré) was so
important to the national cuisine of Ethiopia, at least as early as the
19th century, "that it was cultivated extensively in the warmer areas
wherever the soil was suitable." Although it was grown in every province,
barbaré was especially extensive in Yejju, "which supplied much of Showa,
as well as other neighbouring provinces." He mentions the upper Golima
River valley as being almost entirely devoted to the cultivation of this
plant, where it was harvested year round.¹⁹

In 2005, a poll of 2,000 people revealed the pepper to be Britain's
fourth-favourite culinary vegetable.²⁰

In Hungary, sweet yellow peppers – along with tomatoes – are the main
ingredient of lecsó.

In Bulgaria, South Serbia, and Macedonia, peppers are very popular, too.
They can be eaten in salads, like shopska salata; fried and then covered
with a dip of tomato paste, onions, garlic, and parsley; or stuffed with a
variety of products, such as minced meat and rice, beans, or cottage cheese
and eggs. Peppers are also the main ingredient in the traditional tomato
and pepper dip lyutenitsa and ajvar. They are in the base of different
kinds of pickled vegetables dishes, turshiya.

Peppers are also used widely in Italian cuisine, and the hot species are
used all around the southern part of Italy as a common spice (sometimes
served with olive oil). Capsicum peppers are used in many dishes; they can
be cooked by themselves in a variety of ways (roasted, fried, deep-fried)
and are a fundamental ingredient for some delicatessen specialities, such
as nduja.

Capsicums are also used extensively in Sri Lankan cuisine as side dishes.²¹

The Maya and Aztec people of Mesoamerica used Capsicum fruit in cocoa
drinks as a flavouring.²²

Species and varieties

Main article: List of Capsicum cultivars

Capsicum consists of 20–27 species,²³ five of which are domesticated: C.
annuum, C. baccatum, C. chinense, C. frutescens, and C. pubescens.²⁴
Phylogenetic relationships between species were investigated using
biogeographical,²⁵ morphological,²⁶ chemosystematic,²⁷ hybridization,²⁸ and
genetic²³ data. Fruits of Capsicum can vary tremendously in color, shape,
and size both between and within species, which has led to confusion over
the relationships between taxa.²⁹ Chemosystematic studies helped
distinguish the difference between varieties and species. For example, C.
baccatum var. baccatum had the same flavonoids as C. baccatum var.
pendulum, which led researchers to believe the two groups belonged to the
same species.²⁷

Many varieties of the same species can be used in many different ways; for
example, C. annuum includes the "bell pepper" variety, which is sold in
both its immature green state and its red, yellow, or orange ripe state.
This same species has other varieties, as well, such as the Anaheim chiles
often used for stuffing, the dried ancho chile used to make chili powder,
the mild-to-hot jalapeño, and the smoked, ripe jalapeño, known as chipotle.

Most of the capsaicin in a pungent (hot) pepper is concentrated in blisters
on the epidermis of the interior ribs (septa) that divide the chambers of
the fruit to which the seeds are attached.³⁰ A study on capsaicin
production in fruits of C. chinense showed that capsaicinoids are produced
only in the epidermal cells of the interlocular septa of pungent fruits,
that blister formation only occurs as a result of capsaicinoid
accumulation, and that pungency and blister formation are controlled by a
single locus, Pun1, for which there exist at least two recessive alleles
that result in non-pungency of C. chinense fruits.³¹

The amount of capsaicin in hot peppers varies significantly between
varieties, and is measured in Scoville heat units (SHU). The world's
current hottest known pepper as rated in SHU is the 'Carolina Reaper' which
had been measured at over 2,200,000 SHU.

Species list³² ³³

- Capsicum annuum L.
- Capsicum baccatum L.
- Capsicum buforum Hunz.
- Capsicum campylopodium Sendtn.
- Capsicum cardenasii Heiser & P. G. Sm.
- Capsicum ceratocalyx M.Nee
- Capsicum chacoense Hunz.
- Capsicum chinense Jacq.
- Capsicum coccineum (Rusby) Hunz.
- Capsicum cornutum (Hiern) Hunz.
- Capsicum dimorphum (Miers) Kuntze
- Capsicum dusenii Bitter
- Capsicum eximium Hunz.
- Capsicum flexuosum Sendtn.
- Capsicum friburgense Bianch. & Barboza
- Capsicum frutescens L.
- Capsicum galapagoense Hunz.
- Capsicum geminifolium (Dammer) Hunz.
- Capsicum havanense Kunth
- Capsicum hookerianum (Miers) Kuntze
- Capsicum hunzikerianum Barboza & Bianch.
- Capsicum lanceolatum (Greenm.) C.V.Morton & Standl.
- Capsicum leptopodum (Dunal) Kuntze
- Capsicum lycianthoides Bitter
- Capsicum minutiflorum (Rusby) Hunz.
- Capsicum mirabile Mart. ex Sendtn.
- Capsicum mositicum Toledo
- Capsicum parvifolium Sendtn.
- Capsicum pereirae Barboza & Bianch.
- Capsicum pubescens Ruiz & Pav.
- Capsicum ramosissimum Witasek
- Capsicum recurvatum Witasek
- Capsicum rhomboideum (Dunal) Kuntze
- Capsicum schottianum Sendtn.
- Capsicum scolnikianum Hunz.
- Capsicum spina-alba (Dunal) Kuntze
- Capsicum stramoniifolium (Kunth) Standl.
- Capsicum tovarii Eshbaugh et al.
- Capsicum villosum Sendtn.

Formerly placed here

- Tubocapsicum anomalum (Franch. & Sav.) Makino (as C. anomalum Franch. &
- Vassobia fasciculata (Miers) Hunz. (as C. grandiflorum Kuntze)
- Witheringia stramoniifolia Kunth (as C. stramoniifolium (Kunth) Kuntze)²


Most Capsicum species are 2n=24. A few of the nondomesticated species are


Several breeding programs are being conducted by corporations and
universities. New Mexico State University has released several varieties in
the last few years. Cornell has worked to develop regionally adapted
varieties. Many types of peppers have been bred for heat, size, and yield.


Only Capsicum frutescens L. and Capsicum annuum L. are in the GRAS.³⁶

Synonyms and common names

The name given to the Capsicum fruits varies between English-speaking

In Australia, New Zealand, and India, heatless varieties are called
"capsicums", while hot ones are called "chilli"/"chillies" (double L).
Pepperoncini are also known as "sweet capsicum". The term "bell peppers" is
almost never used, although C. annuum and other varieties which have a bell
shape and are fairly hot, are often called "bell chillies".

In Ireland and the United Kingdom, the heatless varieties are commonly
known simply as "peppers" (or more specifically "green peppers", "red
peppers", etc.), while the hot ones are "chilli"/"chillies" (double L) or
"chilli peppers".

In the United States and Canada, the common heatless varieties are referred
to as "bell peppers", "sweet peppers", "red/green/etc. peppers", or simply
"peppers", additionally in Indiana they may be referred to as
"mangoes/mango peppers", while the hot varieties are collectively called
"chile"/"chiles", "chili"/"chilies", or "chili"/"chile peppers" (one L
only), "hot peppers", or named as a specific variety (e.g., banana pepper).

In Polish and in Hungarian, the term papryka and paprika (respectively) is
used for all kinds of capsicums (the sweet vegetable, and the hot spicy),
as well as for dried and ground spice made from them (named paprika in both
U.S. English and Commonwealth English). Also, fruit and spice can be
attributed as papryka ostra (hot pepper) or papryka słodka (sweet pepper).
The term pieprz (pepper) instead means only grains or ground black pepper
(incl. the green, white, and red forms), but not capsicum. Sometimes, the
hot capsicum spice is also called chilli.

In Italy and the Italian- and German-speaking parts of Switzerland, the
sweet varieties are called peperone and the hot varieties peperoncino
(literally "small pepper"). In Germany, the heatless varieties as well as
the spice are called Paprika while the hot types are primarily called
Peperoni or Chili while in Austria, Pfefferoni is more common for these; in
Dutch, this word is also used exclusively for bell peppers, whereas chilli
is reserved for powders, and hot pepper variants are referred to as Spaanse
pepers (Spanish peppers). In Switzerland, though, the condiment powder made
from capsicum is called Paprika (German language regions) and paprica
(French and Italian language region). In French, capsicum is called

In Spanish-speaking countries, many different names are used for the
varieties and preparations. In Mexico, the term chile is used for "hot
peppers", while the heatless varieties are called pimiento (the masculine
form of the word for pepper, which is pimienta). Several other countries,
such as Chile, whose name is unrelated, Perú, Puerto Rico, and Argentina,
use ají. In Spain, heatless varieties are called pimiento and hot varieties
guindilla. Also, in Argentina and Spain, the variety C. chacoense is
commonly known as "putaparió", a slang expression equivalent to "damn it",
probably due to its extra-hot flavour. In Indian English, the word
"capsicum" is used exclusively for Capsicum annuum. All other varieties of
hot capsicum are called chilli. In northern India and Pakistan, C. annuum
is also commonly called shimla mirch in the local language and as "Kodai
Mozhagai" in Tamil which roughly translates to "umbrella chilli" due to its
appearance. Shimla, incidentally, is a popular hill-station in India (and
mirch means chilli in local languages).

In Japanese, tōgarashi (唐辛子, トウガラシ "Chinese mustard") refers to hot chili
peppers, and particularly a spicy powder made from them which is used as a
condiment, while bell peppers are called pīman (ピーマン, from the French
piment or the Spanish pimiento).

Pictures of Capsicum cultivars


C. annuum cultivars


A variety of coloured Capsicum


Peperoncini (C. annuum)


Peperoncini in kebab restaurant


Cayenne pepper (C. annuum)


Compact plant of orange Capsicum


Habanero chili (C. chinense Jacquin)- plant with flower and fruit


Scotch bonnet (C. chinense) in a Caribbean market


Scotch bonnet


Thai peppers (C. annuum)


Fresh Indian green chillies in Bangalore market


Piri piri (C. frutescens 'African Devil')


Naga jolokia pepper (bhut jolokia) (C. chinense x C. frutescens)


C. annuum flower


C. annum flower close up


Green, yellow, and red peppers


The flower of red hot bangi pepper, Malaysia


A small but very hot Capsicum in Malaysia


Dried and crunchy Capsicum from Basilicata

See also

- List of Capsicum cultivars
- Pimento
- Scoville scale


[1] "Capsicum L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States
  Department of Agriculture. 1 September 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
[2] "Species records of Capsicum". Germplasm Resources Information Network.
  United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2010-06-23.
[3] Wells, John C. (2008), Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.),
  Longman, p. 123, ISBN 9781405881180
[4] Latham, Elizabeth (8 February 2013). "Capsicums at your table". Nelson
  Mail. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
[5] Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names. 1
  A-C. CRC Press. p. 431. ISBN 978-0-8493-2675-2.
[6] Gil-Jurado, A. T., Il senso del chile e del piccante: dalla traduzione
  culturale alla rappresentazione visiva in (G. Manetti, ed.), Semiofood:
  Communication and Culture of Meal, Centro Scientifico Editore, Torino,
  Italy, 2006:34–58
[7] Mason, J. R.; N. J. Bean; P. S. Shah; L. Clark Shah (December 1991).
  "Taxon-specific differences in responsiveness to capsaicin and several
  analogues: Correlates between chemical structure and behavioral
  aversiveness". Journal of Chemical Ecology 17 (12): 2539–2551.
[8] Norman, D. M.; J. R. Mason; L. Clark (1992). "Capsaicin effects on
  consumption of food by Cedar Waxwings and House Finches". The Wilson
  Journal of Ornithology 104: 549–551.
[10] New Mexico State University – College of Agriculture and Home
  Economics (2005). "Chile Information – Frequently Asked Questions".
  Archived from the original on 4 May 2007. Retrieved 17 May 2007.
[11] "The Scoville Scale of Hotness - Capsaicin Level".
  Retrieved 2013-11-27.
[12] "The World's Healthies Foods". Retrieved 23 February 2010.
[19] Pankhurst, Richard (1968). Economic History of Ethiopia. Addis Ababa:
  Haile Selassie I University Press. pp. 193–194.
[20] Wainwright, Martin (23 May 2005). "Onions come top for British
  palates". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2007-10-30.
[21] Unknown, Unknown. "Sri Lankan Cuisine". SBS Food. SBS. Retrieved 7 May
[22] Mitzewich, John. "10 Foods America Gave to the World". Food
  Guide. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
[23] Walsh, B.M.; Hoot, S.B. (2001). "Phylogenetic Relationships of
  Capsicum (Solanaceae) Using DNA Sequences from Two Noncoding Regions: The
  Chloroplast atpB-rbcL Spacer Region and Nuclear waxy Introns" (– Scholar
  search). International Journal of Plant Sciences 162 (6): 1409–1418.
  doi:10.1086/323273. Retrieved 2007-12-20.
[24] Heiser Jr, C.B.; Pickersgill, B. (1969). "Names for the Cultivated
  Capsicum Species (Solanaceae)". Taxon (Taxon, Vol. 18, No. 3) 18 (3):
  277–283. doi:10.2307/1218828. JSTOR 1218828.
[25] Tewksbury, J.J.; Manchego, C.; Haak, D.C.; Levey, D.J. (2006). "Where
  did the Chili Get its Spice? Biogeography of Capsaicinoid Production in
  Ancestral Wild Chili Species". Journal of Chemical Ecology 32 (3):
  547–564. doi:10.1007/s10886-005-9017-4. PMID 16572297. Retrieved
[26] Eshbaugh, W.H. (1970). "A Biosystematic and Evolutionary Study of
  Capsicum baccatum (Solanaceae)". Brittonia (Brittonia, Vol. 22, No. 1) 22
  (1): 31–43. doi:10.2307/2805720. JSTOR 2805720.
[27] Ballard, R.E.; McClure, J.W.; Eshbaugh, W.H.; Wilson, K.G. (1970). "A
  Chemosystematic Study of Selected Taxa of Capsicum". American Journal of
  Botany (American Journal of Botany, Vol. 57, No. 2) 57 (2): 225–233.
  doi:10.2307/2440517. JSTOR 2440517.
[28] Pickersgill, B. (1971). "Relationships Between Weedy and Cultivated
  Forms in Some Species of Chili Peppers (Genus capsicum)". Evolution
  (Evolution, Vol. 25, No. 4) 25 (4): 683–691. doi:10.2307/2406949. JSTOR
[29] Eshbaugh, W.H. (1975). "Genetic and Biochemical Systematic Studies of
  Chili Peppers (Capsicum-Solanaceae)". Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical
  Club (Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, Vol. 102, No. 6) 102 (6):
  396–403. doi:10.2307/2484766. JSTOR 2484766.
[30] Zamski, E.;Shoham, O.; Palevitch, D.; Levy, A. (1987). "Ultrastructure
  of Capsaicinoid-Secreting Cells in Pungent and Nonpungent Red Pepper
  (Capsicum annuum L.) Cultivars". Botanical Gazette 148 (1): 1–6.
  doi:10.1086/337620. JSTOR 2995376.
[31] Stewart Jr, C.; Mazourek, M.; Stellari, G.M.; O'Connell, M.; Jahn, M.
  (2007). "Genetic control of pungency in C. chinense via the Pun1 locus".
  Journal of Experimental Botany 58 (5): 979–91. doi:10.1093/jxb/erl243.
  PMID 17339653.
[32] "The Plant List".
[33] "Tropicos".
[34] Deyuan Yang, Paul W. Bosland. "The Genes of Capsicum". HortScience.

External links

- Capsicum pepper factsheet from Purdue Guide to Medicinal and Aromatic
- Capsicums: Innovative Uses of an Ancient Crop History, Botany, Breeding,
  and Pungency. Purdue University, Indiana, U.S.A.
- IBPGR (1985). Solanacaea. International Board for Plant Genetic
  Resources, Rome, Italy.
- Descriptors for Capsicum (Capsicum spp.) from Bioversity International
  (PDF, 770 kb)
- Capsicum and Chillies: Commercial Cultivation DPI&F Queensland,
- Chilli: La especia del Nuevo Mundo (Article from Germán Octavio López
  Riquelme about biology, nutrition, culture and medical topics. In
- Capsicum: Growing Capsicum in India GreenMyLife, India

Capsicum annuum

Capsicum annuum is a species of the plant genus Capsicum native to southern
North America and northern South America.¹ ⁴ This species is the most
common and extensively cultivated of the five domesticated capsicums. The
species encompasses a wide variety of shapes and sizes of peppers, both
mild and hot, ranging from bell peppers to chili peppers. Cultivars are
descended from the wild American bird pepper still found in warmer regions
of the Americas.⁵ In the past some woody forms of this species have been
called C. frutescens, but the features that were used to distinguish those
forms appear in many populations of C. annuum and there is no consistently
recognizable C. frutescens species.⁶


Although the species name annuum means "annual" (from the Latin annus
"year"), the plant is not an annual and in the absence of winter frosts can
survive several seasons and grow into a large perennial shrub.⁷ The single
flowers are an off-white (sometimes purplish) color while the stem is
densely branched and up to 60 centimetres (24 in) tall. The fruit is a
berry and may be green, yellow or red when ripe.⁸ While the species can
tolerate most climates, C. annuum is especially productive in warm and dry



The species is a source of popular sweet peppers and hot chilis with
numerous varieties cultivated all around the world.

In British English, the sweet varieties are called red or green peppers⁹
and the hot varieties chillies,¹⁰ whereas in Australian and Indian English
the name capsicum is commonly used for bell peppers exclusively and chilli
is often used to encompass the hotter varieties. Americans call the sweet
types "peppers" and the hot ones "chili peppers" or "chilies" (sometimes
spelled "chiles").

Sweet peppers are very often used as a bulking agent in ready-made meals
and take-away food, because they are cheap, have a strong flavor, and are
colorful. Foods containing peppers, especially chili peppers, often have a
strong aftertaste due to the presence of capsinoids in peppers. Capsaicin,
a chemical found in chili peppers, creates a burning sensation once
ingested, which can last for several hours after ingestion.


Hot peppers are used in medicine as well as food in Africa¹¹ and other
places around the world.

English botanist John Lindley described C. annuum on page 509 of his 1838
'Flora Medica' thus:

In ayurvedic medicine, C. annuum is classified as follows:¹²

- Gunna (properties) – ruksh (dry), laghu (light) and tikshan (sharp)
- Rasa dhatu (taste) – katu (pungent)
- Virya (potency) – ushan (hot)


Some cultivars grown specifically for their aesthetic value include the
U.S. National Arboretum's Black Pearl¹³ and the Bolivian Rainbow.
Ornamental varieties tend to have unusually colored fruit and foliage with
colors such as black and purple being notable. All are edible, and most
(like Royal Black) are hot.



Dried Guajillo chile pod


Typical C. annuum flower, Royal Embers.


Bolivian Rainbow with its fruits in different stages of ripeness.


Five colors of peppers in an Israeli supermarket


Capsicum annuum var. bola or ñora

See also

- International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants
- List of Capsicum cultivars
- Capsicum
- Paprika
- Chili pepper


[1] "Capsicum annuum L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United
  States Department of Agriculture. 1997-01-22. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
[2] Minguez Mosquera, M. I.; Hornero Mendez, D. (1994) "Comparative study
  of the effect of paprika processing on the carotenoids in peppers
  Capsicum annuum of the Bola and Agridulce varieties", Journal of
  Agricultural and Food Chemistry 42(7): 1555-1560
[3] "The Plant List".
[4] Latham, Elizabeth (2009-02-03). "The colourful world of chillies". Retrieved 2009-03-08.
[5] Francis, John K. (2003-09-09). "Capsicum annuum L. bird pepper - USDA
  Forest Service". Retrieved 2013-09-30.
[6] Zhi-Yun Zhang, Anmin Lu & William G. D'Arcy. "Capsicum annuum Linnaeus,
  Sp. Pl. 1: 188. 1753". Flora of China 17. pp. 313–313.
[7] Katzer, Gernot (May 27, 2008). "Paprika (Capsicum annuum L.)".
  Retrieved December 1, 2012.
[8] Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (1 July 2006).
  Safety assessment of transgenic organisms: OECD consensus documents. OECD
  Publishing. pp. 299–. ISBN 978-92-64-02258-4. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
[9] Pepper
[10] Chilli
[11] Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (2004) Plant Resources of Tropical
  Africa 2. Vegetables. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen; Backhuys, Leiden;
  CTA, Wageningen.
[12] "Capsicum Annuum". Retrieved February 21, 2011.
[13] "Capsicum annuum "Black Pearl"". U.S. National Arboretum. March 2006.
  Retrieved February 21, 2011.

External links

- National Center for Biotechnology Information
- PROTAbase on Capsicum annuum
- Texas A&M University

Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum

Not to be confused with Turkish Pepper.

Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum is a variety of Capsicum annuum that is
native to southern North America and northern South America.¹ Common names
include chiltepin, chiltepe, and chile tepin, as well as turkey, bird's
eye, or simply bird peppers, due to their consumption and spread by wild
birds. Tepin is derived from a Nahuatl word meaning "flea". This variety is
the most likely progenitor of the domesticated C. annuum var. annuum.²
Another similar-sized pepper 'Pequin' (also called 'Piquin') is often
confused, the Tepin fruit is round to oval and the Pequin is oval with a
point, and the leaves, stems and plant structure are very different on each


Chiltepin is a perennial shrub that usually grows to a height of around 1 m
(3.3 ft), but sometimes reaches 3 m (9.8 ft).³ and in areas without hard
frost in winter, plants can live 35-50 years.


The tiny chili peppers of C. a. var. glabriusculum are red to orange-red,
usually slightly ellipsoidal, and about 0.8 cm (0.31 in) in diameter.⁴ Some
strains of tepin peppers are much closer to perfectly round when fresh. If
a tepin pepper is dried, it appears quite round even if it was slightly
ellipsoidal when fresh. Tepin peppers are extremely hot, measuring between
50,000 and 100,000 Scoville units.

Some chile enthusiasts argue that the tepin can potentially be hotter than
the habanero or red savina, supported with the numbers reported from Craig
Dremann's Pepper Hotness Test scores.⁵

However, since this pepper is harvested from wild stands in the Mexican
desert, the heat level of the fruit can vary greatly from year to year,
depending on the amount of natural rainfall that occurs during the time the
fruits are forming. During drought years, fruit heat levels can be weak,
and during normal rainfall years, the highest heat levels are produced.
Also there is a large variation between the heat levels of the green fresh
fruit (which are pickled in vinegar), red-ripe fresh fruit, dried whole
fruit and dried fruit with the seeds removed, and their heat levels are
arranged from mildest to hottest in that order.

In Mexico, the heat of the chiltepin is called arrebatado ("rapid" or
"violent"), because, while the heat is intense, it is not very enduring.
This stands in contrast to the domesticated 'Pequin' variety, which is the
same size as the wild tepin, but is oval-shaped, and delivers a decidedly
different experience.

The different drying methods used for the tepin and 'Pequin', can help tell
these peppers apart. Tepins are always sun-dried, whereas the Pequins are
commonly dried over wood smoke, and the smell of the smoke in the Pequins
can help separate the two varieties. Pequins are not as hot as chiltepins
(only about 30,000–50,000 Scoville units),⁶ but they have a much slower and
longer-lasting effect. In Thailand, where the 'Pequin' was introduced and
has become one of the national pepper varieties, is called prin-ke-nu,
which translates to mean "rat-turd pepper".

Habitat and range

C. a. var. glabriusculum can be found in Texas, Arizona, and Florida in the
Southern United States, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central
America, and Colombia.¹ It prefers well-drained soils, such as silty or
sandy loams, and 800–2,000 mm (31–79 in) of annual precipitation in Puerto
Rico. It may be found in areas with a broken forest canopy or disturbed
areas that lack tree cover if moisture and soil are favorable. Elsewhere,
such as in Arizona, it may require the partial shading of a nurse plant.⁴


Chiltepin was named "the official native pepper of Texas" in 1997, two
years after the jalapeño became the official pepper of Texas.⁷


In 1999, Native Seeds/SEARCH and the United States Forest Service
established the 2,500-acre (1,000 ha)⁸ Wild Chile Botanical Area in the
Coronado National Forest. Located in the Rock Corral Canyon near
Tumacacori, Arizona,⁹ the preserve protects a large C. a. var.
glabriusculum population for study¹⁰ and as a genetic reserve.⁹

See also

- List of Capsicum cultivars
- Capsicum annuum
- Capsicum


[1] "Capsicum annuum L. var. glabriusculum (Dunal) Heiser & Pickersgill".
  Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of
  Agriculture. 1997-01-22. Retrieved 2010-06-23.
[2] Singh, Ram J. (2006). Genetic Resources, Chromosome Engineering, and
  Crop Improvement: Vegetable crops. CRC Press. p. 203. ISBN
[3] Richardson, Alfred (1995). Plants of the Rio Grande Delta. University
  of Texas Press. p. 232. ISBN 978-0-292-77070-6.
[4] "Capsicum annuum L. bird pepper". International Institute of Tropical
  Forestry. United States Forest Service. Retrieved 2010-07-16.
[5] "Wild Desert TepÍn Pepper". Redwood City Seed Company. August 27, 2008.
  Retrieved 2009-01-18.
[6] "Chile Pepper Heat Scoville Scale". Home Cooking. Retrieved
[7] "Texas State Symbols". About Texas. Texas State Library and Archives
  Commission. Retrieved 2010-07-16.
[8] "The Wild Chile Botanical Area". Department of Biology, University of
  Washington. 2005. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
[9] Horst, Todd (2001). "Native Seeds/SEARCH Tradition and Conservation".
  Cultural Resource Management 24 (4): 23–26.
[10] Ball, Jackie; Denise Vega; Uechi Ng (2002). Plants. Gareth Stevens. p.
  25. ISBN 978-0-8368-3218-1.

External links

- Tepin, in What Am I Eating? A Food Dictionary

Capsicum baccatum

Capsicum baccatum is a species of chili pepper that includes the following

- Aji amarillo, also called amarillo chili and ají escabeche³
- Peppadew
- Lemon drop, ají limon³ (not to be confused with ají limo, a Capsicum
  chinense cultivar
- Bishop's crown
- Brazilian Starfish
- Wild Baccatum

Origins and distribution

The C. baccatum species, particularly the Ají amarillo chili, has its
origins in ancient Peru. It is typically associated with Peruvian cuisine,
and is considered part of its condiment trinity together with red onion and
cilantro. Aji amarillo literally means yellow chili; however, the yellow
color appears when cooked, as the mature pods are bright orange.

The wild baccatum species (C. baccatum var. pendulum) is the domesticated
pepper of choice of Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile⁴

Etymology: Aji is the Caribbean word for chili and/or peppers. The Spanish
colonizers spread the term to much of South America.





Cultivar 'Lemon Drop'

Pepper varieties in the C. baccatum species have white or cream colored
flowers, and typically have a green or gold corolla. The flowers are either
insect or self-pollinated. The fruit pods of the baccatum species have been
cultivated into a wide variety of shapes and sizes, unlike other capsicum
species, which tend to have a characteristic shape. The pods typically hang
down, unlike a Capsicum frutescens plant, and can have a citrus or fruity

Culinary usage

Yellow ají is one of the ingredients of Peruvian cuisine and Bolivian
cuisine. It is used as a condiment, especially in many dishes and sauces.
In Peru the chilis are mostly used fresh, and in Bolivia dried and ground.
Common dishes with aji "amarillo" are the Peruvian stew Aji de Gallina
("Hen Chili"), Huancaina sauce and the Bolivian Fricase Paceno, among
others. In Ecuadorian cuisine, Aji amarillo, onion, and lemon juice
(amongst others) are served in a separate bowl with many meals as an
optional additive.

In Colombian cuisine and Ecuadorian cuisine, ají (sauce) is also a common

Use by Moche

The Moche culture often represented fruits and vegetables in their art,
including Ají amarillo peppers.⁵

See also

- List of Capsicum cultivars


[1] "The Plant List".
[2] "USDA GRIN Taxonomy".
[3] Dave DeWitt and Paul W. Bosland (2009). The Complete Pepper Book: A
  Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking. Timber
  Press. ISBN 978-0881929201.
[4] "Genetic diversity in Capsicum baccatum is significantly influenced by
  its ecogeographical distribution". BMC Genetics 13 (68). 2012.
[5] Berrin, Katherine & Larco Museum. The Spirit of Ancient Peru:Treasures
  from the Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera. New York: Thames and
  Hudson, 1997.

External links

- Eshbaugh, W. Hardy. Peppers: History and Exploitation of a Serendipitous
  New Crop Discovery (1993)

Capsicum chinense

"Yellow Lantern Chili" redirects here. For the Chinese chili, see Hainan
yellow lantern chili.

Capsicum chinense, commonly known as "yellow lantern chili",² is a species
of chili pepper native to the Americas. C. chinense varieties are well
known for their exceptional heat. Some taxonomists consider them to be part
of the species C. annuum.³ ⁴


Despite its name, C. chinense or "Chinese capsicum" is misleading. All
Capsicum species originated in the New World. Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin
(1727–1817), a Dutch botanist, erroneously named the species in 1776,
because he believed they originated in China.⁵

Plant appearance

Within C. chinense, the appearance and characteristics of the plants can
vary greatly. Varieties such as the well-known habaneros grow to form
small, compact perennial bushes about 0.5 m in height. The flowers, as with
most Capsicum species, are small and white with five petals. When it forms,
the fruit varies greatly in colour and shape,⁶ with red, orange, and yellow
being the most common final colours, but colours such as brown are also
known. Another similarity with other species would be shallow roots, which
are very common.


C. chinense is native to Central America, the Yucatan region, and the
Caribbean islands. In warm climates such as these, it is a perennial and
can last for several years, but in cooler climates, C. chinense does not
usually survive the winter. However, it will readily germinate from the
previous year's seed in the following growing season.

Cultivation and agriculture

C. chinense peppers have been cultivated for hundreds of years in their
native regions, but have only recently been introduced to areas of Asia,
where they are also farmed. They are popular with many gardeners for their
bright colours (ornamental value) and for their fruit in vegetable gardens.

Culinary use

C. chinense and its varieties have been used for centuries in Yucatan and
Caribbean-style cooking to add a significant amount of heat to their
traditional food.⁷ They are mainly used in stews and sauces, as well as
marinades for meats and chicken.

Western food at times also uses some of these chiles. For example,
habaneros (a group of C. chinense varieties) are commonly used in hot
sauces and extra-spicy salsas, due to the popularity of Tex-Mex and Mexican
cuisines in Western culture.⁸

Common C. chinense varieties

Like C. annuum, C. chinense has many different varieties, including:

- 7-Pot chili (Trinidad)
  + 7-Pot cultivar 7-Pot Primo
- Adjuma (Suriname)
- Ají Panca (Peru)
- Arriba Saia (Brazil)
- 'Carolina Reaper' (South Carolina)
- Datil (Florida)
- Fatalii (south central Africa)
- Habanero chile (Caribbean, Central America and Mexico)
  + Habanero cultivar 'Red Savina'
- Hainan yellow lantern chili (Hainan Island, South China)
- 'Madame Jeanette' (Suriname)
- Bhut jolokia (Assam)
  + Bhut jolokia cultivar 'Dorset' Naga pepper
- Scotch bonnet (Jamaica, Trinidad)
- Trinidad moruga scorpion (Trinidad)
  + Trinidad moruga scorpion cultivar Trinidad scorpion 'Butch T'


[1] "The Plant List".
[2] "Rikke's Plants Capsicum Chinense". Rikke's Plants. Rikke's Plants.
  Retrieved 8 May 2011.
[3] "Capsicum chinense". "Tropicos".
[4] Eshbaugh, W.H. (1993). "History and exploitation of a serendipitous new
  crop discovery". In J. Janick and J.E. Simon. New crops. New York: Wiley.
  pp. 132–139.
[5] Bosland, P.W. 1996. Capsicums: Innovative uses of an ancient crop. p.
  479-487. In: J. Janick (ed.), Progress in new crops. ASHS Press,
  Arlington, VA.
[6] "Chinense Species". Capsicum Species. Retrieved 8 May
[7] Webster, Valerie. "Habanero Hot Sauce - Cure for Common Cuisine".
  Caribbean Coice Recipes. Caribbean Choice. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
[8] "Mexican American culture". Kwintessential Publications.
  Kwintessential. Retrieved 7 May 2011.

External links

- Capsicum chinense in West African plants – A Photo Guide.

Capsicum frutescens

Capsicum frutescens is a species of chili pepper that is sometimes
considered to be part of the species Capsicum annuum.¹ Pepper cultivars in
Capsicum frutescens can be annual or short-lived perennial plants. Flowers
are white with a greenish white or greenish yellow corolla, and are either
insect- or self-pollinated. The plants' berries typically grow erect;
ellipsoid-conical to lanceoloid shaped. They are usually very small and
pungent, growing 10–20mm long and 3–7mm in diameter.² Fruit typically grows
a pale yellow and matures to a bright red, but can also be other colors. C.
frutescens has a smaller variety of shapes compared to other Capsicum
species, likely because of the lack of human selection. More recently,
however, C. frutescens has been bred to produce ornamental strains, because
of its large quantities of erect peppers growing in colorful ripening


Capsicum frutescens includes the following cultivars and/or varieties:

- Piri piri, also called African Bird's Eye or African devil
- Kambuzi pepper, Malawian pepper
- Malagueta pepper
- Tabasco pepper, used to make Tabasco sauce
- Tjabe Rawit, from Indonesia,³ used in hot Sambal.⁴
- Siling labuyo, from the Philippines.


The Capsicum frutescens species likely originated in South or Central
America. It spread quickly throughout the tropical and subtropical regions
in this area and still grows wild today.⁵ Capsicum frutescens is currently
native to the majority of Central America as well as Northern and Western
South America. It is believed that C. frutescens is the ancestor to the C.
chinense species.

Use in Ethiopia

According to Richard Pankhurst, C. frutescens (known as barbaré) was so
important to the national cuisine of Ethiopia, at least as early as the
19th century, "that it was cultivated extensively in the warmer areas
wherever the soil was suitable."⁶ Although it was grown in every province,
barbaré was especially extensive in Yejju, "which supplied much of Showa as
well as other neighboring provinces". He singles out the upper Golima river
valley as being almost entirely devoted to the cultivation of this plant,
where thousands of acres were devoted to the plant and it was harvested
year round.⁷

Chemical constituents


Capsaicin, a chemical constituent of Capsicum frutescens[1]

- ^ Joseph E. Pizzorno Jr. and Michael T. Murray (2012). Textbook of
  natural medicine (4th ed. ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. p. 634.
  ISBN 9781437723335.


[1] "The Plant List".
[2] "Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)".
[3] "Tjabe Rawit information (German)". Retrieved 2012-02-26.
[4] "Sambal Tjabe Rawit (Shop page)". Retrieved 2012-02-26.
[5] "Capsicum frutescens". The Chillies. SoilMates. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
[6] Richard Pankhurst, Economic History of Ethiopia (Addis Ababa: Haile
  Selassie I University, 1968), p. 193.
[7] Pankhurst, Economic History, p. 194.

See also

- List of Capsicum Cultivars
- Capsicum

External links

- Capsicum frutescens in West African plants – A Photo Guide.

Carl Linnaeus

"Linneus" redirects here. For his lesser-known son whose abbreviation is
L.f., see Carl Linnaeus the Younger. For other uses, see Linnaeus

Carl Linnaeus (/lɪˈniːəs/;¹ 23 May[note 1] 1707 – 10 January 1778), also
known after his ennoblement as Carl von Linné ( listen ),² was a Swedish
botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern
biological naming scheme of binomial nomenclature. He is known as the
father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of
modern ecology. Many of his writings were in Latin, and his name is
rendered in Latin as Carolus Linnæus (after 1761 Carolus a Linné).

Linnaeus was born in the countryside of Småland, in southern Sweden. He
received most of his higher education at Uppsala University, and began
giving lectures in botany there in 1730. He lived abroad between 1735 and
1738, where he studied and also published a first edition of his Systema
Naturae in the Netherlands. He then returned to Sweden, where he became
professor of medicine and botany at Uppsala. In the 1740s, he was sent on
several journeys through Sweden to find and classify plants and animals. In
the 1750s and '60s, he continued to collect and classify animals, plants,
and minerals, and published several volumes. At the time of his death, he
was one of the most acclaimed scientists in Europe.

The Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau sent him the message: "Tell him
I know no greater man on earth."³ The German writer Johann Wolfgang von
Goethe wrote: "With the exception of Shakespeare and Spinoza, I know no one
among the no longer living who has influenced me more strongly."³ Swedish
author August Strindberg wrote: "Linnaeus was in reality a poet who
happened to become a naturalist".⁴ Among other compliments, Linnaeus has
been called Princeps botanicorum (Prince of Botanists), "The Pliny of the
North," and "The Second Adam".⁵

In botany, the author abbreviation used to indicate Linnaeus as the
authority for species' names is L.⁶ In older publications, sometimes the
abbreviation "Linn." is found (for instance in: Cheeseman, T.F. (1906) -
Manual of the New Zealand Flora). Linnaeus' remains comprise the type
specimen for the species Homo sapiens, following the International Code of
Zoological Nomenclature, since the sole specimen he is known to have
examined when writing the species description was himself.[note 2]



Carl Linnaeus was born in the village of Råshult in Småland, Sweden, on 23
May 1707. He was the first child of Nils Ingemarsson Linnaeus and Christina
Brodersonia. His father was the first in his ancestry to adopt a permanent
surname. Before that, ancestors had used the patronymic naming system of
Scandinavian countries: his father was named Ingemarsson after his father
Ingemar Bengtsson. When Nils was admitted to the University of Lund, he had
to take on a family name. He adopted the Latinate name Linnæus after a
giant linden tree (or lime tree), lind in Swedish, that grew on the family
homestead.⁷ This name was spelled with the æ ligature. When Carl was born,
he was named Carl Linnæus, with his father's family name. The son also
always spelled it with the æ ligature, both in handwritten documents and in
publications.⁸ Carl's patronymic would have been Nilsson, as in Carl
Nilsson Linnæus.

One of a long line of peasants and priests, Nils was an amateur botanist, a
Lutheran minister, and the curate of the small village of Stenbrohult in
Småland. Christina was the daughter of the rector of Stenbrohult, Samuel
Brodersonius. She subsequently gave birth to three daughters and another
son, Samuel (who would eventually succeed their father as rector of
Stenbrohult and write a manual on beekeeping).⁷ ⁹ ¹⁰ A year after Linnaeus'
birth, his grandfather Samuel Brodersonius died, and his father Nils became
the rector of Stenbrohult. The family moved into the rectory from the
curate's house.⁸ ¹¹

Even in his early years, Linnaeus seemed to have a liking for plants,
flowers in particular. Whenever he was upset, he was given a flower, which
immediately calmed him. Nils spent much time in his garden and often showed
flowers to Linnaeus and told him their names. Soon Linnaeus was given his
own patch of earth where he could grow plants.¹²

Early education

Linnaeus' father began teaching him Latin, religion, and geography at an
early age; one account says that due to family use of Latin for
conversation, the boy learned Latin before he learned Swedish. When
Linnaeus was seven, Nils decided to hire a tutor for him. The parents
picked Johan Telander, a son of a local yeoman. Linnaeus did not like him,
writing in his autobiography that Telander "was better calculated to
extinguish a child's talents than develop them."¹³ Two years after his
tutoring had begun, he was sent to the Lower Grammar School at Växjö in
1717.¹⁴ Linnaeus rarely studied, often going to the countryside to look for
plants. He reached the last year of the Lower School when he was fifteen,
which was taught by the headmaster, Daniel Lannerus, who was interested in
botany. Lannerus noticed Linnaeus' interest in botany and gave him the run
of his garden. He also introduced him to Johan Rothman, the state doctor of
Småland and a teacher at Katedralskolan (a gymnasium) in Växjö. Also a
botanist, Rothman broadened Linnaeus' interest in botany and helped him
develop an interest in medicine.¹⁵ ¹⁶ At the age of 17, Linnaeus had become
well acquainted with the existing botanical literature. He remarks in his
journal "read day and night, knowing like the back of my hand, Arvidh
Månsson's Rydaholm Book of Herbs, Tillandz's Flora Åboensis, Palmberg's
Serta Florea Suecana, Bromelii Chloros Gothica and Rudbeckii Hortus
Upsaliensis...." ¹⁷

Linnaeus entered the Växjö Katedralskola in 1724, where he studied mainly
Greek, Hebrew, theology and mathematics, a curriculum designed for boys
preparing for the priesthood.¹⁸ ¹⁹ In the last year at the gymnasium,
Linnaeus' father visited to ask the professors how his son's studies were
progressing; to his dismay, most said that the boy would never become a
scholar. Rothman believed otherwise, suggesting Linnaeus could have a
future in medicine. The doctor offered to have Linnaeus live with his
family in Växjö and to teach him physiology and botany. Nils accepted this
offer.²⁰ ²¹

University studies


Rothman showed Linnaeus that botany was a serious subject. He taught
Linnaeus to classify plants according to Tournefort's system. Linnaeus was
also taught about the sexual reproduction of plants, according to Sébastien
Vaillant.²⁰ In 1727, Linnaeus, age 21, enrolled in Lund University in
Skåne.²² ²³ He was registered as Carolus Linnæus, the Latin form of his
full name, which he also used later for his Latin publications.²

Professor Kilian Stobæus, natural scientist, physician and historian,
offered Linnaeus tutoring and lodging, as well as the use of his library,
which included many books about botany. He also gave the student free
admission to his lectures.²⁴ ²⁵ In his spare time, Linnaeus explored the
flora of Skåne, together with students sharing the same interests.²⁶


In August 1728, Linnaeus decided to attend Uppsala University on the advice
of Rothman, who believed it would be a better choice if Linnaeus wanted to
study both medicine and botany. Rothman based this recommendation on the
two professors who taught at the medical faculty at Uppsala: Olof Rudbeck
the Younger and Lars Roberg. Although Rudbeck and Roberg had undoubtedly
been good professors, by then they were older and not so interested in
teaching. Rudbeck no longer gave public lectures, and had others stand in
for him. The botany, zoology, pharmacology and anatomy lectures were not in
their best state.²⁷ In Uppsala, Linnaeus met a new benefactor, Olof
Celsius, who was a professor of theology and an amateur botanist.²⁸ He
received Linnaeus into his home and allowed him use of his library, which
was one of the richest botanical libraries in Sweden.²⁹

In 1729, Linnaeus wrote a thesis, Praeludia Sponsaliorum Plantarum on plant
sexual reproduction. This attracted the attention of Rudbeck; in May 1730,
he selected Linnaeus to give lectures at the University although the young
man was only a second-year student. His lectures were popular, and Linnaeus
often addressed an audience of 300 people.³⁰ In June, Linnaeus moved from
Celsius' house to Rudbeck's to become the tutor of the three youngest of
his 24 children. His friendship with Celsius did not wane and they
continued their botanical expeditions.³¹ Over that winter, Linnaeus began
to doubt Tournefort's system of classification and decided to create one of
his own. His plan was to divide the plants by the number of stamens and
pistils. He began writing several books, which would later result in, for
example, Genera Plantarum and Critica Botanica. He also produced a book on
the plants grown in the Uppsala Botanical Garden, Adonis Uplandicus.³²

Rudbeck's former assistant, Nils Rosén, returned to the University in March
1731 with a degree in medicine. Rosén started giving anatomy lectures and
tried to take over Linnaeus' botany lectures, but Rudbeck prevented that.
Until December, Rosén gave Linnaeus private tutoring in medicine. In
December, Linnaeus had a "disagreement" with Rudbeck's wife and had to move
out of his mentor's house; his relationship with Rudbeck did not appear to
suffer. That Christmas, Linnaeus returned home to Stenbrohult to visit his
parents for the first time in about three years. His mother had disapproved
of his failing to become a priest, but she was pleased to learn he was
teaching at the University.³² ³³

Expedition to Lapland

Main articles: Expedition to Lapland and Flora Lapponica

During a visit with his parents, Linnaeus told them about his plan to
travel to Lapland; Rudbeck had made the journey in 1695, but the detailed
results of his exploration were lost in a fire seven years afterwards.
Linnaeus' hope was to find new plants, animals and possibly valuable
minerals. He was also curious about the customs of the native Sami people,
reindeer-herding nomads who wandered Scandinavia's vast tundras. In April
1732, Linnaeus was awarded a grant from the Royal Society of Sciences in
Uppsala for his journey.³⁴ ³⁵

Linnaeus began his expedition from Uppsala in May; he travelled on foot and
horse, bringing with him his journal, botanical and ornithological
manuscripts and sheets of paper for pressing plants. Near Gävle he found
great quantities of Campanula serpyllifolia, later known as Linnaea
borealis, the twinflower that would become his favourite.³⁶ He sometimes
dismounted on the way to examine a flower or rock³⁷ and was particularly
interested in mosses and lichens, the latter a main part of the diet of the
reindeer, a common and economically important animal in Lapland.³⁸

Linnaeus travelled clockwise around the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia,
making major inland incursions from Umeå, Luleå and Tornio. He returned
from his six-month long, over 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) expedition in
October, having gathered and observed many plants, birds and rocks.³⁹ ⁴⁰ ⁴¹
Although Lapland was a region with limited biodiversity, Linnaeus described
about 100 previously unidentified plants. These became the basis of his
book Flora Lapponica.⁴² ⁴³

In Flora Lapponica Linnaeus' ideas about nomenclature and classification
were first used in a practical way, making this the first proto-modern
Flora.⁴⁴ The account covered 534 species, used the Linnaean classification
system and included, for the described species, geographical distribution
and taxonomic notes. It was Augustin Pyramus de Candolle who attributed
Linnaeus with Flora Lapponica as the first example in the botanical genre
of Flora writing. Botanical historian E. L. Greene described Flora
Lapponica as "the most classic and delightful" of Linnaeus's works.⁴⁴

It was also during this expedition that Linnaeus had a flash of insight
regarding the classification of mammals. Upon observing the lower jawbone
of a horse at the side of a road he was traveling, Linnaeus remarked: "If I
only knew how many teeth and of what kind every animal had, how many teats
and where they were placed, I should perhaps be able to work out a
perfectly natural system for the arrangement of all quadrupeds."⁴⁵


In 1734, Linnaeus led a small group of students to Dalarna. Funded by the
Governor of Dalarna, the expedition was to catalogue known natural
resources and discover new ones, but also to gather intelligence on
Norwegian mining activities at Røros.⁴¹


Back in Uppsala, Linnaeus' relations with Nils Rosén worsened, and thus he
gladly accepted an invitation from the student Claes Sohlberg to spend the
Christmas holiday in Falun with Sohlberg's family. Sohlberg's father was a
mining inspector, and let Linnaeus visit the mines near Falun.⁴⁶ Sohland's
father suggested to Linnaeus he should bring Sohlberg to the Dutch Republic
and continue to tutor him there for an annual salary. At that time, the
Dutch Republic was one of the most revered places to study natural history
and a common place for Swedes to take their doctoral degree; Linnaeus, who
was interested in both of these, accepted.⁴⁷

In April 1735, Linnaeus and Sohlberg set out for the Netherlands, with
Linnaeus to take a doctoral degree in medicine at the University of
Harderwijk.⁴⁸ On the way, they stopped in Hamburg, where they met the
mayor, who proudly showed them a wonder of nature which he possessed: the
taxidermied remains of a seven-headed hydra. Linnaeus quickly discovered it
was a fake: jaws and clawed feet from weasels and skins from snakes had
been glued together. The provenance of the hydra suggested to Linnaeus it
had been manufactured by monks to represent the Beast of Revelation. As
much as this may have upset the mayor, Linnaeus made his observations
public and the mayor's dreams of selling the hydra for an enormous sum were
ruined. Fearing his wrath, Linnaeus and Sohlberg had to leave Hamburg
quickly.⁴⁹ ⁵⁰

When Linnaeus reached Harderwijk, he began working toward a degree
immediately; at the time, Harderwijk was known for awarding "instant"
degrees after as little as a week.⁵¹ First he handed in a thesis on the
cause of malaria he had written in Sweden, which he then defended in a
public debate. He is now known to have been wrong about the cause, not
having a microscope good enough to see malarial parasites, which were
spread by mosquitoes living in the stagnant water around the clay soils.⁵²

The next step was to take an oral examination and to diagnose a patient.
After less than two weeks, he took his degree and became a doctor, at the
age of 28.⁴⁹ ⁵¹ During the summer, Linnaeus met a friend from Uppsala,
Peter Artedi. Before their departure from Uppsala, Artedi and Linnaeus had
decided should one of them die, the survivor would finish the other's work.
Ten weeks later, Artedi drowned in one of the canals of Amsterdam, and his
unfinished manuscript on the classification of fish was left to Linnaeus to
complete.⁵³ ⁵⁴

Publishing of Systema Naturae

One of the first scientists Linnaeus met in the Netherlands was Johan
Frederik Gronovius to whom Linnaeus showed one of the several manuscripts
he had brought with him from Sweden. The manuscript described a new system
for classifying plants. When Gronovius saw it, he was very impressed, and
offered to help pay for the printing. With an additional monetary
contribution by the Scottish doctor Isaac Lawson, the manuscript was
published as Systema Naturae.⁵⁵ ⁵⁶

Linnaeus became acquainted with one of the most respected physicians and
botanists in the Netherlands, Herman Boerhaave, who tried to convince
Linnaeus to make a career there. Boerhaave offered him a journey to South
Africa and America, but Linnaeus declined, stating he would not stand the
heat. Instead, Boerhaave convinced Linnaeus that he should visit the
botanist Johannes Burman. After his visit, Burman, impressed with his
guest's knowledge, decided Linnaeus should stay with him during the winter.
During his stay, Linnaeus helped Burman with his Thesaurus Zeylanicus.
Burman also helped Linnaeus with the books on which he was working:
Fundamenta Botanica and Bibliotheca Botanica.⁵⁷

George Clifford

Leaf forms from Hortus Cliffortianus (1738)

In August, during Linnaeus' stay with Burman, he met George Clifford III, a
director of the Dutch East India Company and the owner of a rich botanical
garden at the estate of Hartekamp in Heemstede. Clifford was very impressed
with Linnaeus' ability to classify plants, and invited him to become his
physician and superintendent of his garden. Linnaeus had already agreed to
stay with Burman over the winter, and could thus not accept immediately.
However, Clifford offered to compensate Burman by offering him a copy of
Sir Hans Sloane's Natural History of Jamaica, a rare book, if he let
Linnaeus stay with him, and Burman accepted.⁵⁸ ⁵⁹ On 24 September 1735,
Linnaeus became the botanical curator and house physician at Hartekamp,
free to buy any book or plant he wanted.

In July 1736, Linnaeus travelled to England, at Clifford's expense.⁶⁰ He
went to London to visit Sir Hans Sloane, a collector of natural history,
and to see his cabinet,⁶¹ as well as to visit the Chelsea Physic Garden and
its keeper, Philip Miller. He taught Miller about his new system of
subdividing plants, as described in Systema Naturae. Miller was impressed,
and from then on started to arrange the garden according to Linnaeus'
system.⁶² Linnaeus also traveled to Oxford University to visit the botanist
Johann Jacob Dillenius. He failed, however, to make Dillenius publicly
accept his new classification system. He then returned to Hartekamp,
bringing with him many specimens of rare plants.⁶³ The next year, he
published Genera Plantarum, in which he described 935 genera of plants, and
shortly thereafter he supplemented it with Corollarium Generum Plantarum,
with another sixty (sexaginta) genera.⁶⁴

His work at Hartekamp led to another book, Hortus Cliffortianus, a
catalogue of the botanical holdings in the herbarium and botanical garden
of Hartekamp. He wrote it in nine months (completed in July 1737), but it
was not published until 1738.⁵⁷ It contains the first use of the name
Nepenthes, which Linnaeus used to describe a genus of pitcher plants.⁶⁵
[note 3]

Linnaeus stayed with Clifford at Hartekamp until 18 October 1737 (new
style), when he left the house to return to Sweden. Illness and the
kindness of Dutch friends obliged him to stay some months longer in
Holland. In May 1738, he set out for Sweden again. On the way home, he
stayed in Paris for about a month, visiting botanists such as Antoine de
Jussieu. After his return, Linnaeus never left Sweden again.⁶⁶ ⁶⁷

Return to Sweden

When Linnaeus returned to Sweden on 28 June 1738, he went to Falun, where
he entered into an engagement to Sara Elisabeth Moræa. Three months later,
he moved to Stockholm to find employment as a physician, and thus to make
it possible to support a family.⁶⁸ ⁶⁹ Once again, Linnaeus found a patron;
he became acquainted with Count Carl Gustav Tessin, who helped him get work
as a physician at the Admiralty.⁷⁰ ⁷¹ During this time in Stockholm,
Linnaeus helped found the Royal Swedish Academy of Science; he became the
first Praeses in the academy by drawing of lots.⁷²

Because his finances had improved and were now sufficient to support a
family, he received permission to marry his fiancée, Sara Elisabeth Moræa.
Their wedding was held 26 June 1739. Seven months later, Sara gave birth to
their first son, Carl. Two years later, a daughter, Elisabeth Christina,
was born, and the subsequent year Sara gave birth to Sara Magdalena, who
died when 15 days old. Sara and Linnaeus would later have four other
children: Lovisa, Sara Christina, Johannes and Sophia.⁶⁸ ⁷³

In May 1741, Linnaeus was appointed Professor of Medicine at Uppsala
University, first with responsibility for medicine-related matters. Soon,
he changed place with the other Professor of Medicine, Nils Rosén, and thus
was responsible for the Botanical Garden (which he would thoroughly
reconstruct and expand), botany and natural history, instead. In October
that same year, his wife and nine-year-old son followed him to live in

Öland and Gotland

Ten days after he was appointed Professor, he undertook an expedition to
the island provinces of Öland and Gotland with six students from the
university, to look for plants useful in medicine. First, they travelled to
Öland and stayed there until 21 June, when they sailed to Visby in Gotland.
Linnaeus and the students stayed on Gotland for about a month, and then
returned to Uppsala. During this expedition, they found 100 previously
unrecorded plants. The observations from the expedition were later
published in Öländska och Gothländska Resa, written in Swedish. Like Flora
Lapponica, it contained both zoological and botanical observations, as well
as observations concerning the culture in Öland and Gotland.⁷⁵ ⁷⁶

During the summer of 1745, Linnaeus published two more books: Flora Suecica
and Fauna Suecica. Flora Suecica was a strictly botanical book, while Fauna
Suecica was zoological.⁶⁸ ⁷⁷ Anders Celsius had created the temperature
scale named after him in 1742. Celsius' scale was inverted compared to
today, the boiling point at 0 °C and freezing point at 100 °C. In 1745,
Linnaeus inverted the scale to its present standard.⁷⁸


In the summer of 1746, Linnaeus was once again commissioned by the
Government to carry out an expedition, this time to the Swedish province of
Västergötland. He set out from Uppsala on 12 June and returned on 11
August. On the expedition his primary companion was Erik Gustaf Lidbeck, a
student who had accompanied him on his previous journey. Linnaeus described
his findings from the expedition in the book Wästgöta-Resa, published the
next year.⁷⁵ ⁷⁹ After returning from the journey the Government decided
Linnaeus should take on another expedition to the southernmost province
Scania. This journey was postponed, as Linnaeus felt too busy.⁶⁸

In 1747, Linnaeus was given the title archiater, or chief physician, by the
Swedish king Adolf Frederick—a mark of great respect.⁸⁰ The same year he
was elected member of the Academy of Sciences in Berlin.⁸¹


In the spring of 1749, Linnaeus could finally journey to Scania, again
commissioned by the Government. With him he brought his student, Olof
Söderberg. On the way to Scania, he made his last visit to his brothers and
sisters in Stenbrohult since his father had died the previous year. The
expedition was similar to the previous journeys in most aspects, but this
time he was also ordered to find the best place to grow walnut and Swedish
whitebeam trees; these trees were used by the military to make rifles. The
journey was successful, and Linnaeus' observations were published the next
year in Skånska Resa.⁸² ⁸³

Rector of Uppsala University

In 1750, Linnaeus became rector of Uppsala University, starting a period
where natural sciences were esteemed.⁶⁸ Perhaps the most important
contribution he made during his time at Uppsala was to teach; many of his
students travelled to various places in the world to collect botanical
samples. Linnaeus called the best of these students his "apostles".⁸⁴ His
lectures were normally very popular and were often held in the Botanical
Garden. He tried to teach the students to think for themselves and not
trust anybody, not even him. Even more popular than the lectures were the
botanical excursions made every Saturday during summer, where Linnaeus and
his students explored the flora and fauna in the vicinity of Uppsala.⁸⁵

Philosophia Botanica

Linnaeus published Philosophia Botanica in 1751. The book contained a
complete survey of the taxonomy system he had been using in his earlier
works. It also contained information of how to keep a journal on travels
and how to maintain a botanical garden.⁸⁶

Species Plantarum

Linnaeus published Species Plantarum, the work which is now internationally
accepted as the starting point of modern botanical nomenclature, in 1753.⁸⁷
The first volume was issued on 24 May, the second volume followed on 16
August of the same year.[note 4]⁸⁹ The book contained 1,200 pages and was
published in two volumes; it described over 7,300 species.⁹⁰ ⁹¹ The same
year the king dubbed him knight of the Order of the Polar Star, the first
civilian in Sweden to become a knight in this order. He was then seldom
seen not wearing the order.⁹²


Linnaeus felt Uppsala was too noisy and unhealthy, so he bought two farms
in 1758: Hammarby and Sävja. The next year, he bought a neighbouring farm,
Edeby. He spent the summers with his family at Hammarby; initially it only
had a small one-storey house, but in 1762 a new, larger main building was
added.⁸³ ⁹³ In Hammarby, Linnaeus made a garden where he could grow plants
that could not be grown in the Botanical Garden in Uppsala. He began
constructing a museum on a hill behind Hammarby in 1766, where he moved his
library and collection of plants. A fire that destroyed about one third of
Uppsala and had threatened his residence there necessitated the move.⁹⁴

Since the initial release of Systema Naturae in 1735, the book had been
expanded and reprinted several times; the tenth edition was released in
1758. This edition established itself as the starting point for zoological
nomenclature, the equivalent of Species Plantarum.⁹⁰ ⁹⁵

The Swedish king Adolf Frederick granted Linnaeus nobility in 1757, but he
was not ennobled until 1761. With his ennoblement, he took the name Carl
von Linné (Latinized as Carolus a Linné), 'Linné' being a shortened and
gallicised version of 'Linnæus', and the German title 'von' signifying his
ennoblement.² The noble family's coat of arms prominently features a
twinflower, one of Linnaeus' favourite plants; it was given the scientific
name Linnaea borealis in his honour by Gronovius. The shield in the coat of
arms is divided into thirds: red, black and green for the three kingdoms of
nature (animal, mineral and vegetable) in Linnaean classification; in the
center is an egg "to denote Nature, which is continued and perpetuated in
ovo." At the bottom is a phrase in Latin, borrowed from the Aeneid, which
reads "Famam extendere factis": we extend our fame by our deeds.⁹⁶ ⁹⁷ ⁹⁸

After his ennoblement, Linnaeus continued teaching and writing. His
reputation had spread over the world, and he corresponded with many
different people. For example, Catherine II of Russia sent him seeds from
her country.⁹⁹ He also corresponded with Giovanni Antonio Scopoli, "the
Linnaeus of the Austrian Empire", who was a doctor and a botanist in
Idrija, Duchy of Carniola (nowadays Slovenia).¹⁰⁰ Scopoli communicated all
of his research, findings, and descriptions (for example of the olm and the
dormouse, two little animals hitherto unknown to Linnaeus). Linnaeus
greatly respected him and showed great interest in his work. He named a
solanaceous genus, Scopolia, the source of scopolamine, after him. Because
of a great distance, they didn't ever meet.¹⁰¹ ¹⁰²

Final years

Linnaeus was relieved of his duties in the Royal Swedish Academy of Science
in 1763, but continued his work there as usual for more than ten years
after.⁶⁸ He stepped down as rector at Uppsala University in December 1772,
mostly due to his declining health.⁶⁷ ¹⁰³

Linnaeus' last years were troubled by illness. He had suffered from a
disease called the Uppsala fever in 1764, but survived thanks to the care
of Rosén. He developed sciatica in 1773, and the next year, he had a stroke
which partially paralysed him.¹⁰⁴ He suffered a second stroke in 1776,
losing the use of his right side and leaving him bereft of his memory;
while still able to admire his own writings, he could not recognize himself
as their author.¹⁰⁵ ¹⁰⁶

In December 1777, he had another stroke which greatly weakened him, and
eventually led to his death on 10 January 1778 in Hammarby.¹⁰³ ¹⁰⁷ Despite
his desire to be buried in Hammarby, he was interred in Uppsala Cathedral
on 22 January.¹⁰⁸ ¹⁰⁹

His library and collections were left to his widow Sara and their children.
Joseph Banks, an English botanist, wanted to buy the collection, but his
son Carl refused and moved the collection to Uppsala. However, in 1783 Carl
died and Sara inherited the collection, having outlived both her husband
and son. She tried to sell it to Banks, but he was no longer interested;
instead an acquaintance of his agreed to buy the collection. The
acquaintance was a 24-year-old medical student, James Edward Smith, who
bought the whole collection: 14,000 plants, 3,198 insects, 1,564 shells,
about 3,000 letters and 1,600 books. Smith founded the Linnean Society of
London five years later.¹⁰⁹ ¹¹⁰

The von Linné name ended with his son Carl, who never married.⁴ His other
son, Johannes, had died aged 3.¹¹¹ There are over two hundred descendants
of Linnaeus through two of his daughters.⁴


Main article: Apostles of Linnaeus

During Linnaeus' time as Professor and Rector of Uppsala University, he
taught many devoted students, 17 of whom he called "apostles". They were
the most promising, most committed students, and all of them made botanical
expeditions to various places in the world, often with his help. The amount
of this help varied; sometimes he used his influence as Rector to grant his
apostles a scholarship or a place on an expedition.¹¹² To most of the
apostles he gave instructions of what to look for on their journeys.
Abroad, the apostles collected and organised new plants, animals and
minerals according to Linnaeus' system. Most of them also gave some of
their collection to Linnaeus when their journey was finished.¹¹³ Thanks to
these students, the Linnaean system of taxonomy spread through the world
without Linnaeus ever having to travel outside Sweden after his return from
Holland.¹¹⁴ The British botanist William T. Stearn notes without Linnaeus'
new system, it would not have been possible for the apostles to collect and
organise so many new specimens.¹¹⁵ Many of the apostles died during their

Early expeditions

Christopher Tärnström, the first apostle and a 43-year-old pastor with a
wife and children, made his journey in 1746. He boarded a Swedish East
India Company ship headed for China. Tärnström never reached his
destination, dying of a tropical fever on Côn Sơn Island the same year.
Tärnström's widow blamed Linnaeus for making her children fatherless,
causing Linnaeus to prefer sending out younger, unmarried students after
Tärnström.¹¹⁶ Six other apostles later died on their expeditions, including
Pehr Forsskål and Pehr Löfling.¹¹⁵

Two years after Tärnström's expedition, Finnish-born Pehr Kalm set out as
the second apostle to North America. There he spent two-and-a-half years
studying the flora and fauna of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and
Canada. Linnaeus was overjoyed when Kalm returned, bringing back with him
many pressed flowers and seeds. At least 90 of the 700 North American
species described in Species Plantarum had been brought back by Kalm.¹¹⁷

Cook expeditions and Japan

Daniel Solander was living in Linnaeus' house during his time as a student
in Uppsala. Linnaeus was very fond of him, promising Solander his oldest
daughter's hand in marriage. On Linnaeus' recommendation, Solander
travelled to England in 1760, where he met the English botanist Joseph
Banks. With Banks, Solander joined James Cook on his expedition to Oceania
on the Endeavour in 1768–71.¹¹⁸ ¹¹⁹ Solander was not the only apostle to
journey with James Cook; Anders Sparrman followed on the Resolution in
1772–75 bound for, among other places, Oceania and South America. Sparrman
made many other expeditions, one of them to South Africa.¹²⁰

Perhaps the most famous and successful apostle was Carl Peter Thunberg, who
embarked on a nine-year expedition in 1770. He stayed in South Africa for
three years, then travelled to Japan. All foreigners in Japan were forced
to stay on the island of Dejima outside Nagasaki, so it was thus hard for
Thunberg to study the flora. He did, however, manage to persuade some of
the translators to bring him different plants, and he also found plants in
the gardens of Dejima. He returned to Sweden in 1779, one year after
Linnaeus' death.¹²¹

Major publications

Main article: Carl Linnaeus bibliography

Systema Naturae

Main articles: Systema Naturae and 10th edition of Systema Naturae

The first edition of Systema Naturae was printed in the Netherlands in
1735. It was a twelve-page work.¹²² By the time it reached its 10th edition
in 1758, it classified 4,400 species of animals and 7,700 species of
plants. In it, the unwieldy names mostly used at the time, such as
"Physalis annua ramosissima, ramis angulosis glabris, foliis
dentato-serratis", were supplemented with concise and now familiar
"binomials", composed of the generic name, followed by a specific epithet –
in the case given, Physalis angulata. These binomials could serve as a
label to refer to the species. Higher taxa were constructed and arranged in
a simple and orderly manner. Although the system, now known as binomial
nomenclature, was partially developed by the Bauhin brothers (see Gaspard
Bauhin and Johann Bauhin) almost 200 years earlier,¹²³ Linnaeus was the
first to use it consistently throughout the work, including in monospecific
genera, and may be said to have popularised it within the scientific

Species Plantarum

Main article: Species Plantarum

Species Plantarum (or, more fully, Species Plantarum, exhibentes plantas
rite cognitas, ad genera relatas, cum differentiis specificis, nominibus
trivialibus, synonymis selectis, locis natalibus, secundum systema sexuale
digestas) was first published in 1753, as a two-volume work. Its prime
importance is perhaps that it is the primary starting point of plant
nomenclature as it exists today.⁸⁷

Genera Plantarum

Main article: Genera Plantarum

Genera plantarum: eorumque characteres naturales secundum numerum, figuram,
situm, et proportionem omnium fructificationis partium was first published
in 1737, delineating plant genera. Around 10 editions were published, not
all of them by Linnaeus himself; the most important is the 1754 fifth
edition.¹²⁴ In it Linnaeus divided the plant Kingdom into 24 classes. One,
Cryptogamia, included all the plants with concealed reproductive parts
(algae, fungi, mosses and liverworts and ferns).¹²⁵

Philosophia Botanica

Main article: Philosophia Botanica

Philosophia Botanica (1751) was a summary of Linnaeus' thinking on plant
classification and nomenclature, and an elaboration of the work he had
previously published in Fundamenta Botanica (1736) and Critica Botanica
(1737). Other publications forming part of his plan to reform the
foundations of botany include his Classes Plantarum and Bibliotheca
Botanica: all were printed in Holland (as well as Genera Plantarum (1737)
and Systema Naturae (1735)), the Philosophia being simultaneously released
in Stockholm.¹²⁶

Linnaean collections

At the end of his lifetime the Linnean collection in Uppsala was considered
as one of the finest collections of natural history objects in Sweden. Next
to his own collection he had also built up a museum for the university of
Uppsala, which was supplied by material donated by Carl Gyllenborg (in
1744–1745), crown-prince Adolf Fredrik (in 1745), Erik Petreus (in 1746),
Claes Grill (in 1746), Magnus Lagerström (in 1748 and 1750) and Jonas
Alströmer (in 1749). The relation between the museum and the private
collection was not formalized and the steady flow of material from Linnean
pupils were incorporated to the private collection rather than to the
museum.¹²⁷ Linnaeus felt his work was reflecting the harmony of nature and
he said in 1754 'the earth is then nothing else but a museum of the
all-wise creator's masterpieces, divided into three chambers'. He had
turned his own estate into a microcosm of that 'world museum'.¹²⁸

In April 1766 parts of the town were destroyed by a fire and the Linnean
private collection was subsequently moved to a barn outside the town, and
shortly afterwards to a single-room stone building close to his
countryhouse at Hammarby near Uppsala. This resulted in a physical
separation between the two collections, the museum collection remained in
the botanical garden of the university. Some material which needed special
care (alcohol specimens) or ample storage space was moved from the private
collection to the museum.

In Hammarby the Linnean private collections suffered seriously from damp
and the depredations by mice and insects. Carl von Linné's son (Carl
Linnaeus) inherited the collections in 1778 and retained them until his own
death in 1783. Shortly after Carl von Linné's death his son confirmed that
mice had caused "horrible damage" to the plants and that also moths and
mould had caused considerable damage.¹²⁹ He tried to rescue them from the
neglect they had suffered during his father's later years, and also added
further specimens. This last activity however reduced rather than augmented
the scientific value of the original material.

In 1784 the botanist James Edward Smith purchased nearly all of the Linnean
private scientific effects from the widow and daughter of Carl Linnaeus and
transferred them to London.¹³⁰ Not all material in Linné's private
collection was transported to England. Thirty-three fish specimens
preserved in alcohol were not sent and were later lost.

In London Smith tended to neglect the zoological parts of the collection,
he added some specimens and also gave some specimens away.¹³¹ Over the
following centuries the Linnean collection in London suffered enormously at
the hands of scientists who studied the collection, and in the process
disturbed the original arrangement and labels, added specimens that did not
belong to the original series and withdrew precious original type

Much material which had been intensively studied by Linné in his scientific
career belonged to the collection of Queen Lovisa Ulrika (1720–1782) (in
the Linnean publications referred to as "Museum Ludovicae Ulricae" or "M.
L. U."). This collection was donated by his grandson King Gustav IV Adolf
(1778–1837) to the museum in Uppsala in 1804. Another important collection
in this respect was that of her husband King Adolf Fredrik (1710–1771) (in
the Linnean sources known as "Museum Adolphi Friderici" or "Mus. Ad. Fr."),
the wet parts (alcohol collection) of which were later donated to the Royal
Swedish Academy of Sciences, and is today housed in the Swedish Museum of
Natural History at Stockholm. The dry material was transferred to

Linnaean taxonomy

Main article: Linnaean taxonomy

The establishment of universally accepted conventions for the naming of
organisms was Linnaeus' main contribution to taxonomy—his work marks the
starting point of consistent use of binomial nomenclature.¹³² During the
18th century expansion of natural history knowledge, Linnaeus also
developed what became known as the Linnaean taxonomy; the system of
scientific classification now widely used in the biological sciences.

The Linnaean system classified nature within a nested hierarchy, starting
with three kingdoms. Kingdoms were divided into classes and they, in turn,
into orders, and thence into genera (singular: genus), which were divided
into Species (singular: species).¹³³ Below the rank of species he sometimes
recognized taxa of a lower (unnamed) rank; these have since acquired
standardised names such as variety in botany and subspecies in zoology.
Modern taxonomy includes a rank of family between order and genus and a
rank of phylum between kingdom and class that were not present in Linnaeus'
original system.¹³⁴

Linnaeus' groupings were based upon shared physical characteristics, and
not simply upon differences.¹³⁴ Of his higher groupings, only those for
animals are still in use, and the groupings themselves have been
significantly changed since their conception, as have the principles behind
them. Nevertheless, Linnaeus is credited with establishing the idea of a
hierarchical structure of classification which is based upon observable
characteristics and intended to reflect natural relationships.¹³² ¹³⁵ While
the underlying details concerning what are considered to be scientifically
valid "observable characteristics" have changed with expanding knowledge
(for example, DNA sequencing, unavailable in Linnaeus' time, has proven to
be a tool of considerable utility for classifying living organisms and
establishing their evolutionary relationships), the fundamental principle
remains sound.

Influences and economic beliefs

Linnaeus' applied science was inspired not only by the instrumental
utilitarianism general to the early Enlightenment, but also by his
adherence to the older economic doctrine of Cameralism.¹³⁶ Additionally,
Linnaeus was a state interventionist. He supported tariffs, levies, export
bounties, quotas, embargoes, navigation acts, subsidized investment
capital, ceilings on wages, cash grants, state-licensed producer
monopolies, and cartels.¹³⁷

Views on mankind

According to German biologist Ernst Haeckel, the question of man's origin
began with Linnaeus. He helped future research in the natural history of
man by describing humans just as he described any other plant or animal.¹³⁸


Linnaeus classified humans among the primates (as they were later called)
beginning with the first edition of Systema Naturae. During his time at
Hartekamp, he had the opportunity to examine several monkeys and noted
similarities between them and man.⁸⁴ He pointed out both species basically
have the same anatomy; except for speech, he found no other differences.¹³⁹
[note 5] Thus he placed man and monkeys under the same category,
Anthropomorpha, meaning "manlike."¹⁴⁰ This classification received
criticism from other biologists such as Johan Gottschalk Wallerius, Jacob
Theodor Klein and Johann Georg Gmelin on the ground that it is illogical to
describe a human as 'like a man'.¹⁴¹ In a letter to Gmelin from 1747,
Linnaeus replied:¹⁴² [note 6]

  It does not please [you] that I've placed Man among the Anthropomorpha,
  perhaps because of the term 'with human form',[note 7] but man learns to
  know himself. Let's not quibble over words. It will be the same to me
  whatever name we apply. But I seek from you and from the whole world a
  generic difference between man and simian that [follows] from the
  principles of Natural History.[note 8] I absolutely know of none. If only
  someone might tell me a single one! If I would have called man a simian
  or vice versa, I would have brought together all the theologians against
  me. Perhaps I ought to have by virtue of the law of the discipline.

The theological concerns were twofold: first, putting man at the same level
as monkeys or apes would lower the spiritually higher position that man was
assumed to have in the great chain of being, and second, because the Bible
says man was created in the image of God¹⁴³ (theomorphism), if monkeys/apes
and humans were not distinctly and separately designed, that would mean
monkeys and apes were created in the image of God as well. This was
something many could not accept.¹⁴⁴ The conflict between world views that
was caused by asserting man was a type of animal would simmer for a century
until the much greater, and still ongoing, creation–evolution controversy
began in earnest with the publication of On the Origin of Species by
Charles Darwin in 1859.

After such criticism, Linnaeus felt he needed to explain himself more
clearly. The 10th edition of Systema Naturae introduced new terms,
including Mammalia and Primates, the latter of which would replace
Anthropomorpha¹⁴⁵ as well as giving humans the full binomial Homo
sapiens.¹⁴⁶ The new classification received less criticism, but many
natural historians still believed he had demoted humans from their former
place to rule over nature, not be a part of it. Linnaeus believed that man
biologically belongs to the animal kingdom and had to be included in it.¹⁴⁷
In his book Dieta Naturalis, he said, "One should not vent one's wrath on
animals, Theology decree that man has a soul and that the animals are mere
'aoutomata mechanica,' but I believe they would be better advised that
animals have a soul and that the difference is of nobility."¹⁴⁸

Strange people in distant lands

Linnaeus added a second species to the genus Homo in Systema Naturae based
on a figure and description by Jacobus Bontius from a 1658 publication:
Homo troglodytes ("caveman")¹⁴⁹ ¹⁵⁰ and published a third in 1771: Homo
lar.¹⁵¹ Swedish historian Gunnar Broberg states that the new human species
Linnaeus described were actually simians or native people clad in skins to
frighten colonial settlers, whose appearance had been exaggerated in
accounts to Linnaeus.¹⁵²

In early editions of Systema Naturae, many well-known legendary creatures
were included such as the phoenix, dragon and manticore as well as cryptids
like the satyrus,¹⁵³ [note 9] which Linnaeus collected into the catch-all
category Paradoxa. Broberg thought Linnaeus was trying to offer a natural
explanation and demystify the world of superstition.¹⁵⁴ Linnaeus tried to
debunk some of these creatures, as he had with the hydra; regarding the
purported remains of dragons, Linnaeus wrote that they were either derived
from lizards or rays.¹⁵⁵ For Homo troglodytes he asked the Swedish East
India Company to search for one, but they did not find any signs of its
existence.¹⁵⁶ Homo lar has since been reclassified as Hylobates lar, the
lar gibbon.¹⁵⁷

Four races

See also: Race (human classification)

In the first edition of Systema Naturae, Linnaeus subdivided the human
species into four varieties based on continent and skin colour: "Europæus
albus" (white European), "Americanus rubescens" (red American), "Asiaticus
fuscus" (brown Asian) and "Africanus niger" (black African). In the tenth
edition of Systema Naturae he further detailed stereotypical
characteristics for each variety, based on the concept of the four
temperaments from classical antiquity, and changed the description of
Asians' skin tone to "luridus" (yellow).¹⁵⁸ ¹⁵⁹ ¹⁶⁰ ¹⁶¹ ¹⁶² Additionally,
Linnaeus created a wastebasket taxon "monstrosus" for "wild and monstrous
humans, unknown groups, and more or less abnormal people".¹⁶³


Main article: Commemoration of Carl Linnaeus

Anniversaries of Linnaeus' birth, especially in centennial years, have been
marked by major celebrations.¹⁶⁴ Linnaeus has appeared on numerous Swedish
postage stamps and banknotes.¹⁶⁴ There are numerous statues of Linnaeus in
countries around the world. The Linnean Society of London has awarded the
Linnean Medal for excellence in botany or zoology since 1888. Following
approval by the Parliament of Sweden, Växjö University and Kalmar College
merged on 1 January 2010 to become Linnaeus University.¹⁶⁵ Other things
named after Linnaeus include the twinflower genus Linnaea, the crater Linné
on the Earth's moon and the cobalt sulfide mineral Linnaeite.

Commentary on Linnaeus

Andrew Dickson White wrote in A History of the Warfare of Science with
Theology in Christendom (1896):

  Linnaeus ... was the most eminent naturalist of his time, a wide
  observer, a close thinker; but the atmosphere in which he lived and moved
  and had his being was saturated with biblical theology, and this
  permeated all his thinking. ... Toward the end of his life he timidly
  advanced the hypothesis that all the species of one genus constituted at
  the creation one species; and from the last edition of his Systema Naturæ
  he quietly left out the strongly orthodox statement of the fixity of each
  species, which he had insisted upon in his earlier works. ... warnings
  came speedily both from the Catholic and Protestant sides.¹⁶⁶

The mathematical PageRank algorithm, applied to 24 multilingual Wikipedia
editions in 2014, places Carl Linnaeus at the first position among top 100
historical figures.



Linnaeus marble by Léon-Joseph Chavalliaud (1899), outside the Palm House
  at Sefton Park, Liverpool

See also

- Johann Bartsch, colleague
- Centuria Insectorum
- History of botany
- History of phycology
- Index cards, which were invented by Linnaeus
- Linnaeus' flower clock
- Scientific revolution


[1] Carl Linnaeus was born in 1707 on 13 May (Swedish Style) or 23 May
  according to the modern calendar. According to the Julian calendar he was
  born 12 May. (Blunt 2004, p. 12)
[2] ICZN Chapter 16, Article - "For a nominal species or
  subspecies established before 2000, any evidence, published or
  unpublished, may be taken into account to determine what specimens
  constitute the type series." and Article 73.1.2 - "If the nominal
  species-group taxon is based on a single specimen, either so stated or
  implied in the original publication, that specimen is the holotype fixed
  by monotypy (see Recommendation 73F). If the taxon was established before
  2000 evidence derived from outside the work itself may be taken into
  account [Art.] to help identify the specimen."
[3] "If this is not Helen's Nepenthes, it certainly will be for all
  botanists. What botanist would not be filled with admiration if, after a
  long journey, he should find this wonderful plant. In his astonishment
  past ills would be forgotten when beholding this admirable work of the
  Creator!" (translated from Latin by Harry Veitch)
[4] The date of issue of both volumes was later, for practical purposes,
  arbitrarily set on 1 May, see Stearn, W.T. (1957), The preparation of the
  Species Plantarum and the introduction of binomial nomenclature, in:
  Species Plantarum, A Facsimile of the first edition, London, Ray Society:
  72 and ICN (Melbourne Code)⁸⁸ Art. 13.4 Note 1: "The two volumes of
  Linnaeus' Species plantarum, ed. 1 (1753), which appeared in May and
  August, 1753, respectively, are treated as having been published
  simultaneously on 1 May 1753."
[5] Frängsmyr et al. (1983), p. 167, quotes Linnaeus explaining the real
  difference would necessarily be absent from his classification system, as
  it was not a morphological characteristic: "I well know what a splendidly
  great difference there is [between] a man and a bestia [literally,
  "beast"; that is, a non-human animal] when I look at them from a point of
  view of morality. Man is the animal which the Creator has seen fit to
  honor with such a magnificent mind and has condescended to adopt as his
  favorite and for which he has prepared a nobler life". See also in which Linnaeus cites the significant capacity to
  reason as the distinguishing characteristic of humans.
[6] Discussion of translation was originally made in this thread on in 2005. For an alternative translation, see Gribbin &
  Gribbin (2008), p. 56, or Slotkin (1965), p. 180.
[7] "antropomorphon" [sic]
[8] Others who followed were more inclined to give humans a special place
  in classification; Johann Friedrich Blumenbach in the first edition of
  his Manual of Natural History (1779), proposed that the primates be
  divided into the Quadrumana (four-handed, i.e. apes and monkeys) and
  Bimana (two-handed, i.e. humans). This distinction was taken up by other
  naturalists, most notably Georges Cuvier. Some elevated the distinction
  to the level of order. However, the many affinities between humans and
  other primates – and especially the great apes – made it clear that the
  distinction made no scientific sense. Charles Darwin wrote, in The
  Descent of Man in 1871:
    The greater number of naturalists who have taken into consideration the
    whole structure of man, including his mental faculties, have followed
    Blumenbach and Cuvier, and have placed man in a separate Order, under
    the title of the Bimana, and therefore on an equality with the orders
    of the Quadrumana, Carnivora, etc. Recently many of our best
    naturalists have recurred to the view first propounded by Linnaeus, so
    remarkable for his sagacity, and have placed man in the same Order with
    the Quadrumana, under the title of the Primates. The justice of this
    conclusion will be admitted: for in the first place, we must bear in
    mind the comparative insignificance for classification of the great
    development of the brain in man, and that the strongly marked
    differences between the skulls of man and the Quadrumana (lately
    insisted upon by Bischoff, Aeby, and others) apparently follow from
    their differently developed brains. In the second place, we must
    remember that nearly all the other and more important differences
    between man and the Quadrumana are manifestly adaptive in their nature,
    and relate chiefly to the erect position of man; such as the structure
    of his hand, foot, and pelvis, the curvature of his spine, and the
    position of his head.
[9] Linnaeus is translated, writing that the satyrus is "hairy, bearded,
  with a manlike body, gesticulating much, very fallacious, is a species of
  monkey, if ever one has been seen."



[1] "Linnaeus" entry in Collins English Dictionary, HarperCollins
  Publishers, 1998.
[2] Blunt (2004), p. 171.
[3] "What people have said about Linnaeus". Linné on line. Uppsala
  University. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
[4] "Linnaeus deceased". Linné on line. Uppsala University. Retrieved 3
  October 2011.
[5] Broberg (2006), p. 7.
[6] "Linnaeus, Carl (1707–1778)". Author Details. International Plant Names
  Index. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
[7] Blunt (2004), p. 12.
[8] Blunt (2004), p. 13.
[9] Stöver (1974), p. 8.
[10] Broberg (2006), p. 10.
[11] Quammen (2007), p. 1.
[12] Blunt (2004), p. 15.
[13] Blunt (2004), pp. 15–16.
[14] Stöver (1974), p. 5.
[15] Blunt (2004), p. 16.
[16] Stöver (1974), pp. 5–6.
[17] Carl von Linnés betydelse såsom naturforskare och läkare : skildringar
  utgifna af Kungl. Vetenskapsakademien i anledning af tvåhundraårsdagen af
  Linnés födelse
[18] Stöver (1974), p. 6.
[19] Blunt (2004), pp. 16–17.
[20] Blunt (2004), pp. 17–18.
[21] Stöver (1974), pp. 8–11.
[22] Blunt (2004), p. 18.
[23] Stöver (1974), p. 13.
[24] Blunt (2004), pp. 21–22.
[25] Stöver (1974), p. 15.
[26] Stöver (1974), pp. 14–15.
[27] Blunt (2004), pp. 23–25.
[28] Blunt (2004), pp. 31–32.
[29] Stöver (1974), pp. 19–20.
[30] Blunt (2004), pp. 32–34.
[31] Blunt (2004), p. 34–37.
[32] Blunt (2001), pp. 36–37.
[33] Anderson (1997), p. 40.
[34] Anderson (1997), pp. 42–43.
[35] Blunt (2001), p. 38.
[36] Blunt (2001), pp. 42–43.
[37] Anderson (1997), pp. 43–44.
[38] Anderson (1997), p. 46.
[39] Blunt (2001), pp. 63–65.
[40] Blunt (2004), pp. 39–42.
[41] Broberg (2006), p. 29.
[42] Quammen (2007), p. 2.
[43] Stöver (1974), pp. 38–39.
[44] Frodin (2001), p. 27.
[45] Blunt (2001), p. 54.
[46] Blunt (2001), p. 74.
[47] Blunt (2001), pp. 78–79.
[48] Stöver (1974), p. 71.
[49] Anderson (1997), pp. 60–61.
[50] Blunt (2004), p. 90.
[51] Blunt (2001), p. 94.
[52] Linnaeus' thesis on the ague (malaria), ©-2008, Uppsala University.
[53] Anderson (1997), p. 66.
[54] Blunt (2004), pp. 98–100.
[55] Blunt (2001), p. 98.
[56] Anderson (1997), pp. 62–63.
[57] Blunt (2004), pp. 100–102.
[58] Anderson (1997), p. 64.
[59] Stöver (1974), pp. 81–82.
[60] Blunt (2001), pp. 106–107.
[61] Stöver (1974), p. 89.
[62] Stöver (1974), pp. 89–90.
[63] Stöver (1974), pp. 90–93.
[64] Stöver (1974), p. 95.
[65] Veitch (1897)
[66] Blunt (2001), p. 123.
[67] Koerner (1999), p. 56.
[68] Louise Petrusson. "Carl Linnaeus". Swedish Museum of Natural History.
  Retrieved 3 April 2010.
[69] Stöver (1974), p. 141.
[70] Stöver (1974), pp. 146–147.
[71] Koerner (1999), p. 16.
[72] Koerner (1999), pp. 103–105.
[73] Stöver (1974), p. 382.
[74] Gribbin & Gribbin (2008), pp. 49–50.
[75] Koerner (1999), p. 115.
[76] Blunt (2004), pp. 137–142.
[77] Stöver (1974), pp. 117–118.
[78] Koerner (1999), p. 204.
[79] Blunt (2004), p. 159.
[80] Blunt (2004), p. 165.
[81] Stöver (1974), p. 167.
[82] Blunt (2004), pp. 198–205.
[83] Koerner (1999), p. 116.
[84] Gribbin & Gribbin (2008), pp. 56–57.
[85] Blunt (2004), pp. 173–174.
[86] Blunt (2004), p. 221.
[87] Stace (1991), p. 24.
[88] McNeill, J.; Barrie, F.R.; Buck, W.R.; Demoulin, V.; Greuter, W.;
  Hawksworth, D.L.; Herendeen, P.S.; Knapp, S.; Marhold, K.; Prado, J.;
  Prud'homme Van Reine, W.F.; Smith, G.F.; Wiersema, J.H.; Turland, N.J.
  (2012). International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants
  (Melbourne Code) adopted by the Eighteenth International Botanical
  Congress Melbourne, Australia, July 2011. Regnum Vegetabile 154. A.R.G.
  Gantner Verlag KG. ISBN 978-3-87429-425-6.
[89] Sprague (1953)
[90] Gribbin & Gribbin (2008), p. 47.
[91] Stöver (1974), pp. 198–199.
[92] Blunt (2004), p. 166.
[93] Blunt (2004), p. 219.
[94] Blunt (2004), pp. 220–224.
[95] Blunt (2004), p. 6.
[96] Blunt (2004), p. 199.
[97] Blunt (2004), pp. 229–230.
[98] Gribbin & Gribbin (2008), p. 62.
[99] Uppsala University, Linné Online, English language version
[100] Soban, Branko. "A Living Bond between Idrija and Uppsala". The
  Slovenian. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
[101] Soban, Branko (January 2005). "A Living Bond between Idrija and
  Uppsala". Slovenija.svet. Slovene Emigrant Association. Retrieved
[102] Scopoli, Giovanni Antonio. Joannes A. Scopoli-Carl Linnaeus.
  Dopisovanje/Correspondence 1760–1775, ed. Darinka Soban. Ljubljana, 2004:
  Slovenian Natural history society.
[103] Blunt (2004), p. 245.
[104] Blunt (2004), p. 232.
[105] Stöver (1974), pp. 243–245.
[106] Broberg (2006), p. 42.
[107] Gribbin & Gribbin (2008), p. 63.
[108] Quammen (2007), p. 4.
[109] Anderson (1997), pp. 104–106.
[110] Blunt (2001), pp. 238–240.
[111] "Linnaeus, Johannes (1754–1757). Swedish. Son of Carl Linnaeus and
  Sara Elisabet Linnaea". The Linnaeus Correspondence. Centre international
  d'étude du XVIIIe siècle. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
[112] Blunt (2004), pp. 189–190.
[113] Broberg (2006), pp. 37–39.
[114] Anderson (1997), pp. 92–93.
[115] Blunt (2004), pp. 184–185.
[116] Blunt (2004), pp. 185–186.
[117] Anderson (1997), pp. 93–94.
[118] Anderson (1997), p. 96.
[119] Blunt (2004), pp. 191–192.
[120] Blunt (2004), pp. 192–193.
[121] Blunt (2004), pp. 193–194.
[122] Linnaeus (1735)
[123] Windelspecht (2002), p. 28.
[124] Stace (1991), p. 22.
[125] Van den Hoek et al. (2005).
[126] Stafleu (1971), p. 157.
[127] Wallin, L. 2001. Catalogue of type specimens. 4. Linnaean specimens.
  - pp. [1], 1-128. Uppsala. (Uppsala University, Museum of Evolution,
  Zoology Section).
[128] Lisbet Koerner, "Carl Linnaeus in his Time and Place," in Cultures of
  Natural History, ed. Nicholas Jardine, James A. Secord, and Emma C. Spary
  (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 145-162.
[129] Dance, S.P. 1967. Report on the Linnaean shell collection. -
  Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London 178 (1): 1-24, Pl. 1-10.
[130] Jackson, B. D. 1923. Linnaeus (afterwards Carl von Linné), the story
  of his life. Adapted from the Swedish of Theodor Magnus Fries. - pp. I-XV
  [= 1-15], 1-416. London. (Witherby).
[131] Examples are evident in the Portland catalogue p. 76 Lot 1715 and p.
  188 Lot 3997. "A catalogue of the Portland Museum, lately the property of
  the Duchess Dowager of Portland, deceased: Which will be sold by auction
  by Mr. Skinner and Co. On Monday the 24th of April, 1786, and the
  thirty-seven following days (...) at her late dwelling-house, in
  Privy-Garden, Whitehall, by order of the Acting Executrix." - pp. i-viii
  [= 1-8], 3-194, pl. [1]. [London]. (Skinner).
[132] Reveal & Pringle (1993), p. 160–161.
[133] Simpson (1961), p. 16–19.
[134] Davis & Heywood (1973), p. 17.
[135] Simpson (1961), p. 56–57.
[136] Koerner (1999), p. 95-96.
[137] Koerner (1999), p. 97.
[138] Frängsmyr et al. (1983), pp. 156–157.
[139] Frängsmyr et al. (1983), p. 170.
[140] Frängsmyr et al. (1983), p. 167.
[141] Johann Georg Gmelin (30 December 1746). "Letter to Carl Linnaeus".
  The Linnean Correspondence. St. Petersburg, Russia. L0759. Retrieved 4
  October 2011.
[142] Carl Linnaeus (25 February 1747). "Letter to Johann Georg Gmelin".
  The Linnean Correspondence. Uppsala, Sweden. L0783. Retrieved 4 October
  2011. Also available as JPG.
[143] Genesis 1:26–1:27
[144] Frängsmyr et al. (1983), pp. 171–172.
[145] Frängsmyr et al. (1983), p. 175.
[146] Blunt (2004), p. 8.
[147] Frängsmyr et al. (1983), pp. 191–192.
[148] Frängsmyr et al. (1983), p. 166.
[149] Linnaeus (1758), p. 24.
[150] Bontius (1658), p. 84.
[151] Linnaeus (1771), p. 521.
[152] Frängsmyr et al. (1983), p. 187.
[153] Linnaeus (1964) (1735), p. 30.
[154] Frängsmyr et al. (1983), pp. 176–177.
[155] Broberg (2008)
[156] Frängsmyr et al. (1983), p. 186.
[157] Wilson & Reeder (2005), p. 179.
[158] Loring Brace (2005), p. 27.
[159] Slotkin (1965), pp. 176–178.
[160] Marks (2010), p. 265.
[161] Keevak (2011), pp. 3–4.
[162] Braziel (2007), pp. 43–44.
[163] Willoughby (2007), pp. 33–34, citing Broberg (1975), p. 291.
[164] Östholm (2007)
[165] "A modern, international university in the Småland region of Sweden".
  Linnaeus University. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
[166] Andrew Dickson White, History of the Warfare of Science with Theology
  in Christendom (1922) Vol.1 pp. 59–61
[167] "Author Query for 'L.'". International Plant Names Index.


- Anderson, Margaret J. (1997). Carl Linnaeus: Father of Classification.
  United States: Enslow Publishers. ISBN 978-0-89490-786-9.
- Blunt, Wilfrid (2001). Linnaeus: the compleat naturalist. London: Frances
  Lincoln. ISBN 978-0-7112-1841-3.
- Blunt, Wilfrid (2004). Linnaeus: the compleat naturalist. London: Frances
  Lincoln. ISBN 978-0-7112-2362-2.
- Bontius, J. (1658). "Historiae naturalis & medicae Indiae Orientalis
  libri sex". In Gulielmo Piso. De Indiæ Utriusque re naturali et medica
  libri quatuordecim. Quorum contenta pagina sequens exhibet. Amsterdam:
  Elzevier. pp. 1–226.
- Braziel, Jana Evans (2007). "Genre, race, erasure: a genealogical
  critique of "American" autobiography". In Joseph A. Young & Jana Evans
  Braziel. Erasing Public Memory: Race, Aesthetics, and Cultural Amnesia in
  the Americas. Mercer University Press. pp. 35–70. ISBN 978-0-88146-076-6.
- Broberg, G. (1975). Homo sapiens L. studien: Carl von Linné
  naturuppfattning och människolära. Uppsala: Almquist and Wiksell.
- Broberg, Gunnar (2008). "The Dragonslayer". Tijdschrift voor
  Skandinavistiek 29 (1–2): 29–43.
- Broberg, Gunnar (2006). Carl Linnaeus. Stockholm: Swedish Institute. ISBN
- Davis, P. H.; Heywood, V. H. (1973). Principles of Angiosperm Taxonomy.
  Huntington, New York: Robert E. Krieger Publishing Company.
- Frängsmyr, Tore; Lindroth, Sten; Eriksson, Gunnar; Broberg, Gunnar
  (1983). Linnaeus, the man and his work. Berkeley and Los Angeles:
  University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-7112-1841-3.
- Frodin, D. G. (2001). "The evolution of floras". Guide to Standard Floras
  of the World: an Annotated, Geographically Arranged Systematic
  Bibliography of the Principal Floras, Enumerations, Checklists, and
  Chorological Atlases of Different Areas (2nd ed.). Cambridge University
  Press. pp. 24–51. ISBN 978-0-521-79077-2.
- Gribbin, Mary; Gribbin, John (2008). Flower Hunters. Oxford: Oxford
  University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-956182-7.
- Keevak, Michael (2011). Becoming Yellow: A Short History of Racial
  Thinking. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-14031-5.
- Koerner, Lisbet (1999). Linnaeus: Nature and Nation. Harvard: Harvard
  University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-09745-2.
- Linnaeus, Carolus (1735). Systema naturae, sive regna tria naturae
  systematice proposita per classes, ordines, genera, & species. Leiden:
  Haak. pp. 1–12.
- Linnaeus, Carolus; Hendrik Engel & Maria Sara Johanna Engel-Ledeboer
  (1964) [1735]. Systema Naturae (facsimile of the 1st ed.). Nieuwkoop,
  Netherlands: B. de Graaf. OCLC 460298195.
- Linnaeus, Carolus (1758). Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum
  classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis,
  synonymis, locis 1 (10th ed.). Stockholm: Laurentius Salvius. pp. [1–4],
- Linnaeus, Carolus (1771). Mantissa plantarum altera generum editionis VI
  et specierum editionis II. Stockholm: Laurentius Salvius. pp. [1–7],
- Loring Brace, C. (2005). "Race" is a Four Letter Word. The Genesis of the
  Concept. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-517351-2.
- Marks, Jonathan (2010). "Ten facts about human variation". In
  Muehlenbein, Michael. Human Evolutionary Biology. Cambridge University
  Press. pp. 265–276. ISBN 978-0-521-87948-4.
- Östholm, Hanna (2007). "Making memorials: early celebrations of Linnaeus"
  (PDF). In Mary J. Morris and Leonie Berwick. "The Linnaean Legacy: Three
  Centuries after his Birth". The Linnean (Newsletter and Proceedings of
  the Linnean Society of London). Special Issue No. 8: 35–44.
- Quammen, David (June 2007). "The Name Giver". National Geographic.
  Retrieved 3 April 2010.
- Reveal, James L.; Pringle, James S. (1993). "7. Taxonomic Botany and
  Floristics"". Flora of North America 1. New York & Oxford: Oxford
  University Press. ISBN 0-19-505713-9.
- Simpson, George Gaylord (1961). Principles of Animal Taxonomy. New York &
  London: Columbia University Press.
- Slotkin, J. S. (1965). "The Eighteenth Century". Readings in early
  Anthropology. Methuen Publishing. pp. 175–243.
- Sprague, T. A. (1953). "Linnaeus as a nomenclaturist". Taxon 2 (3):
  40–46. doi:10.2307/1217339. JSTOR 1217339.
- Stace, Clive A. (1991). Plant Taxonomy and Biosystematics (2nd ed.).
  Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-42785-2.
- Stafleu, Frans A. (1971). Linnaeus and the Linnaeans: the Spreading of
  their Ideas in Systematic Botany, 1735–1789. Utrecht: International
  Association for Plant Taxonomy. ISBN 978-90-6046-064-1.
- Stearn, W. T. (1959). "The Background of Linnaeus' Contributions to the
  Nomenclature and Methods of Systematic Biology". Systematic Zoology 8
  (1): 4–22. doi:10.2307/2411603.
- Stöver, Dietrich Johann Heinrich (1794). Joseph Trapp, ed. The life of
  Sir Charles Linnæus. London: Library of Congress. ISBN 978-0-19-850122-0.
- Van den Hoek, C., D. G. Mann & H. M. Jahns (2005). Algae: An Introduction
  to Phycology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN
- Veitch, H. J. (1897). "Nepenthes". Journal of the Royal Horticultural
  Society 21 (2): 226–262.
- Willoughby, Pamela (2007). The Evolution of Modern Humans in Africa: a
  Comprehensive Guide. AltaMira Press. ISBN 978-0-7591-0119-7.
- Wilson, Don E.; DeeAnn M. Reeder (2005). Mammal Species of the World: A
  Taxonomic and Geographic Reference 1 (3rd ed.). JHU Press. ISBN
- Windelspecht, Michael (2002). Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments,
  Inventions, and Discoveries of the 17th century. Greenwood Publishing
  Group. ISBN 978-0-313-31501-5.

Further reading

- C. L. Brightwell (1858). A Life of Linnaeus. London: J. Van Voorst.
- Lys de Bray (2001). The Art of Botanical Illustration: A history of
  classic illustrators and their achievements. London: Quantum Publishing
  Ltd. pp. 62–71. ISBN 978-1-86160-425-5.
- Edmund Otis Hovey (1908). The Bicentenary of the Birth of Carolus
  Linnaeus. New York: New York Academy of Sciences.
- Sverker Sörlin & Otto Fagerstedt (2004). Linné och hans apostlar (in
  Swedish). Stockholm: Natur och kultur/Fakta. ISBN 978-91-27-35590-3.
- J. L. P. M. Krol (1982). "Linnaeus' verblijf op de Hartekamp". Het
  Landgoed de Hartekamp in Heemstede (in Dutch). Heemstede. ISBN
- Lars Hansen, ed. (2007–2011). The Linnaeus Apostles – Global Science &
  Adventure. 8 vols. 11 books. London & Whitby: The IK Foundation &
  Company. ISBN 978-1-904145-26-4.

External links

- Biography at the Department of Systematic Botany, University of Uppsala
- Biography at The Linnean Society of London
- Biography from the University of California Museum of Paleontology
- A four-minute biographical video from the London Natural History Museum
  on YouTube
- Biography from Taxonomic Literature, 2nd Edition. 1976–2009.
- Works by Carl von Linné at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Carl Linnaeus at Internet Archive
- The Linnaeus Apostles
- The Linnean Collections
- The Linnean Correspondence
- Linnaeus' Disciples and Apostles
- The Linnaean Dissertations
- Linnean Herbarium
- The Linnæus Tercentenary
- Works by Carl von Linné at the Biodiversity Heritage Library
- Digital edition: "Critica botanica" by the University and State Library
- Digital edition: "Classes plantarum seu systemata plantarum" by the
  University and State Library Düsseldorf
- Linnaeus was depicted by Jay Hosler in a parody of Peanuts titled "Good
  ol' Charlie Darwin".
- The 15 March 2007 issue of Nature featured a picture of Linnaeus on the
  cover with the heading "Linnaeus's Legacy" and devoted a substantial
  portion to items related to Linnaeus and Linnaean taxonomy.
- A tattoo of Linnaeus' definition of the order Primates mentioned by Carl
- Ginkgo biloba tree at the University of Harderwijk, said to have been
  planted by Linnaeus in 1735

Carolina Reaper

The Carolina Reaper is a cultivar of chili pepper of the Capsicum chinense
species, originally named the "HP22B", bred by Ed Currie, who runs
PuckerButt Pepper Company in Fort Mill, South Carolina, United States. As
of 2014, it is the world's most piquant pepper.

The original crossbred was between a red naga pepper and a Red Savina
pepper.¹ The "Carolina Reaper" was rated as the world's hottest chili
pepper by Guinness World Records from 2012 to 2014.² It averages a
1,569,300 on the Scoville scale with peak levels of over 2,200,000 Scoville
Heat Units (SHU).

The previous world record-holder for peppers was the Trinidad Scorpion
Butch T pepper.³

See also

- List of Capsicum cultivars


[1] "PuckerButt Pepper Company Web site home page". Retrieved February 2,
[2] "Hottest chili". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
[3] ABC News: What Happens When You Eat a 'Carolina Reaper,' One of the
  World's Hottest Peppers, 1 November 2013

External links

- "World's hottest pepper is grown in South Carolina"
- "World's hottest pepper hits 2.2 million Scoville heat units"

Cascabel chili

The cascabel chili (little bell), also known as the rattle chili, is one of
the Mirasol cultivars of the species Capsicum annuum. The 'rattle' and
'bell' designations describe the tendency of loose seeds to rattle inside a
dried cascabel when shaken.¹ Fresh cascabel, which is 2-3 cm in diameter,
is also known by the alias bola chili or chile bola (Spanish for ball
chili). The pigmentation of the fresh chilis blends from green to red; when
dried, the color darkens.

Farmers cultivate cascabel in several states throughout Mexico, including
Coahuila, Durango, Guerrero, and Jalisco.²

See also

- List of Capsicum cultivars


[1] "Cascabel chile pepper database". Retrieved
[2] "Cascabel Chiles". Retrieved 2012-10-12.

Cayenne pepper

The cayenne pepper, also known as the Guinea spice,¹ cow-horn pepper,
aleva, bird pepper,² or, especially in its powdered form, red pepper, is a
cultivar of Capsicum annuum related to bell peppers, jalapeños, paprika,
and others. The Capsicum genus is in the nightshade family (Solanaceae). It
is a hot chili pepper used to flavor dishes. It is named for the city of
Cayenne in French Guiana.

The fruits are generally dried and ground, or pulped and baked into cakes,
which are then ground and sifted to make the powdered spice of the same

Cayenne is used in cooking spicy dishes, as a powder or in its whole form
(such as in Korean, Sichuan, and other Asian cuisine), or in a thin,
vinegar-based sauce. It is generally rated at 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville
units. It is also used as an herbal supplement, and was mentioned by
Nicholas Culpeper in his Complete Herbal, 1653, as "guinea pepper",³ a
misnomer for "guiana pepper".¹


Most cultivated varieties of cayenne, Capsicum annuum, can be grown in a
variety of locations and need around 100 days to mature. Peppers prefer
warm, moist, nutrient-rich soil in a warm climate. The plants grow to about
0.5–1 m (20–39 in) long in height and should be spaced 1 m (3 ft 3 in)
apart.⁴ In gardens, the plants may be planted as close as 30 cm (1 ft) long
apart in a raised bed. This may reduce the yield of an individual plant,
but will increase yields per unit area.

Chilis are mostly perennial in subtropical and tropical regions; however,
they are usually grown as annuals in temperate climates. They can be
overwintered if protected from frost, and require some pruning.⁵


Cayenne pepper, by weight, is relatively high in vitamin A. It also
contains vitamin B₆, vitamin E, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, and
manganese.⁶ However, given the very small amount of cayenne pepper
typically consumed in a serving, it makes a negligible contribution to
overall dietary intake of these nutrients.

Cayenne pepper consumption dilates the blood vessels and speeds the
metabolism due to the high amounts of capsaicin. With the consumption of
cayenne peppers, the amount of heat the human body puts off is influenced.
In animal studies, capsaicin has the ability to boost metabolism, which in
turn causes weight loss. This increases circulation and blood flow to all
major organs which facilitates oxygen and nutrient delivery. Cayenne pepper
may support a healthy energy balance⁷ while suppressing appetite. Capsaicin
has been shown to increase energy expenditure, so acts as a metabolism
booster and is beneficial in long-term weight loss.⁸ A correlation has been
shown between substrate oxidation and capsaicin. Capsaicin treatment
sustained fat oxidation during weight maintenance, but did not affect on
weight regain after modest weight loss. ⁹

Cayenne pepper is also claimed to be an aphrodisiac because it contains
capsaicin. It has also been shown to aid in the oxidation of adipose
tissue,¹⁰ regulate high blood pressure, promote healthy liver function and
tissue production, help regulate the digestive system, and promote healthy
mucus production in the membranes that line internal organs.

In cuisine

Cayenne is a popular spice in a variety of cuisines. It is employed
variously in its fresh form, dried and powdered, and as dried flakes. It is
also a key ingredient in a variety of hot sauces, particularly those
employing vinegar as a preservative. Cayenne pepper is often spread on
sandwiches or similar items to add a spicy flavor. Buffalo wing sauce often
contains cayenne.

In beverages

Beverage foods are emerging with cayenne extract as an active ingredient.¹¹
¹² One example is Bonavitas cayenne pepper energy drinks.¹³

See also

- List of Capsicum cultivars
- Chili pepper
- Sialagogue


[1] Culpeper, Nicholas (1814) [1653]. "Guinea Pepper". Culpeper's Complete
  Herbal. David Hand (Web publication). Retrieved 13 July 2011.
[2] Therapeutic Research Faculty (2009). "Capiscum". Natural Medicines
  Comprehensive Database (Consumer Version). WebMD. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
[3] The pepper from Guinea is Aframomum melegueta, "Malagueta pepper".
[4] Brown, Ellen (27 April 2006). "Growing: Cayenne".
  Retrieved 13 July 2011.
[5] South Devon Chilli Farm (2010). "Chilli Seed Propagation and Plant
  Care". South Devon Chilli Farm. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
[6] "Nutrition Facts: Spices, pepper, red or cayenne". Nutrition Data.
  Condé Nast Digital. 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
[7] Westerterp-Plantenga, MS; Reinbach, HC; Smeets, A; Martinussen, T;
  Møller, P (June 2009). "Effects of capsaicin, green tea and CH-19 sweet
  pepper on appetite and energy intake in humans in negative and positive
  energy balance.". Clinical Nutrition 28 (3).
[8] Diepvens, K; Westerterp K; Westerterp-Plantenga M. "Obesity and
  thermogenesis related to the consumption of caffeine, ephedrine,
  capsaicin, and green tea". The American Journal of Psychology 292: 77–85.
[9] Lejeune, M; Kovacs E; Westerterp-Plantegna M (2003). "Effect of
  capsaicin on substrate oxidation and weight maintenance after modest
  body-weight loss in human subjects". British Journal of Nutrition 90:
  651–659. doi:10.1079/bjn2003938.
[10] Takahashi, M; Snitker, S; Fujishima, Y; Ott, S; Pi-Sunyer, X;
  Furuhata, Y; Sato, H (Jan 2009). "Effects Of Novel Capsinoid Treatment On
  Fatness And Energy Metabolism In Humans: Possible Pharmacogenetic
  Implications.". American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition. 1 89.
[11] Latif, Ray (30 May 2011). "Extreme and Edgy Flavors". Beverage
  Spectrum Magazine (Bevnet). Retrieved 13 July 2011.
[12] Stanton Lee, Kendra (March 2011). "Slimming Prospects". Beverage
  Spectrum Magazine (Bevnet). Retrieved 13 July 2011.
[13] "Bonavitas Cayenne Pepper Energy Drink". PRWeb (USA). 30 June 2011.

Further reading

- Nutrient Data Laboratory et al. "99369: Peppers, cayenne, raw (Capsicum
  annuum)". USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods (2.1
  ed.). p. 68 (PDF p. 3). Retrieved 13 July 2011.

External links

- How spicy foods can kill cancers – BBC News


For other uses, see Chile (disambiguation).

Chile (ⁱ/ˈtʃileɪ/ or /ˈtʃɪli/⁷ ), officially the Republic of Chile
(Spanish: República de Chile, [reˈpuβlika ðe ˈtʃile] ( )), is a South
American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes
mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to
the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake
Passage in the far south. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of
Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania.
Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of
Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.

Chile's northern desert contains great mineral wealth, principally copper.
The relatively small central area dominates in terms of population and
agricultural resources, and is the cultural and political center from which
Chile expanded in the late 19th century when it incorporated its northern
and southern regions. Southern Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands,
and features a string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a
labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands.⁸

Spain conquered and colonised Chile in the mid-16th century, replacing Inca
rule in northern and central Chile, but failing to conquer the independent
Mapuche that inhabited south-central Chile. After declaring its
independence from Spain in 1818, Chile emerged in the 1830s as a relatively
stable authoritarian republic. In the 19th century, Chile saw significant
economic and territorial growth, ending Mapuche resistance in the 1880s and
gaining its current northern territory in the War of the Pacific (1879–83)
after defeating Peru and Bolivia.⁹ In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the
country experienced severe left-right political polarization and turmoil.
This development culminated with the 1973 Chilean coup d'état that
overthrew Salvador Allende's left-wing government and instituted a
16-year-long right-wing military dictatorship that left more than 3,000
people dead or missing.¹⁰ The regime headed by Augusto Pinochet ended in
1990 after it lost a referendum in 1988 and was succeeded by a centre-left
coalition which ruled through four presidencies until 2010.

Chile is today one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations.¹⁰
It leads Latin American nations in rankings of human development,
competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, state of peace, economic
freedom, and low perception of corruption.¹¹ It also ranks high regionally
in sustainability of the state, and democratic development.¹² Chile is a
founding member of the United Nations, the Union of South American Nations
and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.


There are various theories about the origin of the word Chile. According to
17th-century Spanish chronicler Diego de Rosales,¹³ the Incas called the
valley of the Aconcagua "Chili" by corruption of the name of a Picunche
tribal chief ("cacique") called Tili, who ruled the area at the time of the
Incan conquest in the 15th century.¹⁴ ¹⁵ Another theory points to the
similarity of the valley of the Aconcagua with that of the Casma Valley in
Peru, where there was a town and valley named Chili.¹⁵

Other theories say Chile may derive its name from a Native American word
meaning either "ends of the earth" or "sea gulls";¹⁶ from the Mapuche word
chilli, which may mean "where the land ends;"¹⁷ or from the Quechua chiri,
"cold",¹⁸ or tchili, meaning either "snow"¹⁸ ¹⁹ or "the deepest point of
the Earth".²⁰ Another origin attributed to chilli is the onomatopoeic
cheele-cheele—the Mapuche imitation of the warble of a bird locally known
as trile.¹⁷ ²¹

The Spanish conquistadors heard about this name from the Incas, and the few
survivors of Diego de Almagro's first Spanish expedition south from Peru in
1535–36 called themselves the "men of Chilli".¹⁷ Ultimately, Almagro is
credited with the universalization of the name Chile, after naming the
Mapocho valley as such.¹⁵ The older spelling "Chili" was in use in English
until at least 1900 before switching over to "Chile".²²


Main article: History of Chile

Early history

About 10,000 years ago, migrating Native Americans settled in fertile
valleys and coastal areas of what is present-day Chile. Settlement sites
from very early human habitation include Monte Verde, Cueva del Milodon and
the Pali Aike Crater's lava tube. The Incas briefly extended their empire
into what is now northern Chile, but the Mapuche (or Araucanians as they
were known by the Spaniards) successfully resisted many attempts by the
Inca Empire to subjugate them, despite their lack of state organization.²³
They fought against the Sapa Inca Tupac Yupanqui and his army. The result
of the bloody three-day confrontation known as the Battle of the Maule was
that the Inca conquest of the territories of Chile ended at the Maule

Spanish colonization

Main articles: Conquest of Chile and Colonial Chile

In 1520, while attempting to circumnavigate the globe, Ferdinand Magellan
discovered the southern passage now named after him, the Strait of
Magellan, thus becoming the first European to set foot on what is now
Chile. The next Europeans to reach Chile were Diego de Almagro and his band
of Spanish conquistadors, who came from Peru in 1535 seeking gold. The
Spanish encountered various cultures that supported themselves principally
through slash-and-burn agriculture and hunting.²⁴

The conquest of Chile began in earnest in 1540 and was carried out by Pedro
de Valdivia, one of Francisco Pizarro's lieutenants, who founded the city
of Santiago on 12 February 1541. Although the Spanish did not find the
extensive gold and silver they sought, they recognized the agricultural
potential of Chile's central valley, and Chile became part of the Spanish

Conquest took place gradually, and the Europeans suffered repeated
setbacks. A massive Mapuche insurrection that began in 1553 resulted in
Valdivia's death and the destruction of many of the colony's principal
settlements. Subsequent major insurrections took place in 1598 and in 1655.
Each time the Mapuche and other native groups revolted, the southern border
of the colony was driven northward. The abolition of slavery by the Spanish
crown in 1683 was done in recognition that enslaving the Mapuche
intensified resistance rather than cowing them into submission. Despite
royal prohibitions, relations remained strained from continual colonialist

Cut off to the north by desert, to the south by the Mapuche, to the east by
the Andes Mountains, and to the west by the ocean, Chile became one of the
most centralized, homogeneous colonies in Spanish America. Serving as a
sort of frontier garrison, the colony found itself with the mission of
forestalling encroachment by both the Mapuche and Spain's European enemies,
especially the British and the Dutch. Buccaneers and English adventurers
menaced the colony in addition to the Mapuche, as was shown by Sir Francis
Drake's 1578 raid on Valparaíso, the colony's principal port. Chile hosted
one of the largest standing armies in the Americas, making it one of the
most militarized of the Spanish possessions, as well as a drain on the
treasury of the Viceroyalty of Peru.¹⁷

The first general census was conducted by the government of Agustín de
Jáuregui between 1777 and 1778; it indicated that the population consisted
of 259,646 inhabitants: 73.5 percent of European descent, 7.9 percent
mestizos, 8.6 percent indigenous peoples and 9.8 percent blacks. Francisco
Hurtado, Governor of the province of Chiloé, conducted a census in 1784 and
found the population consisted of 26,703 inhabitants, 64.4 percent of which
were whites and 33.5 percent of which were natives.

The Diocese of Concepción conducted a census in areas south of the Maule
river in 1812, but did not include the indigenous population or the
inhabitants of the province of Chiloé. The population is estimated at
210,567, 86.1 percent of which were Spanish or of European descent, 10
percent of which were indigenous and 3.7 percent of which were mestizos,
blacks and mulattos.²⁶

Independence and nation building

See also: Argentine–Chilean naval arms race

In 1808, Napoleon's enthronement of his brother Joseph as the Spanish King
precipitated the drive by the colony for independence from Spain. A
national junta in the name of Ferdinand – heir to the deposed king – was
formed on 18 September 1810. The Government Junta of Chile proclaimed Chile
an autonomous republic within the Spanish monarchy (in memory of this day
Chile celebrates its National Day on 18 September each year).

After these events, a movement for total independence, under the command of
José Miguel Carrera (one of the most renowned patriots) and his two
brothers Juan José and Luis Carrera, soon gained a wider following. Spanish
attempts to re-impose arbitrary rule during what was called the Reconquista
led to a prolonged struggle, including infighting from Bernardo O'Higgins,
who challenged Carrera's leadership.

Intermittent warfare continued until 1817. With Carrera in prison in
Argentina, O'Higgins and anti-Carrera cohort José de San Martín, hero of
the Argentine War of Independence, led an army that crossed the Andes into
Chile and defeated the royalists. On 12 February 1818 Chile was proclaimed
an independent republic. The political revolt brought little social change,
however, and 19th-century Chilean society preserved the essence of the
stratified colonial social structure, which was greatly influenced by
family politics and the Roman Catholic Church. A strong presidency
eventually emerged, but wealthy landowners remained powerful.²⁴

Chile slowly started to expand its influence and to establish its borders.
By the Tantauco Treaty, the archipelago of Chiloé was incorporated in 1826.
The economy began to boom due to the discovery of silver ore in
Chañarcillo, and the growing trade of the port of Valparaíso, which led to
conflict over maritime supremacy in the Pacific with Peru. At the same
time, attempts were made to strengthen sovereignty in southern Chile
intensifying penetration into Araucanía and colonizing Llanquihue with
German immigrants in 1848. Through the founding of Fort Bulnes by the
Schooner Ancud under the command of John William Wilson, the Magallanes
region joined the country in 1843, while the Antofagasta area, at the time
part of, Bolivia, began to fill with people.

Toward the end of the 19th century, the government in Santiago consolidated
its position in the south by the Occupation of Araucanía. The Boundary
treaty of 1881 between Chile and Argentina confirmed Chilean sovereignty
over the Strait of Magellan. As a result of the War of the Pacific with
Peru and Bolivia (1879–83), Chile expanded its territory northward by
almost one-third, eliminating Bolivia's access to the Pacific, and acquired
valuable nitrate deposits, the exploitation of which led to an era of
national affluence.

The 1891 Chilean Civil War brought about a redistribution of power between
the President and Congress, and Chile established a parliamentary style
democracy. However, the Civil War had also been a contest between those who
favored the development of local industries and powerful Chilean banking
interests, particularly the House of Edwards who had strong ties to foreign
investors. Soon after, the country engaged in a vastly expensive naval arms
race with Argentina that nearly led to a war.

20th century

See also: South American dreadnought race

The Chilean economy partially degenerated into a system protecting the
interests of a ruling oligarchy. By the 1920s, the emerging middle and
working classes were powerful enough to elect a reformist president, Arturo
Alessandri, whose program was frustrated by a conservative congress. In the
1920s, Marxist groups with strong popular support arose.²⁴

A military coup led by General Luis Altamirano in 1924 set off a period of
political instability that lasted until 1932. Of the ten governments that
held power in that period, the longest lasting was that of General Carlos
Ibáñez del Campo, who briefly held power in 1925 and then again between
1927 and 1931 in what was a de facto dictatorship (although not really
comparable in harshness or corruption to the type of military dictatorship
that has often bedeviled the rest of Latin America).²⁷ ²⁸

By relinquishing power to a democratically elected successor, Ibáñez del
Campo retained the respect of a large enough segment of the population to
remain a viable politician for more than thirty years, in spite of the
vague and shifting nature of his ideology. When constitutional rule was
restored in 1932, a strong middle-class party, the Radicals, emerged. It
became the key force in coalition governments for the next 20 years. During
the period of Radical Party dominance (1932–52), the state increased its
role in the economy. In 1952, voters returned Ibáñez del Campo to office
for another six years. Jorge Alessandri succeeded Ibáñez del Campo in 1958,
bringing Chilean conservatism back into power democratically for another

The 1964 presidential election of Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Montalva
by an absolute majority initiated a period of major reform. Under the
slogan "Revolution in Liberty", the Frei administration embarked on
far-reaching social and economic programs, particularly in education,
housing, and agrarian reform, including rural unionization of agricultural
workers. By 1967, however, Frei encountered increasing opposition from
leftists, who charged that his reforms were inadequate, and from
conservatives, who found them excessive. At the end of his term, Frei had
not fully achieved his party's ambitious goals.²⁴

In the 1970 election, Senator Salvador Allende of the Socialist Party of
Chile (then part of the "Popular Unity" coalition which included the
Communists, Radicals, Social-Democrats, dissident Christian Democrats, the
Popular Unitary Action Movement, and the Independent Popular Action),²⁴
achieved a partial majority in a plurality of votes in a three-way contest,
followed by candidates Radomiro Tomic for the Christian Democrat Party and
Jorge Alessandri for the Conservative Party. Allende was not elected with
an absolute majority, receiving fewer than 35 percent of votes.

The Chilean Congress conducted a runoff vote between the leading
candidates, Allende and former president Jorge Alessandri and keeping with
tradition, chose Allende by a vote of 153 to 35. Frei refused to form an
alliance with Alessandri to oppose Allende, on the grounds that the
Christian Democrats were a workers party and could not make common cause
with the right-wing.²⁹ ³⁰

An economic depression that began in 1972 was exacerbated by capital
flight, plummeting private investment, and withdrawal of bank deposits in
response to Allende's socialist program. Production fell and unemployment
rose. Allende adopted measures including price freezes, wage increases, and
tax reforms, to increase consumer spending and redistribute income
downward.³¹ Joint public-private public works projects helped reduce
unemployment.³² Much of the banking sector was nationalized. Many
enterprises within the copper, coal, iron, nitrate, and steel industries
were expropriated, nationalized, or subjected to state intervention.
Industrial output increased sharply and unemployment fell during the
Allende administration's first year.³²

Allende's program included advancement of workers' interests,³² ³³
replacing the judicial system with "socialist legality",³⁴ nationalization
of banks and forcing others to bankruptcy,³⁴ and strengthening "popular
militias" known as MIR.³⁴ Started under former President Frei, the Popular
Unity platform also called for nationalization of Chile's major copper
mines in the form of a constitutional amendment. The measure was passed
unanimously by Congress.

As a result,³⁵ the Richard Nixon administration organized and inserted
secret operatives in Chile, in order to swiftly destabilize Allende's
government.³⁶ In addition, US financial pressure restricted international
economic credit to Chile.³⁷

The economic problems were also exacerbated by Allende's public spending
which was financed mostly by printing money and poor credit ratings given
by commercial banks.³⁸ Simultaneously, opposition media, politicians,
business guilds and other organizations helped to accelerate a campaign of
domestic political and economical destabilization, some of which was backed
by the United States.³⁷ ³⁹ By early 1973, inflation was out of control. The
crippled economy was further battered by prolonged and sometimes
simultaneous strikes by physicians, teachers, students, truck owners,
copper workers, and the small business class. On 26 May 1973, Chile's
Supreme Court, which was opposed to Allende's government, unanimously
denounced the Allende disruption of the legality of the nation. Although
illegal under the Chilean constitution, the court supported and
strengthened Pinochet's seizure of power.³⁴ ⁴⁰

Pinochet Era (1973–1990)

Main article: Military government of Chile (1973–1990)

A military coup overthrew Allende on 11 September 1973. As the armed forces
bombarded the presidential palace, Allende apparently committed suicide.⁴¹
⁴² After the coup, Henry Kissinger told U.S. president Richard Nixon that
the United States had "helped" the coup.⁴³

A military junta, led by General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, took control of
the country. The first years of the regime were marked by human rights
violations. On October 1973, at least 72 people were murdered by the
Caravan of Death.⁴⁴ According to the Rettig Report and Valech Commission,
at least 2,115 were killed,⁴⁵ and at least 27,265⁴⁶ were tortured
(including 88 children younger than 12 years old).⁴⁶ At the national
stadium, filled with detainees, one of those tortured and killed was
internationally known poet-singer Victor Jara (see "Music and Dance",
below). The stadium was renamed for Jara in 2003. In September 2013, Pedro
Barrientos, Pinochet's commander at the stadium and now a resident of
Florida, was sued in a United States federal court by the Center for
Justice and Accountability, on behalf of Jara's widow and children.

A new Constitution was approved by a controversial plebiscite on 11
September 1980, and General Pinochet became president of the republic for
an 8-year term. After Pinochet obtained rule of the country, several
hundred committed Chilean revolutionaries joined the Sandinista army in
Nicaragua, guerrilla forces in Argentina or training camps in Cuba, Eastern
Europe and Northern Africa.⁴⁷

In the late 1980s, largely as a result of events such as the 1982 economic
collapse⁴⁸ and mass civil resistance in 1983–88, the government gradually
permitted greater freedom of assembly, speech, and association, to include
trade union and political activity.⁴⁹ The government launched
market-oriented reforms with Hernán Büchi as Minister of Finance. Chile
moved toward a free market economy that saw an increase in domestic and
foreign private investment, although the copper industry and other
important mineral resources were not opened for competition. In a
plebiscite on 5 October 1988, General Pinochet was denied a second 8-year
term as president (56% against 44%). Chileans elected a new president and
the majority of members of a two-chamber congress on 14 December 1989.
Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin, the candidate of a coalition of 17
political parties called the Concertación, received an absolute majority of
votes (55%).⁵⁰ President Aylwin served from 1990 to 1994, in what was
considered a transition period.

In December 1993, Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, the son of
previous president Eduardo Frei Montalva, led the Concertación coalition to
victory with an absolute majority of votes (58%).⁵¹

21st century

See also: 2010 Chile earthquake and 2011–2012 Chilean protests

Frei Ruiz-Tagle was succeeded in 2000 by Socialist Ricardo Lagos, who won
the presidency in an unprecedented runoff election against Joaquín Lavín of
the rightist Alliance for Chile.⁵² In January 2006, Chileans elected their
first female president, Michelle Bachelet Jeria, of the Socialist Party,
defeating Sebastián Piñera, of the National Renewal party, extending the
Concertación governance for another four years.⁵³ ⁵⁴ In January 2010,
Chileans elected Sebastián Piñera as the first rightist President in 20
years, defeating former President Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle of the
Concertación, for a four-year term succeeding Bachelet.

On 27 February 2010, Chile was struck by an 8.8 MW earthquake, the fifth
largest ever recorded at the time. More than 500 people died (most from the
ensuing tsunami) and over a million people lost their homes. The earthquake
was also followed by multiple aftershocks.⁵⁵ Initial damage estimates were
in the range of US$15–30 billion, around 10 to 15 percent of Chile's real
gross domestic product.⁵⁶

Chile achieved global recognition for the successful rescue of 33 trapped
miners in 2010. On 5 August 2010 the access tunnel collapsed at the San
Jose copper and gold mine in the Atacama Desert near Copiapó in northern
Chile, trapping 33 men 700 metres (2,300 ft) below ground. A rescue effort
organized by the Chilean government located the miners 17 days later. All
33 men were brought to the surface on 13 October 2010 over a period of
almost 24 hours, an effort that was carried on live television around the

Geography, climate, and environment

Main article: Geography of Chile
See also: Environmental issues in Chile

A long and narrow coastal Southern Cone country on the west side of the
Andes Mountains, Chile stretches over 4,300 km (2,670 mi) north to south,
but only 350 km (217 mi) at its widest point east to west.⁵⁸ This
encompasses a remarkable variety of climates and landscapes. It contains
756,950 square kilometres (292,260 sq mi) of land area. It is situated
within the Pacific Ring of Fire. Including its offshore islands, but
excluding its Antarctic claim, Chile lies between latitudes 17° and 56°S,
and longitudes 66° and 81°W.

Chile is among the longest north-south countries in the world. If one
considers only mainland territory, Chile is unique within this group in its
narrowness from east to west, with the other long north-south countries
(including Brazil, Russia, Canada, and the USA, among others) all being
wider from east to west by a factor of more than 10. Chile also claims
1,250,000 km² (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica as part of its territory.
However, this latter claim is suspended under the terms of the Antarctic
Treaty, of which Chile is a signatory.⁵⁹

Chile controls Easter Island and Sala y Gómez Island, the easternmost
islands of Polynesia, which it incorporated to its territory in 1888, and
Robinson Crusoe Island, more than 600 km (370 mi) from the mainland, in the
Juan Fernández Islands. Also controlled but only temporarily inhabited (by
some local fishermen) are the small islands of San Ambrosio and San Felix.
These islands are notable because they extend Chile's claim to territorial
waters out from its coast into the Pacific Ocean.⁶⁰

The northern Atacama Desert contains great mineral wealth, primarily copper
and nitrates. The relatively small Central Valley, which includes Santiago,
dominates the country in terms of population and agricultural resources.
This area is also the historical center from which Chile expanded in the
late 19th century, when it integrated the northern and southern regions.
Southern Chile is rich in forests, grazing lands, and features a string of
volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets,
canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands. The Andes Mountains are located
on the eastern border.

Largest cities



Main article: Climate of Chile

The diverse climate of Chile ranges from the world's driest desert in the
north—the Atacama Desert—through a Mediterranean climate in the centre,
humid subtropical in Easter Island, to an oceanic climate, including alpine
tundra and glaciers in the east and south.¹⁰ According to the Köppen
system, Chile within its borders hosts at least seven major climatic
subtypes. There are four seasons in most of the country: summer (December
to February), autumn (March to May), winter (June to August), and spring
(September to November).


Main article: Wildlife of Chile

Chile's geographical isolation also has restricted the immigration of
faunal life, so that only a few of the many distinctive South American
animals are found. Among the larger mammals are the puma or cougar, the
llama-like guanaco and the fox-like chilla. In the forest region, several
types of marsupials and a small deer known as the pudu are found.⁶¹

There are many species of small birds, but most of the larger common Latin
American types are absent. Few freshwater fish are native, but North
American trout have been successfully introduced into the Andean lakes.⁶¹
Owing to the vicinity of the Humboldt Current, ocean waters abound with
fish and other forms of marine life, which in turn support a rich variety
of waterfowl, including several penguins. Whales are abundant, and some six
species of seals are found in the area.⁶¹

Just over 3,000 species of fungi are recorded in Chile,⁶² ⁶³ but this
number is far from complete. The true total number of fungal species
occurring in Chile is likely to be far higher, given the generally accepted
estimate that only about 7 percent of all fungi worldwide have so far been
discovered.⁶⁴ Although the amount of available information is still very
small, a first effort has been made to estimate the number of fungal
species endemic to Chile, and 1995 species have been tentatively identified
as possible endemics of the country.⁶⁵

The northernmost coastal and central region is largely barren of
vegetation, approaching the most closely an absolute desert in the world.⁶¹
On the slopes of the Andes, besides the scattered tola desert brush,
grasses are found. The central valley is characterized by several species
of cacti, the hardy espinos, the Chilean pine, the southern beeches and the
copihue, a red bell-shaped flower that is Chile's national flower.⁶¹

In southern Chile, south of the Biobío River, heavy precipitation has
produced dense forests of laurels, magnolias, and various species of
conifers and beeches, which become smaller and more stunted to the south.⁶⁶
The cold temperatures and winds of the extreme south preclude heavy
forestation. Grassland is found in Atlantic Chile (in Patagonia). Much of
the Chilean flora is distinct from that of neighboring Argentina,
indicating that the Andean barrier existed during its formation.⁶⁶


The native flora of Chile is characterized by a higher degree of endemism
and relatively fewer species compared to the flora of other countries of
South America. A classification of this flora necessitates its division
into at least three general zones: the desert provinces of the north,
Central Chile, and the humid regions of the south.


The fauna of Chile is characterized by a high degree of endemism, due to
its particular geography. In continental Chile, the Atacama Desert in the
north and the Andes mountains to the east are barriers that have led to the
isolation of flora and fauna. Add to that the enormous extension in length
(over 4,200 km (2,610 mi)) this results in a wide range of climates and


Chile is located along a highly seismic and volcanic zone, part of the
Pacific Ring of Fire, due to the subduction of the Nazca and Antarctic
plates in the South American plate.

Late Paleozoic, 251 million years ago, Chile belonged to the continental
block called Gondwana. It was just a depression accumulated marine
sediments began to rise at the end of the Mesozoic, 66 million years ago,
due to the collision between the Nazca and South American plates, resulting
in the Andes. The territory would be shaped by millions of years due to the
folding of the rocks, forming the current relief.

The Chilean relief consists of the central depression, which crosses the
country longitudinally, flanked by two mountain ranges that make up about
80% of the territory: the Andes mountains to the east-natural border with
Bolivia and Argentina, with its most alton 18 located on the Nevado Ojos
del Salado, at 6891.3 m, the highest volcano in the world, in the region of
Atacama and Coastal Range west-minor height from the Andes, with its
highest point located on the hill Vicuña Mackenna, at 3114 meters, located
in the Sierra Vicuña Mackenna, the south of Antofagasta. Among the coastal
mountains and the Pacific is a series of coastal plains, of variable
length, which allow the settlement of coastal towns and big ports. Some
areas of the plains territories encompass territory east of the Andes, and
the Patagonian steppes and Magellan, or are high plateaus surrounded by
high mountain ranges, such as the Altiplano or Puna de Atacama.

The Far North is the area between the northern boundary of the country and
the parallel 26° S, covering the first three regions. It is characterized
by the presence of the Atacama desert, the most arid in the world. The
desert is fragmented by streams that originate in the area known as the
pampas Tamarugal. The Andes, split in two and whose eastern arm runs
Bolivia, has a high altitude and volcanic activity, which has allowed the
formation of the Andean altiplano and salt structures as the Salar de
Atacama, due to the gradual accumulation of sediments over time.

To the south is the Norte Chico, extending to the Aconcagua river. Los
Andes begin to decrease its altitude to the south and closer to the coast,
reaching 90 km away at the height of Illapel, the narrowest part of the
Chilean territory. The two mountain ranges intersect, virtually eliminating
the intermediate depression. The existence of rivers flowing through the
territory allows the formation of transverse valleys, where agriculture has
developed strongly in recent times, while the coastal plains begin to

The Central area is the most populated region of the country. The coastal
plains are wide and allow the establishment of cities and ports along the
Pacific, while the coastal mountains down its height. The Andes maintains
altitudes above 6000m but descend slowly starts approaching the 4000 meters
on average. The intermediate depression reappears becoming a fertile valley
that allows agricultural development and human settlement, due to sediment
accumulation. To the south, the Cordillera de la Costa reappears in the
range of Nahuelbuta while glacial sediments originate a series of lakes in
the area of La Frontera.

Patagonia extends from within Reloncavi, at the height of parallel 41 ° S,
to the south. During the last glaciation, this area was covered by ice that
strongly eroded Chilean relief structures. As a result, the intermediate
depression sinks in the sea, while the coastal mountains rise to a series
of archipelagos, such as Chiloé and the Chonos, disappearing in Taitao
peninsula, in the parallel 47 ° S. The Andes mountain range loses height
and erosion caused by the action of glaciers has caused fjords.

East of the Andes, on the continent, or north of it, on the island of
Tierra del Fuego are located relatively flat plains, which in the Strait of
Magellan cover large areas.

The Andes, as he had done previously Cordillera de la Costa, begins to
break in the ocean causing a myriad of islands and islets and disappear
into it, sinking and reappearing in the Southern Antilles arc and then the
Antarctic Peninsula, where it is called Antartandes, in the Chilean
Antarctic Territory, lying between the meridians 53 ° W and 90 ° W.

In the middle of the Pacific, the country has sovereignty over several
islands of volcanic origin, collectively known as Insular Chile. Of these,
we highlight the archipelago of Juan Fernandez and Easter Island, which is
located in the fracture zone between the Nazca plate and the Pacific plate
known as East Pacific Rise.


Due to the characteristics of the territory, Chile is crossed by numerous
rivers generally short in length and with low torrential flow. They
commonly extend from the Andes to the Pacific Ocean, flowing in an East to
West direction.

Because of the desert, in the Norte Grande there are only short endorheic
character streams, except for the river Loa, the longest in the country 440
km.⁶⁷ In the high valleys, wetland areas generate Chungará Lake, located at
4500 meters above sea level. It and the river Lauca are shared with
Bolivia, as well as the Lluta.

In the center-north of the country, the number of rivers that form valleys
of agricultural importance increases. Noteworthy are the Elqui with 75 km
⁶⁷ long, 142 km Aconcagua, Maipo with 250 km ⁶⁷ and its tributary, the
Mapocho with 110 km, and Maule with 240 km. Their waters mainly flow from
Andean snowmelt in the summer and winter rains. The major lakes in this
area are the artificial lake Rapel, the Colbun Maule lagoon and the lagoon
of La Laja.


Main article: Demographics of Chile

Chile's 2002 census reported a population of 15 million people. Its rate of
population growth has been decreasing since 1990, due to a declining birth
rate.⁶⁸ By 2050 the population is expected to reach approximately 20.2
million people.⁶⁹ About 85 percent of the country's population lives in
urban areas, with 40 percent living in Greater Santiago. The largest
agglomerations according to the 2002 census are Greater Santiago with 5.6
million people, Greater Concepción with 861,000 and Greater Valparaíso with

Ethnic groups

Main articles: Indigenous peoples in Chile and Immigration to Chile

Chile is a multiethnic society,⁷¹ home to people of many different ethnic
backgrounds. Studies on the ethnic structure of Chile vary significantly
from one another.

For example, the Mexican professor Francisco Lizcano, of the National
Autonomous University of Mexico, estimated that 52.7% of Chileans would be
Caucasians, 39.3% would be mestizo, and 8% would be amerindian.⁷²

The most recent study in the Candela Project establishes that the genetic
composition of Chile is originated in a 44% from the Natives Americans
(Amerindians), with 52% of the genome coming from Europe, and a 4% coming
from Africa; making Chile a primarily mestizo country, with African traces
present in half of the population.⁷³ Also, another genetic study conducted
by the University of Brasilia in several American countries, shows a
similar genetic composition for Chile, with a European contribution of
51.6%, an Amerindian (Native) contribution of 42.1%, and an African
contribution of 6.3%.⁷⁴

A public health booklet from the University of Chile states that 30% of the
population is of Caucasian origin; "predominantly White" Mestizos are
estimated to amount a total of 65%, while Native Americans (Amerindians)
comprise the remaining 5%.⁷⁵

Despite the genetic considerations, many Chileans, if asked, would
self-identify as White. The 2011 Latinobarómetro survey asked respondents
in Chile what race they considered themselves to belong to. Most answered
"White" (59%), while 25% said "Mestizo" and 8% self-classified as
"indigenous".⁷⁶ A 2002 national poll revealed that a majority of Chileans
believed they possessed some (43.4%) or much (8.3%) "indigenous blood",
while 40.3% responded that they had none.⁷⁷

The 1907 census reported 101,118 Indians, or 3.1 percent of the total
population. Only those that practiced their native culture or spoke their
native language were considered, irrespective of their "racial purity".⁷⁸

In 2002 a census took place, directly asking the public whether they
considered themselves as part of any of the eight Chilean ethnic groups,
regardless of whether or not they maintained their culture, traditions and
language, and 4.6 percent of the population (692,192 people) fitted that
description of indigenous peoples in Chile. Of that, 87.3 percent declared
themselves Mapuche.⁷⁹ Most of the indigenous population show varying
degrees of mixed ancestry.⁸⁰

Chile is one of 22 countries to have signed and ratified the only binding
international law concerning indigenous peoples, Indigenous and Tribal
Peoples Convention, 1989.⁸¹ It was adopted in 1989 as the International
Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 169. Chile ratified it in 2008. A
Chilean court decision in November 2009, considered to be a landmark ruling
on indigenous rights, made use of the convention. The Supreme Court
decision on Aymara water rights upheld rulings by both the Pozo Almonte
tribunal and the Iquique Court of Appeals, and marks the first judicial
application of ILO Convention 169 in Chile.⁸²

Chile was never a particularly attractive destination for migrants, owing
to its remoteness and distance from Europe.⁸³ ⁸⁴ Europeans preferred to
stay in countries closer to their homelands instead of taking the long
journey through the Straits of Magellan or crossing the Andes.⁸³ European
migration did not result in a remarkable change in the ethnic composition
of Chile, except in the region of Magellan.⁸⁵ Spaniards were the only major
European migrant group to Chile,⁸³ and there was never large scale
immigration, as what occurred in Argentina or Uruguay.⁸⁴ Between 1851 and
1924 Chile only received 0.5% of European immigration to Latin America,
compared to 46% to Argentina, 33% to Brazil, 14% to Cuba, and 4% to
Uruguay.⁸³ However, it is undeniable that immigrants have played a
significant role in Chilean society.⁸⁴

Other groups of Europeans have followed but are found in smaller numbers,
as the descendants of Austrians⁸⁶ and Dutchmen it is currently estimated at
about 50,000 people.⁸⁷ After the failed liberal revolution of 1848 in the
German states,⁸⁴ ⁸⁸ a noticeable German immigration took place, laying the
foundation for the German-Chilean community. Sponsored by the Chilean
government to "unbarbarize" and colonize the southern region,⁸⁴ these
Germans (including German-speaking Swiss, Silesians, Alsatians and
Austrians) settled mainly in Valdivia, Chiloé and Los Ángeles.⁸⁹

Descendants of different European ethnic groups often intermarried in
Chile. This intermarriage and mixture of cultures and races has help shape
the present society and culture of the Chilean middle and upper classes.⁹⁰

Due in part to its economic fortunes, Chile has recently become a new
magnet for immigrants, mostly from neighboring Argentina, Bolivia and
mainly Peru.⁹¹ According to the 2002 national census, Chile's foreign-born
population has increased by 75% since 1992.⁹² According to an estimate by
the Migration and Foreign Residency Department, 317,057 foreigners were
living in Chile as of December 2008.⁹³ Roughly 500,000 of Chile's
population is of full or partial Palestinian origin.⁹⁴ ⁹⁵


Main article: Religion in Chile

As of 2012, 66.6%⁹⁶ of Chilean population over 15 years of age claims to be
of Catholic creed – a decrease from the 70%⁹⁷ reported by the 2002 census.
In the most recent census (2002), 70 percent of the population over age 14
identified as Roman Catholic and 15.1 percent as evangelical. In the
census, the term "evangelical" referred to all non-Catholic Christian
churches with the exception of the Orthodox Church (Greek, Persian,
Serbian, Ukrainian, and Armenian), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints (Mormons), Seventh-day Adventists, and Jehovah's Witnesses.
Approximately 90 percent of evangelicals are Pentecostal. Wesleyan,
Lutheran, Reformed Evangelical, Presbyterian, Anglican, Episcopalian,
Baptist and Methodist churches are also present.⁹⁸ Irreligious people,
atheists, and agnostics account for around 8 percent of the population.

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and
policies contribute to the generally free practice of religion. The law at
all levels protects this right in full against abuse, either by
governmental or private actors.⁹⁸

Church and state are officially separate in Chile. The 1999 law on religion
prohibits religious discrimination. However, the Catholic Church enjoys a
privileged status and occasionally receives preferential treatment.
Government officials attend Catholic events as well as major Protestant and
Jewish ceremonies.⁹⁸

The Government-observed religious holidays include Christmas, Good Friday,
the Feast of the Virgin of Carmen, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the
Feast of the Assumption, All Saints' Day, and the Feast of the Immaculate
Conception as national holidays.⁹⁸ The government has recently declared 31
October, Reformation Day, a public national holiday, in honor of the
Protestant churches of the country.⁹⁹ ¹⁰⁰

The patron saints of Chile are Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint James the
Greater (Santiago).¹⁰¹ In 2005, St. Alberto Hurtado was canonized by Pope
Benedict XVI and became the country's second saint after St. Teresa de los


The Spanish spoken in Chile is distinctively accented and quite unlike that
of neighbouring South American countries because final syllables and "s"
sounds are dropped, and some consonants have a soft pronunciation. Accent
varies only very slightly from north to south; more noticeable are the
differences in accent based on social class or whether one lives in the
city or the country. That the Chilean population was largely formed in a
small section at the center of the country and then migrated in modest
numbers to the north and south helps explain this relative lack of
differentiation, which was maintained by the national reach of radio, and
now television, which also helps to diffuse and homogenize colloquial

There are several indigenous languages spoken in Chile: Mapudungun,
Quechua, Aymara and Rapa Nui. After the Spanish invasion, Spanish took over
as the lingua franca and the indigenous languages have become minority
languages, with some now extinct or close to extinction.¹⁰³

German is still spoken to some extent in southern Chile,¹⁰⁴ either in small
country side pockets or as a second language among the communities of
larger cities.

Through initiatives such as the English Opens Doors Program, the government
made English mandatory for students in fifth-grade and above in public
schools. Most private schools in Chile start teaching English from
kindergarten.¹⁰⁵ Common English words have been absorbed and appropriated
into everyday Spanish speech.¹⁰⁶

Identity and traditions

Due to the geography of Chile dissimilar cultural expressions vary markedly
in different parts of the country.

Government and politics

Main articles: Politics of Chile and Law of Chile

The current Constitution of Chile was approved in a national plebiscite
—regarded as "highly irregular" by some observers¹⁰⁷ — in September 1980,
under the military government of Augusto Pinochet. It entered into force in
March 1981. After Pinochet's defeat in the 1988 plebiscite, the
constitution was amended to ease provisions for future amendments to the
Constitution. In September 2005, President Ricardo Lagos signed into law
several constitutional amendments passed by Congress. These include
eliminating the positions of appointed senators and senators for life,
granting the President authority to remove the commanders-in-chief of the
armed forces, and reducing the presidential term from six to four years.¹⁰⁸

The Congress of Chile has a 38-seat Senate and a 120-member Chamber of
Deputies. Senators serve for eight years with staggered terms, while
deputies are elected every 4 years. The current Senate has a 20–18 split in
favor of the opposition coalition. The last congressional elections were
held on 13 December 2009, concurrently with the presidential election. The
current lower house-the Chamber of Deputies-contains 58 members of the
governing center-right coalition, 54 from the center-left opposition and 8
from small parties or independents. The Congress is located in the port
city of Valparaíso, about 140 kilometres (87 miles) west of the capital,

Chile's congressional elections are governed by a binomial system that, for
the most part, rewards the two largest representations equally, often
regardless of their relative popular support. Parties are thus forced to
form wide coalitions and, historically, the two largest coalitions
(Concertación and Alianza) split most of the seats. Only if the leading
coalition ticket out-polls the second place coalition by a margin of more
than 2-to-1 does the winning coalition gain both seats, which tends to lock
the legislative in a roughly 50-50 split.

Chile's judiciary is independent and includes a court of appeal, a system
of military courts, a constitutional tribunal, and the Supreme Court of
Chile. In June 2005, Chile completed a nationwide overhaul of its criminal
justice system.¹⁰⁹ The reform has replaced inquisitorial proceedings with
an adversarial system more similar to that of the United States.

In the 2001 congressional elections, the conservative Independent
Democratic Union (UDI) surpassed the Christian Democrats for the first time
to become the largest party in the lower house. In the 2005 parliamentary
election, both leading parties, the Christian Democrats and the UDI lost
representation in favor of their respective allies Socialist Party (which
became the biggest party in the Concertación block) and National Renewal in
the right-wing alliance. In the last legislative elections in Chile, the
Communist Party won 3 out of 120 seats in the Chamber of Deputies for the
first time in 30 years (the Communist Party was not allowed to exist as
such during the dictatorship).

Chileans voted in the first round of presidential elections on 13 December
2009. None of the four presidential candidates got more than 50 percent of
the vote. As a result, the top two candidates, center-left Concertación de
Partidos por la Democracia coalition's Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle and
center-right Coalición por el Cambio coalition's Sebastián Piñera, competed
in a run-off election on 17 January 2010, which Piñera won. This was
Chile's fifth presidential election since the end of the Pinochet era. All
five have been judged free and fair. The president is constitutionally
barred from serving consecutive terms.

Foreign relations

Main article: Foreign relations of Chile

Since the early decades after independence, Chile has always had an active
involvement in foreign affairs. In 1837 the country aggressively challenged
the dominance of Peru's port of Callao for preeminence in the Pacific trade
routes, defeating the short-lived alliance between Peru and Bolivia, the
Peru-Bolivian Confederation (1836–39) in the War of the Confederation. The
war dissolved the confederation while distributing power in the Pacific. A
second international war, the War of the Pacific (1879–83), further
increased Chile's regional role, while adding considerably to its

During the 19th century, Chile's commercial ties were primarily with
Britain, a nation that had a major influence on the formation of the
Chilean navy. The French influenced Chile's legal and educational systems
and had a decisive impact on Chile, through the architecture of the capital
in the boom years at the turn of the 20th century. German influence came
from the organization and training of the army by Prussians.¹⁷

On 26 June 1945, Chile participated as a founding member of the United
Nations being among 50 countries that signed the United Nations Charter in
San Francisco, California.¹¹⁰ ¹¹¹ ¹¹² With the military coup of 1973, Chile
became isolated politically as a result of widespread human rights

Since its return to democracy in 1990, Chile has been an active participant
in the international political arena. Chile completed a 2-year
non-permanent position on the UN Security Council in January 2005. Jose
Miguel Insulza, a Chilean national, was elected Secretary General of the
Organization of American States in May 2005 and confirmed in his position,
being re-elected in 2009. Chile is currently serving on the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors, and the 2007–2008 chair of
the board is Chile's ambassador to the IAEA, Milenko E. Skoknic. The
country is an active member of the UN family of agencies and participates
in UN peacekeeping activities. It was re-elected as a member of the UN
Human Rights Council in 2011 for a three-year term.¹¹³ It was also elected
to one of five non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council in 2013.¹¹⁴
Chile hosted the Defense Ministerial of the Americas in 2002 and the APEC
summit and related meetings in 2004. It also hosted the Community of
Democracies ministerial in April 2005 and the Ibero-American Summit in
November 2007. An associate member of Mercosur and a full member of APEC,
Chile has been a major player in international economic issues and
hemispheric free trade.²⁴

The Chilean Government has diplomatic relations with most countries. It
settled all its territorial disputes with Argentina during the 1990s except
for part of the border at Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Chile and Bolivia
severed diplomatic ties in 1978 over Bolivia's desire to regain sovereign
access to the Pacific Ocean it lost to Chile in 1879–83 War of the Pacific.
The two countries maintain consular relations and are represented at the
Consul General level.²⁴

Administrative divisions

Main article: Administrative divisions of Chile

Chile is divided into 15 regions, each headed by an intendant appointed by
the president. The regions are further divided into provinces, with
provincial governors also appointed by the president. Finally each province
is divided into communes¹¹⁵ which are administered by municipalities, each
with its own mayor and council elected for four-year terms. Each region is
designated by a name and a Roman numeral, assigned from north to south. The
only exception is the Santiago Metropolitan Region which is designated RM
(Región Metropolitana). Two new regions were created in 2006 and became
operative in October 2007; Los Ríos in the south (Region XIV), and Arica y
Parinacota in the north (Region XV). The numbering scheme skipped Region
XIII, usually assumed to be the Metropolitan Region before the 2006 reform.

National symbols

The national flower is the copihue (Lapageria rosea, Chilean bellflower),
which grows in the woods of southern Chile.

The coat of arms depicts the two national animals: the condor (Vultur
gryphus, a very large bird that lives in the mountains) and the huemul
(Hippocamelus bisulcus, an endangered white tail deer). It also has the
legend Por la razón o la fuerza (By reason or by force).

The flag of Chile consists of two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and
red; there is a blue square the same height as the white band at the
hoist-side end of the white band; the square bears a white five-pointed
star in the center representing a guide to progress and honor; blue
symbolizes the sky, white is for the snow-covered Andes, and red stands for
the blood spilled to achieve independence. The flag of Chile is similar to
the Flag of Texas, although the Chilean flag is 21 years older. However,
like the Texan flag, the flag of Chile is modeled after the Flag of the
United States.¹¹⁶


Main article: Military of Chile

The Armed Forces of Chile are subject to civilian control exercised by the
president through the Minister of Defense. The president has the authority
to remove the commanders-in-chief of the armed forces.²⁴

The commander in chief of the Chilean Army is General Humberto Oviedo
Arriagada.¹¹⁷ ¹¹⁸ The Chilean Army is 45,000 strong and is organized with
an Army headquarters in Santiago, six divisions throughout its territory,
an Air Brigade in Rancagua, and a Special Forces Command in Colina. The
Chilean Army is one of the most professional and technologically advanced
armies in Latin America.²⁴

Admiral Enrique Larrañaga Martin directs the 21,773-person Chilean Navy,¹¹⁹
including 2,500 Marines. Of the fleet of 29 surface vessels, only eight are
operational major combatants (frigates). Those ships are based in
Valparaíso.¹²⁰ The Navy operates its own aircraft for transport and patrol;
there are no Navy fighter or bomber aircraft. The Navy also operates four
submarines based in Talcahuano.²⁴ ¹²¹

Air Force General (four star) Jorge Rojas Ávila heads the 12,500 strong
Chilean Air Force. Air assets are distributed among five air brigades
headquartered in Iquique, Antofagasta, Santiago, Puerto Montt, and Punta
Arenas. The Air Force also operates an airbase on King George Island,
Antarctica. The Air Force took delivery of the final two of ten F-16s, all
purchased from the U.S., in March 2007 after several decades of U.S. debate
and previous refusal to sell. Chile also took delivery in 2007 of a number
of reconditioned Block 15 F-16s from the Netherlands, bringing to 18 the
total of F-16s purchased from the Dutch.²⁴

After the military coup in September 1973 the Chilean national police
(Carabineros) were incorporated into the Defense Ministry. With the return
of democratic government, the police were placed under the operational
control of the Interior Ministry but remained under the nominal control of
the Defense Ministry. Gen. Gustavo González Jure is the head of the
national police force of 40,964¹²² men and women who are responsible for
law enforcement, traffic management, narcotics suppression, border control,
and counter-terrorism throughout Chile.²⁴


Main article: Economy of Chile

The Central Bank of Chile in Santiago serves as the central bank for the
country. The Chilean currency is the Chilean peso (CLP). Chile is one of
South America's most stable and prosperous nations,¹⁰ leading Latin
American nations in human development, competitiveness, income per capita,
globalization, economic freedom, and low perception of corruption.¹¹ Since
July 2013, Chile is considered by the World Bank as a "high-income
economy", and hence as a developed country.¹²³ ¹²⁴ ¹²⁵

Chile has the highest degree of economic freedom in South America (ranking
7th worldwide), owing to its independent and efficient judicial system and
prudent public finance management.¹²⁶ In May 2010 Chile became the first
South American country to join the OECD.¹²⁷ In 2006, Chile became the
country with the highest nominal GDP per capita in Latin America.¹²⁸

Copper mining makes up 20% of Chilean GDP and 60% of exports.¹²⁹ Escondida
is the largest copper mine in the world, producing over 5% of global
supplies.¹²⁹ Overall, Chile produces a third of the world's copper.¹²⁹
Codelco, the state mining firm, competes with private ones.¹²⁹

Sound economic policies, maintained consistently since the 1980s, have
contributed to steady economic growth in Chile and have more than halved
poverty rates.⁹ ²⁴ Chile began to experience a moderate economic downturn
in 1999. The economy remained sluggish until 2003, when it began to show
clear signs of recovery, achieving 4.0 percent real GDP growth.¹³⁰ The
Chilean economy finished 2004 with growth of 6 percent. Real GDP growth
reached 5.7 percent in 2005 before falling back to 4 percent in 2006. GDP
expanded by 5 percent in 2007.²⁴ Faced with an international economic
downturn the government announced a $4 billion economic stimulus plan to
spur employment and growth, and despite the global financial crisis, aimed
for an expansion of between 2 percent and 3 percent of GDP for 2009.
Nonetheless, economic analysts disagreed with government estimates and
predicted economic growth at a median of 1.5 percent.¹³¹ Real GDP growth in
2012 was 5.5%. Growth slowed to 4.1% in the first quarter of 2013.¹³²

The unemployment rate was 6.4% in April 2013.¹³³ There are reported labour
shortages in agriculture, mining, and construction.¹³² The percentage of
Chileans with per capita household incomes below the poverty line—defined
as twice the cost of satisfying a person's minimal nutritional needs—fell
from 45.1 percent in 1987 to 11.5 percent in 2009, according to government
surveys.¹³⁴ ¹³⁵ Critics in Chile, however, argue that true poverty figures
are considerably higher than those officially published.¹³⁶ Using the
relative yardstick favoured in many European countries, 27% of Chileans
would be poor, according to Juan Carlos Feres of the ECLAC.¹³⁷

As of November 2012, about 11.1 million people (64% of the population)
benefit from government welfare programs,¹³⁸ via the "Social Protection
Card", which includes the population living in poverty and those at a risk
of falling into poverty.¹³⁹

The privatized national pension system (AFP) has encouraged domestic
investment and contributed to an estimated total domestic savings rate of
approximately 21 percent of GDP.¹⁴⁰ Under the compulsory private pension
system, most formal sector employees pay 10 percent of their salaries into
privately managed funds.²⁴ However, by 2009, it has been reported that $21
billion had been lost from the pension system to the global financial

Chile has signed free trade agreements (FTAs) with a whole network of
countries, including an FTA with the United States that was signed in 2003
and implemented in January 2004.¹⁴² Internal Government of Chile figures
show that even when factoring out inflation and the recent high price of
copper, bilateral trade between the U.S. and Chile has grown over 60
percent since then.²⁴ Chile's total trade with China reached US$8.8 billion
in 2006, representing nearly 66 percent of the value of its trade
relationship with Asia.²⁴ Exports to Asia increased from US $15.2 billion
in 2005 to US $19.7 billion in 2006, a 29.9 percent increase.²⁴
Year-on-year growth in imports was especially strong from a number of
countries-Ecuador (123.9%), Thailand (72.1%), Korea (52.6%), and China

Chile's approach to foreign direct investment is codified in the country's
Foreign Investment Law. Registration is reported to be simple and
transparent, and foreign investors are guaranteed access to the official
foreign exchange market to repatriate their profits and capital.²⁴ The
Chilean Government has formed a Council on Innovation and Competition,
hoping to bring in additional FDI to new parts of the economy.²⁴

Standard & Poor's gives Chile a credit rating of AA-.¹⁴³ The Government of
Chile continues to pay down its foreign debt, with public debt only 3.9
percent of GDP at the end of 2006.²⁴ The Chilean central government is a
net creditor with a net asset position of 7% of GDP at end 2012.¹³² The
current account deficit was 4% in the first quarter of 2013, financed
mostly by foreign direct investment.¹³² 14% of central government revenue
came directly from copper in 2012.¹³²



Main article: Transport in Chile

Due to Chile's topography a functioning transport network is vital to its
economy. Buses are now the main means of long distance transportation in
Chile, following the decline of its railway network.¹⁴⁵ The bus system
covers the entire country, from Arica to Santiago (a 30 hour journey) and
from Santiago to Punta Arenas (about 40 hours, with a change at Osorno).

Chile has a total of 372 runways (62 paved and 310 unpaved). Important
airports in Chile include Chacalluta International Airport (Arica), Diego
Aracena International Airport (Iquique), Cerro Moreno International Airport
(Antofagasta), Carriel Sur International Airport (Concepción), El Tepual
International Airport (Puerto Montt), Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo
International Airport (Punta Arenas), Mataveri International Airport
(Easter Island), the most remote airport in the world, and the Comodoro
Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (Santiago) with a traffic of
12,105,524 passengers in 2011. Santiago is headquarters of Latin America's
largest airline holding company and Chilean flag carrier LAN Airlines.


Chile has a telecommunication system which covers much of the country,
including Chilean insular and Antarctic bases. Privatization of the
telephone system began in 1988; Chile has one of the most advanced
telecommunications infrastructure in South America with a modern system
based on extensive microwave radio relay facilities and domestic satellite
system with 3 earth stations.⁹ In 2012, there were 3.276 million main lines
in use and 24.13 million mobile cellular telephone subscribers.⁹ According
to a 2012 database of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU),
61.42% of the Chilean population uses the internet, making Chile the
country with the highest internet penetration in South America.¹⁴⁶ The
Chilean internet country code is ".cl".


Main article: Agriculture in Chile

Agriculture in Chile encompasses a wide range of different activities due
to its particular geography, climate and geology and human factors.
Historically agriculture is one of the bases of Chile's economy, now
agriculture and allied sectors like forestry, logging and fishing accounts
only for 4.9% of the GDP as of 2007 and employed 13.6% of the country's
labor force. Some major agriculture products of Chile includes grapes,
apples, pears, onions, wheat, corn, oats, peaches, garlic, asparagus,
beans, beef, poultry, wool, fish and timber.[1] Due to its geographical
isolation and strict customs policies Chile is free from diseases such as
Mad Cow, fruit fly and Phylloxera, this plus being located in the southern
hemisphere (having quite different harvesting times compared to the
Northern Hemisphere) and its wide range of agriculture conditions are
considered Chiles main comparative advantages. However, the mountainous
landscape of Chile limits the extent and intensity of agriculture so that
arable land corresponds only to 2.62% of the total territory.


Main article: Tourism in Chile

Tourism in Chile has experienced sustained growth over the last few
decades. In 2005, tourism grew by 13.6 percent, generating more than 4.5
billion dollars of which 1.5 billion was attributed to foreign tourists.
According to the National Service of Tourism (Sernatur), 2 million people a
year visit the country. Most of these visitors come from other countries in
the American continent, mainly Argentina; followed by a growing number from
the United States, Europe, and Brazil with a growing number of Asians from
South Korea and PR China.¹⁴⁷

The main attractions for tourists are places of natural beauty situated in
the extreme zones of the country: San Pedro de Atacama, in the north, is
very popular with foreign tourists who arrive to admire the Incaic
architecture, the altiplano lakes, and the Valley of the Moon. In Putre,
also in the north, there is the Chungará Lake, as well as the Parinacota
and the Pomerape volcanoes, with altitudes of 6,348 m and 6,282 m,
respectively. Throughout the central Andes there are many ski resorts of
international repute, including Portillo, Valle Nevado and Termas de

The main tourist sites in the south are national parks (the most popular is
Conguillío National Park in the Araucanía) and the coastal area around
Tirúa and Cañete with the Isla Mocha and the Nahuelbuta National Park,
Chiloé Archipelago and Patagonia, which includes Laguna San Rafael National
Park, with its many glaciers, and the Torres del Paine National Park. The
central port city of Valparaíso, which is World Heritage with its unique
architecture, is also popular. Finally, Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean
is one of the main Chilean tourist destinations.

For locals, tourism is concentrated mostly in the summer (December to
March), and mainly in the coastal beach towns. Arica, Iquique, Antofagasta,
La Serena and Coquimbo are the main summer centres in the north, and Pucón
on the shores of Lake Villarrica is the main centre in the south. Because
of its proximity to Santiago, the coast of the Valparaíso Region, with its
many beach resorts, receives the largest number of tourists. Viña del Mar,
Valparaíso's northern affluent neighbor, is popular because of its beaches,
casino, and its annual song festival, the most important musical event in
Latin America. Pichilemu in the O'Higgins Region is widely known as South
America's "best surfing spot" according to Fodor's.

In November 2005 the government launched a campaign under the brand "Chile:
All Ways Surprising" intended to promote the country internationally for
both business and tourism.¹⁴⁸ Museums in Chile such as the Chilean National
Museum of Fine Arts built in 1880, feature works by Chilean artists.


Main article: Education in Chile

In Chile, education begins with preschool until the age of 5. Primary
school is provided for children aged between 6 and 13. Students then attend
secondary school until graduation at age 17. Secondary education is divided
into 2 parts: During the first two years, students receive a general
education. Then, they have to choose a branch amongst Scientific humanistic
education, Artistic education or technical and professional education.
Secondary school ends two years later on the acquirement of a certificate
(licencia de enseñanza media).¹⁴⁹ The Chilean education system is
segregated by wealth in a three-tiered such that the quality of the school
any student attends is dependent SES: the tiers are city schools (colegios
municipales) that are mostly free and have the worse educational results,
mostly attended by poor students, subsidized schools that receive some
amount of money from the government which can be supplemented by fees to be
paid by the student's family, which re attended by mid-income students and
typically get mid-level results, and entirely private schools that
consistently get the best results. Many private schools charge attendance
fees of 0,5 to 1 median household incomes.¹⁵⁰

Higher education

See also: List of universities in Chile

Upon successful graduation of secondary school, students may continue into
higher education. The higher education schools in Chile consist of; Chilean
Traditional Universities, and are divided into public universities or
private universities. There are also medical schools and both the
Universidad de Chile and Universidad Diego Portales offer law schools in a
joint partnership with Yale University.¹⁵¹


Main article: Healthcare in Chile

The Ministry of Health (Minsal) is the cabinet-level administrative office
in charge of planning, directing, coordinating, executing, controlling and
informing the public health policies formulated by the President of Chile.
The National Health Fund (Fonasa), created in 1979, is the financial entity
entrusted to collect, manage and distribute state funds for health in
Chile. It is funded by the public. All employees pay 7 percent of their
monthly income to the fund.

Fonasa is part of the NHSS and has executive power through the Ministry of
Health (Chile). Its headquarters are in Santiago and decentralized public
service is conducted by various Regional Offices. More than 12 million
beneficiaries benefit from Fonasa. Beneficiaries can also opt for more
costly private insurance through Isapre. Hospitals in Chile are mainly
located in the Santiago Metropolitan Region.


Main articles: Culture of Chile, Music of Chile and Chilean cuisine
Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral, Nobel Prize recipients in literature
(1971 and 1945)

From the period between early agricultural settlements and up to the late
pre-Hispanic period, northern Chile was a region of Andean culture that was
influenced by altiplano traditions spreading to the coastal valleys of the
north, while southern regions were areas of Mapuche cultural activities.
Throughout the colonial period following the conquest, and during the early
Republican period, the country's culture was dominated by the Spanish.
Other European influences, primarily English, French, and German began in
the 19th century and have continued to this day. German migrants influenced
the Bavarian style rural architecture and cuisine in the south of Chile in
cities such as Valdivia, Frutillar, Puerto Varas, Osorno, Temuco, Puerto
Octay, Llanquihue, Faja Maisan, Pitrufquén, Victoria, Pucón and Puerto
Montt.¹⁵² ¹⁵³ ¹⁵⁴ ¹⁵⁵ ¹⁵⁶

Music and dance

Music in Chile ranges from folkloric, popular and classical music. Its
large geography generates different musical styles in the north, center and
south of the country, including also Easter Island and Mapuche music.¹⁵⁷
The national dance is the cueca. Another form of traditional Chilean song,
though not a dance, is the tonada. Arising from music imported by the
Spanish colonists, it is distinguished from the cueca by an intermediate
melodic section and a more prominent melody.

Between 1950 and 1970 appears a rebirth in folk music leading by groups
such as Los de Ramón, Los Cuatro Huasos and Los Huasos Quincheros, among
others¹⁵⁸ with composers such as Raúl de Ramón, Violeta Parra and others.
In the mid-1960s native musical forms were revitalized by the Parra family
with the Nueva canción Chilena, which was associated with political
activists and reformers such as Víctor Jara, Inti-Illimani, and Quilapayún.
Other important folk singer and researcher on folklore and Chilean
ethnography, is Margot Loyola. Also many Chilean Rock bands like Los
Jaivas, Los Prisioneros, La Ley, and Los Tres have reached international
success. In February, annual music festivals are held in Viña del Mar.¹⁵⁹


Chileans call their country país de poetas-country of poets.¹⁶⁰ ¹⁶¹
Gabriela Mistral was the first Latin American to receive a Nobel Prize in
Literature (1945). Chile's most famous poet, however, is Pablo Neruda, who
also received the Nobel Prize for Literature (1971) and is world-renowned
for his extensive library of works on romance, nature, and politics. His
three highly personalized homes, located in Isla Negra, Santiago and
Valparaíso are popular tourist destinations.

Among the list of other Chilean poets are Carlos Pezoa Véliz, Vicente
Huidobro, Gonzalo Rojas, Pablo de Rokha, Nicanor Parra and Raúl Zurita.
Isabel Allende is the best-selling Chilean novelist, with 51 millions of
her novels sold worldwide.¹⁶² Novelist José Donoso's novel The Obscene Bird
of Night is considered by critic Harold Bloom to be one of the canonical
works of 20th century Western literature. Another internationally
recognized Chilean novelist and poet is Roberto Bolaño whose translations
into English have had an excellent reception from the critics.¹⁶³ ¹⁶⁴ ¹⁶⁵


Chilean cuisine is a reflection of the country's topographical variety,
featuring an assortment of seafood, beef, fruits, and vegetables.
Traditional recipes include asado, cazuela, empanadas, humitas, pastel de
choclo, pastel de papas, curanto and sopaipillas.¹⁶⁶ Crudos is an example
of the mixture of culinary contributions from the various ethnic influences
in Chile. The raw minced llama, heavy use of shellfish and rice bread were
taken from native Quechua Andean cuisine, (although now beef brought to
Chile by Europeans is also used in place of the llama meat), lemon and
onions were brought by the Spanish colonists, and the use of mayonnaise and
yogurt was introduced by German immigrants, as was beer.


The folklore of Chile, cultural and demographic characteristics of the
country, is the result of mixture of Spanish and Amerindian elements that
occurred during the colonial period.. Due to cultural and historical
reasons, they are classified and distinguished four major areas in the
country: Northern Areas, central, southern and south. Most of the
traditions of the culture of Chile have a festive purpose, but some, such
as dances and ceremonies have religious components.


Main article: Chilean mythology

Chilean mythology, is the mythology and beliefs of the Folklore of Chile.

This includes Chilote mythology, Rapa Nui mythology and Mapuche mythology.


Main article: Cinema of Chile

The film originated in Valparaíso on May 26, 1902 with the premiere of the
documentary Exercise General Fire Brigade, the first film completely filmed
and processed in the country. In the following decades, marked milestones
The deck of Death (or The Enigma of Lord Street) (1916), considered the
first film Chilean story, 300 The transmission of presidential (1920), the
first animated film in the country, and North and South (1934), the first
sound film of Chile.


Main article: Sport in Chile

Chile's most popular sport is association football. Chile has appeared in
eight FIFA World Cups which includes hosting the 1962 FIFA World Cup where
the national football team finished third. Other results achieved by the
national football team include four finals at the Copa América, one silver
and two bronze medals at the Pan American Games, a bronze medal at the 2000
Summer Olympics and two third places finishes in the FIFA under-17 and
under-20 youth tournaments. The top league in the Chilean football league
system is the Chilean Primera División, which is named by the IFFHS as the
ninth strongest national football league in the world.¹⁶⁷

The main football clubs are Colo-Colo, Universidad de Chile and Universidad
Católica. Colo-Colo is the country's most successful football club, having
both the most national and international championships, including the
coveted Copa Libertadores South American club tournament. Universidad de
Chile was the last international champion (Copa Sudamericana 2011).

Tennis is Chile's most successful sport. Its national team won the World
Team Cup clay tournament twice (2003 & 2004), and played the Davis Cup
final against Italy in 1976. At the 2004 Summer Olympics the country
captured gold and bronze in men's singles and gold in men's doubles.
Marcelo Ríos became the first Latin American man to reach the number one
spot in the ATP singles rankings in 1998. Anita Lizana won the US Open in
1937, becoming the first woman from Latin America to win a Grand Slam
tournament. Luis Ayala was twice a runner-up at the French Open and both
Ríos and Fernando González reached the Australian Open men's singles
finals. González also won a silver medal in singles at the 2008 Summer
Olympics in Beijing.

At the Summer Olympic Games Chile boasts a total of two gold medals
(tennis), seven silver medals (athletics, equestrian, boxing, shooting and
tennis) and four bronze medals (tennis, boxing and football). In 2012,
Chile won its first Paralympic Games medal (gold in Athletics).

Rodeo is the country's national sport and is practiced in the more rural
areas of the nation. A sport similar to hockey called chueca was played by
the Mapuche people during the Spanish conquest. Skiing and snowboarding are
practiced at ski centers located in the Central Andes, and in southern ski
centers near to cities as Osorno, Puerto Varas, Temuco and Punta Arenas.
surfing is popular at some coastal towns. Polo is professionally practiced
within Chile and in 2008 Chile achieved top prize in the World Polo
Championship a tournament where the country has earned both second and
third places medals in previous editions.

Basketball is a popular sport in which Chile has earned a bronze medal in
the first men's FIBA World Championship held in 1950 and winning a second
bronze medal when Chile hosted the 1959 FIBA World Championship. Chile
hosted the first FIBA World Championship for Women in 1953 finishing the
tournament with the silver medal. San Pedro de Atacama is host to the
annual "Atacama Crossing", a six-stage, 250-kilometre (160 mi) footrace
which annually attracts about 150 competitors from 35 countries. The Dakar
Rally off-road automobilie race has been held in both Chile and Argentina
since 2009.

Cultural heritage

The cultural heritage of Chile consists, first, of their intangible
heritage, composed of various cultural events, such as visual arts, crafts,
dances, holidays, cuisine, games, music and traditions, and, secondly, by
its tangible, consists of those buildings, objects and sites of
archaeological, architectural, traditional, artistic, ethnographic,
folkloric, historical, religious or technological scattered through Chilean
territory, among them, those goods are declared World Heritage site by
Unesco, in accordance with the provisions of the Convention concerning the
Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 1972, ratified by
Chile in 1980. These cultural sites are the Rapa Nui National Park (1995),
the churches of Chiloé (2000), the historical district of the port city of
Valparaíso (2003), the nitrate of Humberstone and Santa Laura (2005) and
the city Sewell Mining (2006).

In 1999, he established the Heritage Day as a way to recognize the
architectural heritage, cultural and historical Chile.

See also

- Index of Chile-related articles
- International rankings of Chile
- List of Chileans
- Outline of Chile


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[122] "Carabineros de Chile". 2007-10-24. Retrieved
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  tan variada poesía?". Retrieved 17 December 2009.
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Further reading

- Simon Collier and William F. Sater, A History of Chile, 1808–1894,
  Cambridge University Press, 1996
- Paul W. Drake, and others., Chile: A Country Study, Library of Congress,
- Luis Galdames, A History of Chile, University of North Carolina Press,
- Brian Lovemen, Chile: The Legacy of Hispanic Capitalism, 3rd ed., Oxford
  University Press, 2001
- John L. Rector, The History of Chile, Greenwood Press, 2003

External links

- Official Chile website
- Government of Chile
- Chile entry at The World Factbook
- Chile from UCB Libraries GovPubs
- Chile at DMOZ
- Chile profile from the BBC News
- Road maps of Chile, interactive
- World Bank Summary Trade Statistics Chile
- Wikimedia Atlas of Chile
- Geographic data related to Chile at OpenStreetMap
- Key Development Forecasts for Chile from International Futures
- Chile Cultural Society

Chile de árbol

The Chile de árbol (Spanish for tree chili) is a small and potent Mexican
chili pepper also known as bird's beak chile and rat's tail chile. These
chilis are about 2 to 3 inches (5.1 to 7.6 cm) long, and ¹⁄₄ to ³⁄₈ inch
(0.64 to 0.95 cm) in diameter. Their heat index is between 15,000 and
30,000 Scoville units. The peppers start out green and turn a bright red
color as they mature.¹ Chile de árbol peppers can be found fresh, dried, or
powdered.² As dried chiles, they are often used to decorate wreaths because
they do not lose their red color after dehydration.

In cooking substitutions, the Chile de árbol pepper can be traded with
Cayenne pepper (30,000–50,000 Scoville units) or Pequin pepper
(100,000–140,000 Scoville units).³ The seeds and white arches can be
removed from the pepper to tone down its hotness.

See also

- List of Capsicum cultivars


[1] "Chile de Arbol". Retrieved 19 September 2014.
[2] "Chile de Arbol". Retrieved 24 January 2010.
[3] "Chile de Arbol". Retrieved 13 November 2010.

Chili pepper

See also Chili (disambiguation) or Red Chillies (film).

The chili pepper (also chile pepper or chilli pepper, from Nahuatl chīlli
/ˈt͡ʃiːli/) is the fruit¹ of plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the
nightshade family, Solanaceae. In Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South
Africa, India,² and other Asian countries, the word "pepper" is usually

The substances that give chili peppers their intensity when ingested or
applied topically are capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) and
several related chemicals, collectively called capsaicinoids.

Chili peppers originated in the Americas.³ After the Columbian Exchange,
many cultivars of chili pepper spread across the world, used in both food
and medicine. Chilies were brought to Asia by Portuguese navigators during
the 16th century.

India is the world's largest producer, consumer and exporter of chili
peppers.⁴ Guntur in Andhra Pradesh produces 30% of all the chilies produced
in India,⁵ and the state of Andhra Pradesh as a whole contributes 75% of
India's chili exports.⁶


Chili peppers have been a part of the human diet in the Americas since at
least 7500 BC. The most recent research shows that chili peppers were
domesticated more than 6000 years ago in Mexico, in the region that extends
across southern Puebla and northern Oaxaca to southeastern Veracruz,⁷ and
were one of the first self-pollinating crops cultivated in Mexico, Central
and parts of South America.⁸

Christopher Columbus was one of the first Europeans to encounter them (in
the Caribbean), and called them "peppers" because they, like black and
white pepper of the Piper genus known in Europe, have a spicy hot taste
unlike other foodstuffs. Upon their introduction into Europe, chilies were
grown as botanical curiosities in the gardens of Spanish and Portuguese
monasteries. But the monks experimented with the chili culinary potential
and discovered that their pungency offered a substitute for black
peppercorns, which at the time were so costly that they were used as legal
currency in some countries.⁹

Chilies were cultivated around the globe after Columbus.¹⁰ ¹¹ Diego Álvarez
Chanca, a physician on Columbus' second voyage to the West Indies in 1493,
brought the first chili peppers to Spain and first wrote about their
medicinal effects in 1494.

The spread of chili peppers to Asia was most likely a natural consequence
of its introduction to Portuguese traders (Lisbon was a common port of call
for Spanish ships sailing to and from the Americas) who, aware of its trade
value, would have likely promoted its commerce in the Asian spice trade
routes then dominated by Portuguese and Arab traders.¹² Today chilies are
an integral part of South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines.

There is a verifiable correlation between the chili pepper geographical
dissemination and consumption in Asia and the presence of Portuguese
traders, India and southeast Asia being obvious examples.

The chili pepper features heavily in the cuisine of the Goan region of
India, which was the site of a Portuguese colony (e.g., vindaloo, an Indian
interpretation of a Portuguese dish). Chili peppers journeyed from India,¹³
through Central Asia and Turkey, to Hungary, where they became the national
spice in the form of paprika.

An alternate, although not so plausible account (no obvious correlation
between its dissemination in Asia and Spanish presence or trade routes),
defended mostly by Spanish historians, was that from Mexico, at the time a
Spanish colony, chili peppers spread into their other colony the
Philippines and from there to India, China, Indonesia. To Japan, it was
brought by the Portuguese missionaries in 1542, and then later, it was
brought to Korea.

In 1995 archaeobotanist Hakon Hjelmqvist published an article in Svensk
Botanisk Tidskrift claiming there was evidence for the presence of chili
peppers in Europe in pre-Columbian times.¹⁴ According to Hjelmqvist,
archaeologists at a dig in St Botulf in Lund found a Capsicum frutescens in
a layer from the 13th century. Hjelmqvist thought it came from Asia.
Hjelmqvist also said that Capsicum was described by the Greek Theophrastus
(370–286 BCE) in his Historia Plantarum, and in other sources. Around the
first century CE, the Roman poet Martialis (Martial) mentioned "Piperve
crudum" (raw pepper) in Liber XI, XVIII, allegedly describing them as long
and containing seeds (a description which seems to fit chili peppers - but
could also fit the long pepper, which was well known to ancient Romans).

Species and cultivars

See also: List of Capsicum cultivars

The five domesticated species of chili peppers are as follows:

- Capsicum annuum, which includes many common varieties such as bell
  peppers, wax, cayenne, jalapeños, and the chiltepin
- Capsicum frutescens, which includes malagueta, tabasco and Thai peppers,
  piri piri, and Malawian Kambuzi
- Capsicum chinense, which includes the hottest peppers such as the naga,
  habanero, Datil and Scotch bonnet
- Capsicum pubescens, which includes the South American rocoto peppers
- Capsicum baccatum, which includes the South American aji peppers

Though there are only a few commonly used species, there are many cultivars
and methods of preparing chili peppers that have different names for
culinary use. Green and red bell peppers, for example, are the same
cultivar of C. annuum, immature peppers being green. In the same species
are the jalapeño, the poblano (which when dried is referred to as ancho),
New Mexico (which is also known as chile colorado), Anaheim, serrano, and
other cultivars.

Peppers are commonly broken down into three groupings: bell peppers, sweet
peppers, and hot peppers. Most popular pepper varieties are seen as falling
into one of these categories or as a cross between them.


The substances that give chili peppers their intensity when ingested or
applied topically are capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) and
several related chemicals, collectively called capsaicinoids.¹⁵ ¹⁶
Capsaicin is also the primary component in pepper spray, a less-than-lethal

When consumed, capsaicinoids bind with pain receptors in the mouth and
throat that are responsible for sensing heat. Once activated by the
capsaicinoids, these receptors send a message to the brain that the person
has consumed something hot. The brain responds to the burning sensation by
raising the heart rate, increasing perspiration and release of endorphins.
A 2008 study¹⁷ reports that capsaicin alters how the body's cells use
energy produced by hydrolysis of ATP. In the normal hydrolysis the SERCA
protein uses this energy to move calcium ions into the sarcoplasmic
reticulum. When capsaicin is present, it alters the conformation of the
SERCA, and thus reduces the ion movement; as a result the ATP energy (which
would have been used to pump the ions) is instead released as thermal

The "heat" of chili peppers was historically measured in Scoville heat
units (SHU), which is a measure of the dilution of an amount of chili
extract added to sugar syrup before its heat becomes undetectable to a
panel of tasters; the more it has to be diluted to be undetectable, the
more powerful the variety and therefore the higher the rating.¹⁹ The modern
commonplace method for quantitative analysis of SHU rating uses
high-performance liquid chromatography to directly measure the capsaicinoid
content of a chili pepper variety. Pure capsaicin is a hydrophobic,
colorless, odorless, and crystalline-to-waxy solid at room temperature, and
measures 16,000,000 SHU.

Common peppers

A wide range of intensity is found in commonly used peppers:

Notably hot chili peppers

Some of the world's hottest chili peppers are:


Culinary uses

Chili pepper pods, which are berries, are used fresh or dried. Chilies are
dried to preserve them for long periods of time, which may also be done by

Dried chilies are often ground into powders, although many Mexican dishes
including variations on chiles rellenos use the entire chili. Dried whole
chilies may be reconstituted before grinding to a paste. The chipotle is
the smoked, dried, ripe jalapeño.

Many fresh chilies such as poblano have a tough outer skin that does not
break down on cooking. Chilies are sometimes used whole or in large slices,
by roasting, or other means of blistering or charring the skin, so as not
to entirely cook the flesh beneath. When cooled, the skins will usually
slip off easily.

The leaves of every species of Capsicum are edible. Though almost all other
Solanaceous crops have toxins in their leaves, chili peppers do not. The
leaves, which are mildly bitter and nowhere near as hot as the fruit, are
cooked as greens in Filipino cuisine, where they are called dahon ng sili
(literally "chili leaves"). They are used in the chicken soup, tinola.²⁷ In
Korean cuisine, the leaves may be used in kimchi.²⁸ In Japanese cuisine,
the leaves are cooked as greens, and also cooked in tsukudani style for

Chili is by far the most important fruit in Bhutan. Local markets are never
without chili, always teemed with different colors and sizes, in fresh and
dried form. Bhutanese call this crop ema (in Dzongkha) or solo (in
Sharchop). Chili is a staple fruit in Bhutan; the ema datsi recipe is
entirely made of chili mixed with local cheese. Chili is also an important
ingredient in almost all curries and food recipes in the country.

In India, most households always keep a stack of fresh hot green chilies at
hand, and use them to flavor most curries and dry dishes. It is typically
lightly fried with oil in the initial stages of preparation of the dish.
Some states in India, such as Rajasthan, make entire dishes only by using
spices and chilies.

Chilies are present in many cuisines. Some notable dishes other than the
ones mentioned elsewhere in this article include:

- Paprikash from Hungary uses significant amounts of mild, ground, dried
  chilies, aka paprika, in a braised chicken dish.
- Paprykarz szczeciński is a Polish fish paste with rice, onion, tomato
  concentrate, vegetable oil, chili pepper powder and other spices.
- Chiles en nogada from the Puebla region of Mexico uses fresh mild chilies
  stuffed with meat and covered with a creamy nut-thickened sauce.
- Mole poblano from the city of Puebla in Mexico uses several varieties of
  dried chilies, nuts, spices, and fruits to produce a thick, dark sauce
  for poultry or other meats.
- Arrabbiata sauce from Italy is a tomato-based sauce for pasta always
  including dried hot chilies as well as, Puttanesca sauce which is tomato
  based with olives, capers, anchovy and, sometimes, chilies.
- 'Nduja a more typical example of Italian spicy speciality, from the
  region of Calabria. A soft, pork sausage made 'hot' by the addition of
  the locally grown variety of jalapeño chili.
- Kung Pao chicken (also spelled Gong Bao) from the Sichuan region of China
  uses small hot dried chilies briefly fried in oil to add spice to the oil
  then used for frying.
- Som Tam a Green Papaya Salad from Thai/ Lao cuisine traditionally has, as
  a key ingredient, a fistful of chopped fresh hot Thai chili, pounded in a
- Nam phrik is a traditional Thai sauce prepared with chopped fresh or dry
  chilies in fish sauce and lime juice.
- Sambal Belacan (pronounced 'blachan') is a traditional Malay sauce made
  by frying a mixture of mainly pounded dried chillies and fermented prawn
  paste. It is customarily served with rice dishes and is especially
  popular when mixed with crunchy pan-roasted ikan bilis (sun dried
  anchovies) when it is known as Sambal Ikan Bilis.
- Curry dishes which usually contain fresh or dried chillies.

Fresh or dried chilies are often used to make hot sauce, a liquid condiment
– usually bottled when commercially available – that adds spice to other
dishes. Hot sauces are found in many cuisines including harissa from North
Africa, chili oil from China (known as rāyu in Japan), and sriracha from


Psychologist Paul Rozin suggests that eating chilies is an example of a
"constrained risk" like riding a roller coaster, in which extreme
sensations like pain and fear can be enjoyed because individuals know that
these sensations are not actually harmful. This method lets people
experience extreme feelings without any risk of bodily harm.²⁹


Capsaicin is considered a safe and effective topical analgesic agent in the
management of arthritis pain, herpes zoster-related pain, diabetic
neuropathy, mastectomy pain, and headaches.³⁰ However, a study published in
2010 has linked capsaicin to skin cancer.³¹ ³²

Pepper spray

Main article: Pepper spray

Capsaicin extracted from chilies is used in pepper spray as an irritant, a
form of less-lethal weapon.

Crop defense

Conflicts between farmers and elephants have long been widespread in
African and Asian countries, where pachyderms nightly destroy crops, raid
grain houses, and sometimes kill people. Farmers have found the use of
chilies effective in crop defense against elephants. Elephants don't like
capsaicin, the chemical in chilies that makes them hot. Because the
elephants have a large and sensitive olfactory and nasal system, the smell
of the chili causes them discomfort and deters them from feeding on the
crops. By planting a few rows of the pungent fruit around valuable crops,
farmers create a buffer zone through which the elephants are reluctant to
pass. Chilly-Dung Bombs are also used for this purpose. They are bricks
made of mixing dung and chili, and are burned, creating a noxious smoke
that keeps hungry elephants out of farmers fields. This can lessen
dangerous physical confrontation between people and elephants.³³

Food defense

As birds have a lessened sensitivity to the effects of chili it can be used
to keep mammalian vermin from bird seed (see Evolutionary Advantages

Nutritional value

Red chilies contain large amounts of vitamin C and small amounts of
carotene (provitamin A). Yellow and especially green chilies (which are
essentially unripe fruit) contain a considerably lower amount of both
substances. In addition, peppers are a good source of most B vitamins, and
vitamin B₆ in particular. They are very high in potassium, magnesium, and
iron. Their very high vitamin C content can also substantially increase the
uptake of non-heme iron from other ingredients in a meal, such as beans and

Evolutionary advantages

Birds do not have the same sensitivity to capsaicin, because it targets a
specific pain receptor in mammals. Chili peppers are eaten by birds living
in the chili peppers' natural range. The seeds of the peppers are
distributed by the birds that drop the seeds while eating the pods, and the
seeds pass through the digestive tract unharmed. This relationship may have
promoted the evolution of the protective capsaicin.³⁴ Products based on
this substance have been sold to treat the seeds in bird feeders to deter
squirrels and other mammalian vermin without also deterring birds.
Capsaicin is also a defense mechanism against microbial fungi that invade
through punctures made in the outer skin by various insects.³⁵

Spelling and usage

The three primary spellings are chili, chile and chilli, all of which are
recognized by dictionaries.

- Chili is widely used in the United States³⁶ and Canada.³⁷ However, it is
  also commonly used as a short name for chili con carne (literally chili
  with meat). Most versions are seasoned with chili powder, which can refer
  to pure dried, ground chili peppers, or to a mixture containing other
- Chile is the most common Spanish spelling in Mexico and several other
  Latin American countries,³⁸ as well as some parts of the United States
  and Canada, which refers specifically to this plant and its fruit. In the
  Southwest United States (particularly New Mexico), chile also denotes a
  thick, spicy, un-vinegared sauce, available in red and green varieties,
  and served over the local food.
- Chilli was the original Romanization of the Náhuatl language word for the
  fruit (chīlli)³⁹ and is the preferred British spelling according to the
  Oxford English Dictionary, although it also lists chile and chili as
  variants.⁴⁰ Chilli (and its plural chillies) is the most common spelling
  in Australia, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore and South
  Africa⁴¹ ⁴²

The name of the plant is almost certainly unrelated to that of Chile, the
country, which has an uncertain etymology perhaps relating to local place
names.⁴³ Chile, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico
are some of the Spanish-speaking countries where chilies are known as ají,
a word of Taíno origin. Though pepper originally referred to the genus
Piper, not Capsicum, the latter usage is included in English dictionaries,
including the Oxford English Dictionary (sense 2b of pepper) and
Merriam-Webster.⁴⁴ The word pepper is also commonly used in the botanical
and culinary fields in the names of different types of chili plants and
their fruits.



Immature chilies in the field


upright|The Black Pearl cultivar has round black fruit that ripens to a
  bright red


Cubanelle peppers


The habanero pepper is known for its unique combination of intense flavor,
  aroma and heat


Scotch bonnet chili peppers in a Caribbean market


Chili peppers drying in Kathmandu, Nepal


Woman removing veins and seeds from dried chilies in San Pedro Atocpan,
  Mexico City


Dried chili pepper flakes and fresh chilies


Chili pepper dip in a traditional restaurant in Amman, Jordan

See also

- Capsaicin, the heat simulating chemical in Chili pepper
- Chili grenade, a type of weapon made with chili peppers
- Chili oil, a condiment for adding heat to food
- History of chocolate, which the Mayans drank with ground chili peppers
- Ristra, an arrangement of dried chili pepper pods
- Sweet chili sauce, a condiment for adding a sweet, mild heat taste to
- Taboo food and drink, which in some cultures includes chili peppers


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[3] "Chile Pepper History & Chile Pepper Glossary".
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[32] Hwang, M. K.; Bode, A. M.; Byun, S.; Song, N. R.; Lee, H. J.; Lee, K.
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  Activation of EGFR Signaling but Not TRPV1". Cancer Research 70 (17):
  6859–69. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-4393. PMID 20660715.
[33] Mott, Maryann. "Elephant Crop Raids Foiled by Chili Peppers, Africa
  Project Finds". National Geographic. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
[34] Tewksbury, J. J.; Nabhan, G. P. (2001). "Directed deterrence by
  capsaicin in chilies". Nature 412 (6845): 403–404. doi:10.1038/35086653.
  PMID 11473305.
[35] John Roach (11 August 2008). "Fungus Puts the Heat in Chili Peppers,
  Study Says". Discover Magazine. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
[36] "chili" from Merriam-Webster; other spellings are listed as variants,
  with "Chili" identified as "chiefly British"
[37] The Canadian Oxford Dictionary lists chili as the main entry, and
  labels chile as a variant, and chilli as a British variant.
[38] Heiser, Charles (August 1990). Seed To Civilization: The Story of
  Food. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-79681-0.
[39] "A Brief History of Chilies : Kakawa Chocolate House, Mesoamerican
  Mayan Aztec Drinking Chocolate, Historic European and Colonial American
  Drinking Chocolate, Truffles and More". Retrieved
  23 December 2010.
[40] "Definition for chilli – Oxford Dictionaries Online (World English)". Retrieved 21 April 2012.
[41] Our Bureau. "Business Line : Industry & Economy / Agri-biz : Fall in
  exports crushes chilli prices in Guntur".
  Retrieved 21 April 2012.
[42] "Chilli, Capsicum and Pepper are spicy plants grown for the pod. Green
  chilli is a culinary requirement in any Sri Lankan household". Retrieved 21 April 2012.
[43] "Chili or Pepper?". Retrieved 16 January 2013.
[44] "va=pepper – Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary". 13 August 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2010.

External links

- WildChilli.EU All about Wild Chili's / Capsicums / Peppers
- Plant Cultures: Chilli pepper botany, history and uses
- The Chile Pepper Institute of New Mexico State University
- Capsicums: Innovative Uses of an Ancient Crop
- Chilli: La especia del Nuevo Mundo (Article from Germán Octavio López
  Riquelme about biology, nutrition, culture and medical topics. In
- Complete Chili Peppers List worldwide chili peppers list ordered by
  Scoville Scale


This article is about the People's Republic of China. For the Republic of
China, see Taiwan. For other uses, see China (disambiguation) and PRC

China (ⁱ/ˈtʃaɪnə/; simplified Chinese: 中国; traditional Chinese: 中國; pinyin:
Zhōngguó), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a sovereign
state located in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a
population of over 1.35 billion. The PRC is a single-party state governed
by the Communist Party, with its seat of government in the capital city of
Beijing.¹⁵ It exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous
regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai,
and Chongqing), and two mostly self-governing special administrative
regions (Hong Kong and Macau). The PRC also claims the territories governed
by the Republic of China (ROC), a separate political entity commonly known
as Taiwan today, as a part of its territory, which includes the island of
Taiwan as Taiwan Province, Kinmen and Matsu as a part of Fujian Province
and islands the ROC controls in the South China Sea as a part of Hainan
Province, a claim which is controversial due to the complex political
status of Taiwan.¹⁶

Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometers, China is the world's
second-largest country by land area,¹⁷ and either the third or
fourth-largest by total area, depending on the method of
measurement.[lower-alpha 8] China's landscape is vast and diverse, ranging
from forest steppes and the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts in the arid north
to subtropical forests in the wetter south. The Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir
and Tian Shan mountain ranges separate China from South and Central Asia.
The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third- and sixth-longest in the world,
run from the Tibetan Plateau to the densely populated eastern seaboard.
China's coastline along the Pacific Ocean is 14,500 kilometres (9,000 mi)
long, and is bounded by the Bohai, Yellow, East and South China Seas.

The history of China goes back to the ancient civilization – one of the
world's earliest – that flourished in the fertile basin of the Yellow River
in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based
on hereditary monarchies, known as dynasties, beginning with the
semi-mythological Xia of the Yellow River basin (c. 2000 BCE). Since 221
BCE, when the Qin Dynasty first conquered several states to form a Chinese
empire, the country has expanded, fractured and been reformed numerous
times. The Republic of China (ROC) overthrew the last dynasty in 1911, and
ruled the Chinese mainland until 1949. After the defeat of the Empire of
Japan in World War II, the Communist Party defeated the nationalist
Kuomintang in mainland China and established the People's Republic of China
in Beijing on 1 October 1949, while the Kuomintang relocated the ROC
government to its present capital of Taipei.

China had the largest and most complex economy in the world for most of the
past two thousand years, during which it has seen cycles of prosperity and
decline.¹⁸ ¹⁹ Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China has
become one of the world's fastest-growing major economies. As of 2013, it
is the world's second-largest economy by both nominal total GDP and
purchasing power parity (PPP), and is also the world's largest exporter and
importer of goods.²⁰ China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has
the world's largest standing army, with the second-largest defence
budget.²¹ The PRC has been a United Nations member since 1971, when it
replaced the ROC as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. China
is also a member of numerous formal and informal multilateral
organizations, including the WTO, APEC, BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation
Organization, the BCIM and the G-20. China is a regional power within Asia
and has been characterized as a potential superpower by a number of
commentators.²² ²³


Main article: Names of China

The word "China" is derived from the Persian word Chin (چین), which is from
the Sanskrit word Cīna (चीन).²⁶ It is first recorded in 1516 in the journal
of the Portuguese explorer Duarte Barbosa.²⁷ The journal was translated and
published in England in 1555.²⁸ The traditional theory, proposed in the
17th century by Martino Martini, is that Cīna is derived from "Qin" (秦),
the westernmost of the Chinese kingdoms during the Zhou Dynasty.²⁹ However,
the word was used in early Hindu scripture, including the Mahābhārata (5th
century BC) and the Laws of Manu (2nd century BC).³⁰ ³¹

The official name of the present country is the People's Republic of China
(Chinese: 中华人民共和国; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó). The common Chinese
names for the country are Zhōngguó (Chinese: 中国, from zhōng, "central" or
"middle", and guó, "state" or "states," and in modern times, "nation") and
Zhōnghuá (Chinese: 中华), although the country's official name has been
changed numerous times by successive dynasties and modern governments. The
term Zhōngguó appeared in various ancient texts, such as the Classic of
History of the 6th century BCE,[lower-alpha 9] and in pre-imperial times it
was often used as a cultural concept to distinguish the Huaxia tribes from
perceived "barbarians". The term, which can be either singular or plural,
referred to the group of states or provinces in the central plain, but was
not used as a name for the country as a whole until the nineteenth century.
The Chinese were not unique in regarding their country as "central", with
other civilizations having the same view of themselves.³²


Main articles: History of China and Timeline of Chinese history


Main article: Chinese prehistory

Archaeological evidence suggests that early hominids inhabited China
between 250,000 and 2.24 million years ago.³³ A cave in Zhoukoudian (near
present-day Beijing) exhibits hominid fossils dated at between 680,000 and
780,000 BCE.³⁴ The fossils are of Peking Man, an example of Homo erectus
who used fire.³⁵ The Peking Man site has also yielded remains of Homo
sapiens dating back to 18,000–11,000 BCE.³⁶ Some scholars assert that a
form of proto-writing existed in China as early as 3000 BCE.³⁷

According to Chinese tradition, the first imperial dynasty was the Xia,
which emerged around 2070 BCE.³⁸ However, the dynasty was considered
mythical by historians until scientific excavations found early Bronze Age
sites at Erlitou, Henan in 1959.³⁹ It remains unclear whether these sites
are the remains of the Xia Dynasty or of another culture from the same

Early dynastic rule

Further information: Dynasties in Chinese history

The first Chinese dynasty that left historical records, the loosely feudal
Shang,⁴¹ settled along the Yellow River in eastern China from the 17th to
the 11th century BCE.⁴² The oracle bone script of the Shang Dynasty
represents the oldest form of Chinese writing yet found,⁴³ and is a direct
ancestor of modern Chinese characters.⁴⁴ The Shang were conquered by the
Zhou, who ruled between the 12th and 5th centuries BCE, until its
centralized authority was slowly eroded by feudal warlords. Many
independent states eventually emerged from the weakened Zhou state and
continually waged war with each other in the 300-year Spring and Autumn
Period, only occasionally deferring to the Zhou king. By the time of the
Warring States period of the 5th–3rd centuries BCE, there were seven
powerful sovereign states in what is now China, each with its own king,
ministry and army.

Imperial China

The Warring States period ended in 221 BCE, after the state of Qin
conquered the other six kingdoms and established the first unified Chinese
state. Qin Shi Huang, the emperor of Qin, proclaimed himself the "First
Emperor" (始皇帝) and imposed reforms throughout China, notably the forced
standardization of the Chinese language, measurements, length of cart
axles, and currency. The Qin Dynasty lasted only fifteen years, falling
soon after Qin Shi Huang's death, as its harsh legalist and authoritarian
policies led to widespread rebellion.⁴⁵ ⁴⁶

The subsequent Han Dynasty ruled China between 206 BCE and 220 CE, and
created a lasting Han cultural identity among its populace that has endured
to the present day.⁴⁵ ⁴⁶ The Han Dynasty expanded the empire's territory
considerably with military campaigns reaching Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia and
Central Asia, and also helped establish the Silk Road in Central Asia. Han
China gradually became the largest economy of the ancient world.⁴⁷ The Han
Dynasty adopted Confucianism, a philosophy developed in the Spring and
Autumn period, as its official state ideology. Despite the Han's official
abandonment of Legalism, the official ideology of the Qin, Legalist
institutions and policies remained and formed the basis of the Han

After the collapse of Han, a period of disunion known as the period of the
Three Kingdoms followed.⁴⁹ In 581 CE, China was reunited under the Sui.
However, the Sui Dynasty declined following its defeat in the Goguryeo–Sui
War (598–614).⁵⁰ ⁵¹

Under the succeeding Tang and Song dynasties, Chinese technology and
culture entered a golden age.⁵² The An Shi Rebellion in the 8th century
devastated the country and weakened the dynasty.⁵³ The Song Dynasty was the
first government in world history to issue paper money and the first
Chinese polity to establish a permanent standing navy.⁵⁴ Between the 10th
and 11th centuries, the population of China doubled in size to around 100
million people, mostly due to the expansion of rice cultivation in central
and southern China, and the production of abundant food surpluses. The Song
Dynasty also saw a flourishing of philosophy and the arts, as landscape art
and portrait painting were brought to new levels of maturity and
complexity,⁵⁵ and social elites gathered to view art, share their own and
trade precious artworks. The Song Dynasty saw a revival of Confucianism, in
response to the growth of Buddhism during the Tang.⁵⁶

In the 13th century, China was gradually conquered by the Mongol empire. In
1271, the Mongol leader Kublai Khan established the Yuan Dynasty; the Yuan
conquered the last remnant of the Song Dynasty in 1279. Before the Mongol
invasion, the population of Song China was 120 million citizens; this was
reduced to 60 million by the time of the census in 1300.⁵⁷ A peasant named
Zhu Yuanzhang overthrew the Yuan Dynasty in 1368 and founded the Ming
Dynasty. Under the Ming Dynasty, China enjoyed another golden age,
developing one of the strongest navies in the world and a rich and
prosperous economy amid a flourishing of art and culture. It was during
this period that Zheng He led explorations throughout the world, reaching
as far as Africa.⁵⁸ In the early years of the Ming Dynasty, China's capital
was moved from Nanjing to Beijing. During the Ming Dynasty, philosophers
such as Wang Yangming further critiqued and expanded Neo-Confucianism with
concepts of individualism and innate morality.⁵⁹

In 1644, Beijing was captured by a coalition of rebel forces led by Li
Zicheng, a minor Ming official who led the peasant revolt. The last Ming
Chongzhen Emperor committed suicide when the city fell. The Manchu Qing
Dynasty then allied with Ming Dynasty general Wu Sangui and overthrew Li's
short-lived Shun Dynasty, and subsequently seized control of Beijing, which
became the new capital of the Qing Dynasty.

End of dynastic rule

The Qing dynasty, which lasted from 1644 until 1912, was the last imperial
dynasty of China. In the 19th century, the dynasty experienced Western
imperialism following the First Opium War (1839–42) and the Second Opium
War (1856–60) with Britain. China was forced to sign unequal treaties, pay
compensation, allow extraterritoriality for foreign nationals, and cede
Hong Kong to the British⁶⁰ under the 1842 Treaty of Nanking. The First
Sino-Japanese War (1894–95) resulted in Qing China's loss of influence in
the Korean Peninsula, as well as the cession of Taiwan to Japan.⁶¹

The Qing dynasty also began experiencing internal unrest in which millions
of people died. In the 1850s and 1860s, the failed Taiping Rebellion
ravaged southern China. Other major rebellions included the Punti-Hakka
Clan Wars (1855–67), the Nien Rebellion (1851–68), the Miao Rebellion
(1854–73), the Panthay Rebellion (1856–73) and the Dungan Revolt (1862–77).

In the 19th century, the great Chinese Diaspora began. Losses due to
emigration were added to by conflicts and catastrophes such as the Northern
Chinese Famine of 1876–79, in which between 9 and 13 million people died.⁶²
In 1898, the Guangxu Emperor drafted a reform plan to establish a modern
constitutional monarchy, but he was overthrown by the Empress Dowager Cixi
in a coup d'état. The ill-fated anti-Western Boxer Rebellion of 1899–1901
further weakened the Qing dynasty. The Xinhai Revolution of 1911–12 brought
an end to the Qing dynasty and established the Republic of China.

Republic of China (1912–1949)

Main articles: Republic of China (1912–1949) and History of the Republic of
See also: Taiwan and Taiwan after World War II

On 1 January 1912, the Republic of China was established, and Sun Yat-sen
of the Kuomintang (the KMT or Nationalist Party) was proclaimed provisional
president.⁶³ However, the presidency was later given to Yuan Shikai, a
former Qing general who in 1915 proclaimed himself Emperor of China. In the
face of popular condemnation and opposition from his own Beiyang Army, he
was forced to abdicate and reestablish the republic.⁶⁴

After Yuan Shikai's death in 1916, China was politically fragmented. Its
Beijing-based government was internationally recognized but virtually
powerless; regional warlords controlled most of its territory.⁶⁵ ⁶⁶ In the
late 1920s, the Kuomintang, under Chiang Kai-shek, was able to reunify the
country under its own control with a series of deft military and political
manoeuvrings, known collectively as the Northern Expedition.⁶⁷ ⁶⁸ The
Kuomintang moved the nation's capital to Nanjing and implemented "political
tutelage", an intermediate stage of political development outlined in Sun
Yat-sen's San-min program for transforming China into a modern democratic
state.⁶⁹ ⁷⁰ The political division in China made it difficult for Chiang to
battle the Communists, against whom the Kuomintang had been warring since
1927 in the Chinese Civil War. This war continued successfully for the
Kuomintang, especially after the Communists retreated in the Long March,
until Japanese aggression and the 1936 Xi'an Incident forced Chiang to
confront Imperial Japan.⁷¹

The Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), a theatre of World War II, forced
an uneasy alliance between the Kuomintang and the Communists. Japanese
forces committed numerous war atrocities against the civilian population;
in all, as many as 20 million Chinese civilians died.⁷² An estimated
200,000 Chinese were massacred in the city of Nanjing alone during the
Japanese occupation.⁷³ Japan surrendered unconditionally to China in 1945.
Taiwan, including the Pescadores, was put under the administrative control
of the Republic of China, which immediately claimed sovereignty. China
emerged victorious but war-ravaged and financially drained. The continued
distrust between the Kuomintang and the Communists led to the resumption of
civil war. In 1947, constitutional rule was established, but because of the
ongoing unrest, many provisions of the ROC constitution were never
implemented in mainland China.⁷⁴

People's Republic of China (1949–present)

Main article: History of the People's Republic of China

Major combat in the Chinese Civil War ended in 1949 with the Communist
Party in control of most of mainland China, and the Kuomintang retreating
offshore, reducing the ROC's territory to only Taiwan, Hainan, and their
surrounding islands. On 1 October 1949, Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong
proclaimed the establishment of the People's Republic of China.⁷⁵ In 1950,
the People's Liberation Army succeeded in capturing Hainan from the ROC⁷⁶
and occupying Tibet.⁷⁷ However, remaining Nationalist forces continued to
wage an insurgency in western China throughout the 1950s.⁷⁸

Mao encouraged population growth, and under his leadership the Chinese
population almost doubled from around 550 million to over 900 million.⁷⁹
However, Mao's Great Leap Forward, a large-scale economic and social reform
project, resulted in an estimated 45 million deaths between 1958 and 1961,
mostly from starvation.⁸⁰ Between 1 and 2 million landlords were executed
as "counterrevolutionaries."⁸¹ In 1966, Mao and his allies launched the
Cultural Revolution, sparking a period of political recrimination and
social upheaval which lasted until Mao's death in 1976. In October 1971,
the PRC replaced the Republic of China in the United Nations, and took its
seat as a permanent member of the Security Council.⁸²

After Mao's death in 1976 and the arrest of the faction known as the Gang
of Four, who were blamed for the excesses of the Cultural Revolution, Deng
Xiaoping took power and led the country to significant economic reforms.
The Communist Party subsequently loosened governmental control over
citizens' personal lives and the communes were disbanded in favour of
private land leases. This turn of events marked China's transition from a
planned economy to a mixed economy with an increasingly open market
environment.⁸³ China adopted its current constitution on 4 December 1982.
In 1989, the violent suppression of student protests in Tiananmen Square
brought condemnation and sanctions against the Chinese government from
various countries.⁸⁴

Jiang Zemin, Li Peng and Zhu Rongji led the nation in the 1990s. Under
their administration, China's economic performance pulled an estimated 150
million peasants out of poverty and sustained an average annual gross
domestic product growth rate of 11.2%.⁸⁵ ⁸⁶ The country formally joined the
World Trade Organization in 2001, and maintained its high rate of economic
growth under Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao's leadership in the 2000s. However,
rapid growth also severely impacted the country's resources and
environment,⁸⁷ ⁸⁸ and caused major social displacement.⁸⁹ ⁹⁰ Living
standards continued to improve rapidly despite the late-2000s recession,
but centralized political control remained tight.⁹¹

Preparations for a decadal Communist Party leadership change in 2012 were
marked by factional disputes and political scandals.⁹² During China's 18th
National Communist Party Congress in November 2012, Hu Jintao was replaced
as General Secretary of the Communist Party by Xi Jinping.⁹³ ⁹⁴ Under Xi,
the Chinese government began large-scale efforts to reform its economy,⁹⁵
⁹⁶ which has suffered from structural instabilities and slowing growth.⁹⁷
⁹⁸ ⁹⁹ ¹⁰⁰ The Xi-Li Administration also announced major reforms to the
one-child policy and prison system.¹⁰¹


Main article: Geography of China
A composite satellite image showing the topography of China
Longsheng Rice Terrace in Guangxi
The Li River in Guangxi

Political geography

Main articles: Borders of China and Territorial changes of the People's
Republic of China

The People's Republic of China is the second-largest country in the world
by land area¹⁰² after Russia, and is either the third- or fourth-largest by
total area, after Russia, Canada and, depending on the definition of total
area, the United States.[lower-alpha 10] China's total area is generally
stated as being approximately 9,600,000 km² (3,700,000 sq mi).¹⁰³ Specific
area figures range from 9,572,900 km² (3,696,100 sq mi) according to the
Encyclopædia Britannica,¹⁰⁴ 9,596,961 km² (3,705,407 sq mi) according to
the UN Demographic Yearbook,⁵ to 9,596,961 km² (3,705,407 sq mi) according
to the CIA World Factbook.⁷

China has the longest combined land border in the world, measuring 22,117
km (13,743 mi) from the mouth of the Yalu River to the Gulf of Tonkin.⁷
China borders 14 nations, more than any other country except Russia, which
also borders 14.¹⁰⁵ China extends across much of East Asia, bordering
Vietnam, Laos, and Burma in Southeast Asia; India, Bhutan, Nepal and
Pakistan[lower-alpha 11] in South Asia; Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan
and Kazakhstan in Central Asia; and Russia, Mongolia, and North Korea in
Inner Asia and Northeast Asia. Additionally, China shares maritime
boundaries with South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

Landscape and climate

The South China Sea coast at Hainan
Jiuzhaigou Valley in Sichuan

The territory of China lies between latitudes 18° and 54° N, and longitudes
73° and 135° E. China's landscapes vary significantly across its vast
width. In the east, along the shores of the Yellow Sea and the East China
Sea, there are extensive and densely populated alluvial plains, while on
the edges of the Inner Mongolian plateau in the north, broad grasslands
predominate. Southern China is dominated by hills and low mountain ranges,
while the central-east hosts the deltas of China's two major rivers, the
Yellow River and the Yangtze River. Other major rivers include the Xi,
Mekong, Brahmaputra and Amur. To the west sit major mountain ranges, most
notably the Himalayas. High plateaus feature among the more arid landscapes
of the north, such as the Taklamakan and the Gobi Desert. The world's
highest point, Mount Everest (8,848m), lies on the Sino-Nepalese border.¹⁰⁶
The country's lowest point, and the world's third-lowest, is the dried lake
bed of Ayding Lake (−154m) in the Turpan Depression.¹⁰⁷

China's climate is mainly dominated by dry seasons and wet monsoons, which
lead to pronounced temperature differences between winter and summer. In
the winter, northern winds coming from high-latitude areas are cold and
dry; in summer, southern winds from coastal areas at lower latitudes are
warm and moist.¹⁰⁸ The climate in China differs from region to region
because of the country's highly complex topography.

A major environmental issue in China is the continued expansion of its
deserts, particularly the Gobi Desert.¹⁰⁹ ¹¹⁰ Although barrier tree lines
planted since the 1970s have reduced the frequency of sandstorms, prolonged
drought and poor agricultural practices have resulted in dust storms
plaguing northern China each spring, which then spread to other parts of
East Asia, including Korea and Japan. China's environmental watchdog, Sepa,
stated in 2007 that China is losing a million acres (4,000 km²) per year to
desertification.¹¹¹ Water quality, erosion, and pollution control have
become important issues in China's relations with other countries. Melting
glaciers in the Himalayas could potentially lead to water shortages for
hundreds of millions of people.¹¹²


Main article: Wildlife of China

China is one of 17 megadiverse countries,¹¹³ lying in two of the world's
major ecozones: the Palearctic and the Indomalaya. By one measure, China
has over 34,687 species of animals and vascular plants, making it the
third-most biodiverse country in the world, after Brazil and Colombia.¹¹⁴
The country signed the Rio de Janeiro Convention on Biological Diversity on
11 June 1992, and became a party to the convention on 5 January 1993.¹¹⁵ It
later produced a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, with one
revision that was received by the convention on 21 September 2010.¹¹⁶

China is home to at least 551 species of mammals (the third-highest such
number in the world),¹¹⁷ 1,221 species of birds (eighth),¹¹⁸ 424 species of
reptiles (seventh)¹¹⁹ and 333 species of amphibians (seventh).¹²⁰ China is
the most biodiverse country in each category outside of the tropics.
Wildlife in China share habitat with and bear acute pressure from the
world's largest population of homo sapiens. At least 840 animal species are
threatened, vulnerable or in danger of local extinction in China, due
mainly to human activity such as habitat destruction, pollution and
poaching for food, fur and ingredients for traditional Chinese medicine.¹²¹
Endangered wildlife is protected by law, and as of 2005, the country has
over 2,349 nature reserves, covering a total area of 149.95 million
hectares, 15 percent of China's total land area.¹²²

China has over 32,000 species of vascular plants,¹²³ and is home to a
variety of forest types. Cold coniferous forests predominate in the north
of the country, supporting animal species such as moose and Asian black
bear, along with over 120 bird species.¹²⁴ The understorey of moist conifer
forests may contain thickets of bamboo. In higher montane stands of juniper
and yew, the bamboo is replaced by rhododendrons. Subtropical forests,
which are predominate in central and southern China, support as many as
146,000 species of flora.¹²⁴ Tropical and seasonal rainforests, though
confined to Yunnan and Hainan Island, contain a quarter of all the animal
and plant species found in China.¹²⁴ China has over 10,000 recorded species
of fungi,¹²⁵ and of them, nearly 6,000 are higher fungi.¹²⁶

Environmental issues

Main article: Environmental issues in China
See also: Water resources of the People's Republic of China

In recent decades, China has suffered from severe environmental
deterioration and pollution.¹²⁷ ¹²⁸ While regulations such as the 1979
Environmental Protection Law are fairly stringent, they are poorly
enforced, as they are frequently disregarded by local communities and
government officials in favour of rapid economic development.¹²⁹ Urban air
pollution is a severe health issue in the country; the World Bank estimated
in 2013 that 16 of the world's 20 most-polluted cities are located in
China.¹³⁰ China is the world's largest carbon dioxide emitter.¹³¹ The
country also has water problems. Roughly 298 million Chinese in rural areas
do not have access to safe drinking water,¹³² and 40% of China's rivers had
been polluted by industrial and agricultural waste by late 2011.¹³³ This
crisis is compounded by increasingly severe water shortages, particularly
in the north-east of the country.¹³⁴ ¹³⁵

However, China is the world's leading investor in renewable energy
commercialization, with $52 billion invested in 2011 alone;¹³⁶ ¹³⁷ ¹³⁸ it
is a major manufacturer of renewable energy technologies and invests
heavily in local-scale renewable energy projects.¹³⁹ ¹⁴⁰ By 2009, over 17%
of China's energy was derived from renewable sources – most notably
hydroelectric power plants, of which China has a total installed capacity
of 197 GW.¹⁴¹ In 2011, the Chinese government announced plans to invest
four trillion yuan (US$618.55 billion) in water infrastructure and
desalination projects over a ten-year period, and to complete construction
of a flood prevention and anti-drought system by 2020.¹³⁴ ¹⁴² In 2013,
China began a five-year, US$277-billion effort to reduce air pollution,
particularly in the north of the country.¹⁴³


Main article: Politics of the People's Republic of China

The People's Republic of China is one of the world's few remaining
socialist states openly endorsing communism (see Ideology of the Communist
Party of China). The Chinese government has been variously described as
communist and socialist, but also as authoritarian and corporatist,¹⁴⁴ with
heavy restrictions in many areas, most notably against free access to the
Internet, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, the right to have
children, free formation of social organizations and freedom of
religion.¹⁴⁵ Its current political, ideological and economic system has
been termed by its leaders as the "people's democratic dictatorship",
"socialism with Chinese characteristics" (which is Marxism adapted to
Chinese circumstances) and the "socialist market economy" respectively.¹⁴⁶

Communist Party

The country is ruled by the Communist Party of China (CPC), whose power is
enshrined in China's constitution.¹⁴⁷ The Chinese electoral system is
hierarchical, whereby local People's Congresses are directly elected, and
all higher levels of People's Congresses up to the National People's
Congress (NPC) are indirectly elected by the People's Congress of the level
immediately below.¹⁴⁸ The political system is decentralized, and provincial
and sub-provincial leaders have a significant amount of autonomy.¹⁴⁹ There
are other political parties in China, referred to in China as democratic
parties, which participate in the National People's Congress and the
Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).¹⁵⁰

Compared to its closed-door policies until the mid-1970s, the
liberalization of China has resulted in the administrative climate being
less restrictive than before. China supports the Leninist principle of
"democratic centralism",¹⁵¹ but the elected National People's Congress has
been described as a "rubber stamp" body.¹⁵² As a single-party state, the
General Secretary of the Communist Party of China holds ultimate power and
authority over state and government.[lower-alpha 12]


The President of China is the titular head of state, serving as the
ceremonial figurehead under National People's Congress.[lower-alpha 13] The
Premier of China is the head of government, presiding over the State
Council composed of four vice premiers and the heads of ministries and
commissions. The incumbent President is Xi Jinping, who is also the General
Secretary of the Communist Party of China and the Chairman of the Central
Military Commission, making him China's paramount leader.⁹³ The incumbent
Premier is Li Keqiang, who is also a senior member of the CPC Politburo
Standing Committee, China's de facto top decision-making body.¹⁵⁵

There have been some moves toward political liberalization, in that open
contested elections are now held at the village and town levels.¹⁵⁶ ¹⁵⁷
However, the Party retains effective control over government appointments:
in the absence of meaningful opposition, the CPC wins by default most of
the time. Political concerns in China include the growing gap between rich
and poor and government corruption.¹⁵⁸ ¹⁵⁹ Nonetheless, the level of public
support for the government and its management of the nation is high, with
80–95% of Chinese citizens expressing satisfaction with the central
government, according to a 2011 survey.¹⁶⁰

Administrative divisions

Main articles: Administrative divisions of China, Districts of Hong Kong
and Municipalities of Macau

The People's Republic of China has administrative control over 22 provinces
and considers Taiwan to be its 23rd province, although Taiwan is currently
and independently governed by the Republic of China, which disputes the
PRC's claim.¹⁶¹ China also has five subdivisions officially termed
autonomous regions, each with a designated minority group; four
municipalities; and two Special Administrative Regions (SARs), which enjoy
a degree of political autonomy. These 22 provinces, five autonomous
regions, and four municipalities can be collectively referred to as
"mainland China", a term which usually excludes the SARs of Hong Kong and
Macau. None of these divisions are recognized by the ROC government, which
claims the entirety of the PRC's territory.

Foreign relations

Main article: Foreign relations of China

The PRC has diplomatic relations with 171 countries and maintains embassies
in 162.¹⁶² Its legitimacy is disputed by the Republic of China and a few
other countries; it is thus the largest and most populous state with
limited recognition. In 1971, the PRC replaced the Republic of China as the
sole representative of China in the United Nations and as one of the five
permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.¹⁶³ China was also
a former member and leader of the Non-Aligned Movement, and still considers
itself an advocate for developing countries.¹⁶⁴ Along with Brazil, Russia,
India and South Africa, China is a member of the BRICS group of emerging
major economies and hosted the group's third official summit at Sanya,
Hainan in April 2011.¹⁶⁵

Under its interpretation of the One-China policy, Beijing has made it a
precondition to establishing diplomatic relations that the other country
acknowledges its claim to Taiwan and severs official ties with the
government of the Republic of China. Chinese officials have protested on
numerous occasions when foreign countries have made diplomatic overtures to
Taiwan,¹⁶⁶ especially in the matter of armament sales.¹⁶⁷

Much of current Chinese foreign policy is reportedly based on Premier Zhou
Enlai's Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and is also driven by the
concept of "harmony without uniformity", which encourages diplomatic
relations between states despite ideological differences.¹⁶⁸ This policy
may have led China to support states that are regarded as dangerous or
repressive by Western nations, such as Zimbabwe, North Korea and Iran.¹⁶⁹
China has a close economic and military relationship with Russia,¹⁷⁰ and
the two states often vote in unison in the UN Security Council.¹⁷¹ ¹⁷² ¹⁷³

Trade relations

In recent decades, China has played an increasing role in calling for free
trade areas and security pacts amongst its Asia-Pacific neighbours. In
2004, it proposed an entirely new East Asia Summit (EAS) framework as a
forum for regional security issues.¹⁷⁴ The EAS, which includes ASEAN Plus
Three, India, Australia and New Zealand, held its inaugural summit in 2005.
China is also a founding member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
(SCO), along with Russia and the Central Asian republics. China became a
member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 11 December 2001.

In 2000, the United States Congress approved "permanent normal trade
relations" (PNTR) with China, allowing Chinese exports in at the same low
tariffs as goods from most other countries.¹⁷⁵ China has a significant
trade surplus with the United States, its most important export market.¹⁷⁶
In the early 2010s, US politicians argued that the Chinese yuan was
significantly undervalued, giving China an unfair trade advantage.¹⁷⁷ ¹⁷⁸
¹⁷⁹ In recent decades, China has followed a policy of engaging with African
nations for trade and bilateral co-operation;¹⁸⁰ ¹⁸¹ ¹⁸² in 2012,
Sino-African trade totalled over US$160 billion.¹⁸³ China has furthermore
strengthened its ties with major South American economies, becoming the
largest trading partner of Brazil and building strategic links with
Argentina.¹⁸⁴ ¹⁸⁵

Territorial disputes

Main article: Foreign relations of China § International territorial
See also: List of wars involving the People's Republic of China

In addition to claiming all of Taiwan, China has been involved in a number
of other international territorial disputes. Since the 1990s, China has
been involved in negotiations to resolve its disputed land borders,
including a disputed border with India and an undefined border with Bhutan.
China is additionally involved in multilateral disputes over the ownership
of several small islands in the East and South China Seas, such as the
Senkaku Islands and the Scarborough Shoal.¹⁸⁶ ¹⁸⁷ On 21 May 2014 President
Xi, speaking at a conference in Shanghai, pledged to settle China's
territorial disputes peacefully. "China stays committed to seeking peaceful
settlement of disputes with other countries over territorial sovereignty
and maritime rights and interests," he said.¹⁸⁸

Emerging superpower status

China is regularly hailed as a potential new superpower, with certain
commentators citing its rapid economic progress, growing military might,
very large population, and increasing international influence as signs that
it will play a prominent global role in the 21st century.²³ ¹⁸⁹ Others,
however, warn that economic bubbles and demographic imbalances could slow
or even halt China's growth as the century progresses.¹⁹⁰ ¹⁹¹ Some authors
also question the definition of "superpower", arguing that China's large
economy alone would not qualify it as a superpower, and noting that it
lacks the military and cultural influence of the United States.¹⁹²

Sociopolitical issues, human rights and reform

See also: Human rights in China, Hukou system, Social welfare in China,
Elections in the People's Republic of China, Censorship in China and
Feminism in China

The Chinese democracy movement, social activists, and some members of the
Communist Party of China have all identified the need for social and
political reform. While economic and social controls have been
significantly relaxed in China since the 1970s, political freedom is still
tightly restricted. The Constitution of the People's Republic of China
states that the "fundamental rights" of citizens include freedom of speech,
freedom of the press, the right to a fair trial, freedom of religion,
universal suffrage, and property rights. However, in practice, these
provisions do not afford significant protection against criminal
prosecution by the state.¹⁹³ ¹⁹⁴ Censorship of political speech and
information, most notably on the Internet,¹⁹⁵ ¹⁹⁶ is openly and routinely
used in China to silence criticism of the government and the ruling
Communist Party.¹⁹⁷ ¹⁹⁸ In 2005, Reporters Without Borders ranked China
159th out of 167 states in its Annual World Press Freedom Index, indicating
a very low level of perceived press freedom.¹⁹⁹

Rural migrants to China's cities often find themselves treated as
second-class citizens by the hukou household registration system, which
controls access to state benefits.²⁰⁰ ²⁰¹ Property rights are often poorly
protected,²⁰⁰ and taxation disproportionately affects poorer citizens.²⁰¹
However, a number of rural taxes have been reduced or abolished since the
early 2000s, and additional social services provided to rural dwellers.²⁰²

A number of foreign governments, foreign press agencies and NGOs also
routinely criticize China's human rights record, alleging widespread civil
rights violations such as detention without trial, forced abortions,²⁰⁴
forced confessions, torture, restrictions of fundamental rights,¹⁴⁵ ²⁰⁵ ²⁰⁶
and excessive use of the death penalty.²⁰⁷ ²⁰⁸ The government has
suppressed demonstrations by organizations that it considers a potential
threat to "social stability", as was the case with the Tiananmen Square
protests of 1989. The Chinese state is regularly accused of large-scale
repression and human rights abuses in Tibet and Xinjiang, including violent
police crackdowns and religious suppression.²⁰⁹ ²¹⁰

The Chinese government has responded to foreign criticism by arguing that
the notion of human rights should take into account a country's present
level of economic development and the "people's rights to subsistence and
development".²¹¹ It emphasizes the rise in the Chinese standard of living,
literacy rate and average life expectancy since the 1970s, as well as
improvements in workplace safety and efforts to combat natural disasters
such as the perennial Yangtze River floods.²¹¹ ²¹² ²¹³ Furthermore, some
Chinese politicians have spoken out in support of democratization, although
others remain more conservative.²¹⁴ Some major reform efforts have been
conducted; for an instance in November 2013, the government announced its
plans to the abolish the much-criticized re-education through labour
program.¹⁰¹ Although during the 2000s and early 2010s, the Chinese
government was increasingly tolerant of NGOs that offer practical,
efficient solutions to social problems, such "third sector" activity
remained heavily regulated.²¹⁵


Main article: People's Liberation Army

With 2.3 million active troops, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is the
largest standing military force in the world, commanded by the Central
Military Commission (CMC).²¹⁶ The PLA consists of the People's Liberation
Army Ground Force (PLAGF), the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), the
People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), and a strategic nuclear force,
the Second Artillery Corps. According to the Chinese government, China's
military expenditure in 2012 totalled US$100 billion, constituting the
world's second-largest military budget.²¹⁷ However, a 2009 report by the
U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense argued that China does not report
its real level of military spending, which is allegedly much higher than
the official budget.²¹⁸

As a recognized nuclear weapons state, China is considered both a major
regional military power and a potential military superpower.²¹⁹ According
to a 2013 report by the US Department of Defense, China fields between 50
and 75 nuclear ICBMs, along with a number of SRBMs.²¹ However, compared
with the other four UN Security Council Permanent Members, China has a
relatively limited power projection capabilities.²²⁰ To offset this, it has
developed numerous power projection assets – its first aircraft carrier
entered service in 2012,²²¹ ²²² ²²³ ²²⁴ and it maintains a substantial
fleet of submarines, including several nuclear-powered attack and ballistic
missile submarines.²²⁵ China has furthermore established a network of
foreign military relationships along critical sea lanes.²²⁶

China has made significant progress in modernising its air force since the
early 2000s, purchasing Russian fighter jets such as the Sukhoi Su-30, and
also manufacturing its own modern fighters, most notably the Chengdu J-10
and the Shenyang J-11, J-15 and J-16.²²¹ ²²⁷ China is furthermore engaged
in developing an indigenous stealth aircraft and numerous combat drones.²²⁸
²²⁹ ²³⁰ China has also updated its ground forces, replacing its ageing
Soviet-derived tank inventory with numerous variants of the modern Type 99
tank, and upgrading its battlefield C3I and C4I systems to enhance its
network-centric warfare capabilities.²³¹ In addition, China has developed
or acquired numerous advanced missile systems,²³² ²³³ including
anti-satellite missiles,²³⁴ cruise missiles²³⁵ and submarine-launched
nuclear ICBMs.²³⁶


Main articles: Economy of China, Agriculture in China and List of Chinese
administrative divisions by GDP

As of 2013, China has the world's second-largest economy in terms of
nominal GDP, totalling approximately US$9.3253 trillion according to the
International Monetary. If purchasing power parity (PPP) is taken into
account (US$13.395 trillion in 2013), China's economy is again second only
to the United States. In 2013, its PPP GDP per capita was US$9,844, while
nominal GDP per capita was US$6,747. Both cases put China behind around
ninety countries (out of 183 countries on the IMF list) in global GDP per
capita rankings.²³⁸

Economic history and growth

Main article: Economic history of China (1949–present)

From its founding in 1949 until late 1978, the People's Republic of China
was a Soviet-style centrally planned economy. Following Mao's death in 1976
and the consequent end of the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping and the
new Chinese leadership began to reform the economy and move towards a more
market-oriented mixed economy under one-party rule. Agricultural
collectivization was dismantled and farmlands privatized, while foreign
trade became a major new focus, leading to the creation of Special Economic
Zones (SEZs). Inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were restructured
and unprofitable ones were closed outright, resulting in massive job
losses. Modern-day China is mainly characterized as having a market economy
based on private property ownership,²³⁹ and is one of the leading examples
of state capitalism.²⁴⁰ ²⁴¹ The state still dominates in strategic "pillar"
sectors such as energy production and heavy industries, but private
enterprise has expanded enormously, with around 30 million private
businesses recorded in 2008.²⁴² ²⁴³ ²⁴⁴ ²⁴⁵

Since economic liberalization began in 1978, China has been among the
world's fastest-growing economies,²⁴⁶ relying largely on investment- and
export-led growth.²⁴⁷ According to the IMF, China's annual average GDP
growth between 2001 and 2010 was 10.5%. Between 2007 and 2011, China's
economic growth rate was equivalent to all of the G7 countries' growth
combined.²⁴⁸ According to the Global Growth Generators index announced by
Citigroup in February 2011, China has a very high 3G growth rating.²⁴⁹ Its
high productivity, low labour costs and relatively good infrastructure have
made it a global leader in manufacturing. However, the Chinese economy is
highly energy-intensive and inefficient;²⁵⁰ China became the world's
largest energy consumer in 2010,²⁵¹ relies on coal to supply over 70% of
its energy needs, and surpassed the US to become the world's largest oil
importer in September 2013.²⁵² ²⁵³ However, China's economic growth and
industrialization has damaged its environment, and in the early 2010s,
China's economic growth rate began to slow amid domestic credit
troubles—international demand for Chinese exports has weakened and this has
led to turmoil in the global economy.²⁵⁴ ²⁵⁵ ²⁵⁶

In the online realm, China's e-commerce industry has grown more slowly than
the EU and the US, with a significant period of development occurring from
around 2009 onwards. According to Credit Suisse, the total value of online
transactions in China grew from an insignificant size in 2008 to around RMB
4 trillion (US$660 billion) in 2012. Alipay has the biggest market share in
China with 300 million users and control of just under half of China's
online payment market in February 2014, while Tenpay's share is around 20
percent, and China UnionPay's share is slightly greater than 10 percent.²⁵⁷

China in the global economy

China is a member of the WTO and is the world's largest trading power, with
a total international trade value of US$3.87 trillion in 2012.²⁰ Its
foreign exchange reserves reached US$2.85 trillion by the end of 2010, an
increase of 18.7% over the previous year, making its reserves by far the
world's largest.²⁵⁸ ²⁵⁹ As of 2009, China owns an estimated $1.6 trillion
of US securities.²⁶⁰ China, holding over US$1.16 trillion in US Treasury
bonds,²⁶¹ is the largest foreign holder of US public debt.²⁶² ²⁶³ In 2012,
China was the world's largest recipient of inward foreign direct investment
(FDI), attracting $253 billion.²⁶⁴ China also invests abroad, with a total
outward FDI of $62.4 billion in 2012,²⁶⁴ and a number of major takeovers of
foreign firms by Chinese companies.²⁶⁵ China's undervalued exchange rate
has caused friction with other major economies,¹⁷⁸ ²⁶⁶ ²⁶⁷ and it has also
been widely criticized for manufacturing large quantities of counterfeit
goods.²⁶⁸ ²⁶⁹

China ranked 29th in the Global Competitiveness Index in 2009,²⁷¹ although
it is only ranked 136th among the 179 countries measured in the 2011 Index
of Economic Freedom.²⁷² In 2011, 61 Chinese companies were listed in the
Fortune Global 500.²⁷³ Measured by total revenues, three of the world's top
ten most valuable companies in 2011 were Chinese, including fifth-ranked
Sinopec Group, sixth-ranked China National Petroleum and seventh-ranked
State Grid (the world's largest electric utilities company).²⁷³

Class and income equality

See also: Income inequality in China

China's middle-class population (if defined as those with annual income of
between US$10,000 and US$60,000) had reached more than 300 million by
2012.²⁷⁴ According to the Hurun Report, the number of US dollar
billionaires in China increased from 130 in 2009 to 251 in 2012, giving
China the world's second-highest number of billionaires.²⁷⁵ ²⁷⁶ China's
domestic retail market was worth over 20 trillion yuan (US$3.2 trillion) in
2012²⁷⁷ and is growing at over 12% annually as of 2013,²⁷⁸ while the
country's luxury goods market has expanded immensely, with 27.5% of the
global share.²⁷⁹ However, in recent years, China's rapid economic growth
has contributed to severe consumer inflation,²⁸⁰ ²⁸¹ leading to increased
government regulation.²⁸² China has a high level of economic inequality,²⁸³
which has increased in the past few decades.²⁸⁴ In 2012, China's Gini
coefficient was 0.474.²⁸⁵

Internationalization of the renminbi

Main article: Internationalization of the renminbi

Since 2008 global financial crisis, China realized the dependency of US
Dollar and the weakness of the international monetary system.²⁸⁶ The RMB
Internationalization accelerated in 2009 when China established dim sum
bond market and expanded the Cross-Border Trade RMB Settlement Pilot
Project, which helps establish pools of offshore RMB liquidity.²⁸⁷ ²⁸⁸

In November 2010, Russia began using the Chinese renminbi in its bilateral
trade with China.²⁸⁹ This was soon followed by Japan,²⁹⁰ Australia,²⁹¹
Singapore,²⁹² the United Kingdom,²⁹³ and Canada.²⁹⁴ As a result of the
rapid internationalization of the renminbi, it became the
eighth-most-traded currency in the world in 2013.²⁹⁵

Science and technology

Main articles: Science and technology in China and Chinese space program


China was a world leader in science and technology until the Ming Dynasty.
Ancient Chinese discoveries and inventions, such as papermaking, printing,
the compass, and gunpowder (the Four Great Inventions), later became
widespread in Asia and Europe. Chinese mathematicians were the first to use
negative numbers.²⁹⁶ ²⁹⁷ However, by the 17th century, the Western world
had surpassed China in scientific and technological development.²⁹⁸ The
causes of this Great Divergence continue to be debated.²⁹⁹

After repeated military defeats by Western nations in the 19th century,
Chinese reformers began promoting modern science and technology as part of
the Self-Strengthening Movement. After the Communists came to power in
1949, efforts were made to organize science and technology based on the
model of the Soviet Union, in which scientific research was part of central
planning.³⁰⁰ After Mao's death in 1976, science and technology was
established as one of the Four Modernizations,³⁰¹ and the Soviet-inspired
academic system was gradually reformed.³⁰²

Modern era

Since the end of the Cultural Revolution, China has made significant
investments in scientific research,³⁰³ spending over US$100 billion on
scientific research and development in 2011 alone.³⁰⁴ Science and
technology are seen as vital for achieving economic and political goals,
and are held as a source of national pride to a degree sometimes described
as "techno-nationalism".³⁰⁵ While Chinese-born scientists have won the
Nobel Prize in Physics four times and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry once,
these scientists had all earned their doctorates and conducted their
award-winning research in the West.[lower-alpha 14]

China is rapidly developing its education system with an emphasis on
science, mathematics and engineering; in 2009, it produced over 10,000
Ph.D. engineering graduates, and as many as 500,000 BSc graduates, more
than any other country.³¹⁰ China is also the world's second-largest
publisher of scientific papers, producing 121,500 in 2010 alone, including
5,200 in leading international scientific journals.³¹¹ Chinese technology
companies such as Huawei and Lenovo have become world leaders in
telecommunications and personal computing,³¹² ³¹³ ³¹⁴ and Chinese
supercomputers are consistently ranked among the world's most powerful.³¹⁵
³¹⁶ Currently China is experiencing a significant growth in the use of
industrial robots; from 2008 to 2011, the installation of multi-role robots
has risen by 136 percent.³¹⁷

The Chinese space program is one of the world's most active, and is a major
source of national pride.³¹⁸ ³¹⁹ In 1970, China launched its first
satellite, Dong Fang Hong I, becoming the fifth country to do so
independently.³²⁰ In 2003, China became the third country to independently
send humans into space, with Yang Liwei's spaceflight aboard Shenzhou 5; as
of June 2013, ten Chinese nationals have journeyed into space. Two of them
are women. In 2011, China's first space station module, Tiangong-1, was
launched, marking the first step in a project to assemble a large manned
station by the early 2020s.³²¹ In 2013, China successfully landed the
Chang'e 3 probe and Yutu rover onto the moon. The rover is expected to last
3 months and the lander up to one year. China plans to collect lunar soil
samples by 2017.³²²



Main article: Telecommunications in China

China currently has the largest number of active cellphones of any country
in the world, with over 1 billion users by February 2012.³²³ It also has
the world's largest number of internet and broadband users,³²⁴ with over
591 million internet users as of 2013, equivalent to around 44% of its
population.³²⁵ A 2013 report found that the national average internet
connection speed is 3.14 MB/s.³²⁶ As of July 2013, China accounts for 24%
of the world's internet-connected devices.³²⁷

China Telecom and China Unicom, the world's two largest broadband
providers, accounted for 20% of global broadband subscribers. China Telecom
alone serves more than 50 million broadband subscribers, while China Unicom
serves more than 40 million.³²⁸ Several Chinese telecommunications
companies, most notably Huawei and ZTE, have been accused of spying for the
Chinese military.³²⁹

China is developing its own satellite navigation system, dubbed Beidou,
which began offering commercial navigation services across Asia in 2012,³³⁰
and is planned to offer global coverage by 2020.³³¹


Main article: Transport in China

Since the late 1990s, China's national road network has been significantly
expanded through the creation of a network of national highways and
expressways. In 2011 China's highways had reached a total length of 85,000
km (53,000 mi), making it the longest highway system in the world.³³² In
1991, there were only six bridges across the main stretch of the Yangtze
River, which bisects the country into northern and southern halves. By
October 2014, there were 81 such bridges and tunnels.

China has the world's largest market for automobiles, having surpassed the
United States in both auto sales and production. Auto sales in 2009
exceeded 13.6 million³³³ and reach 40 million by 2020.³³⁴ A side-effect of
the rapid growth of China's road network has been a significant rise in
traffic accidents,³³⁵ with poorly enforced traffic laws cited as a possible
cause—in 2011 alone, around 62,000 Chinese died in road accidents.³³⁶ In
urban areas, bicycles remain a common mode of transport, despite the
increasing prevalence of automobiles – as of 2012, there are approximately
470 million bicycles in China.³³⁷

China's railways, which are state-owned, are among the busiest in the
world, handling a quarter of the world's rail traffic volume on only 6
percent of the world's tracks in 2006.³³⁸ ³³⁹ As of 2013, the country had
103,144 km (64,091 mi) of railways, the third longest network in the
world.³⁴⁰ All provinces and regions are connected to the rail network
except Macau. The railways strain to meet enormous demand particularly
during the Chinese New Year holiday, when the world's largest annual human
migration takes place.³³⁹ In 2013, Chinese railways delivered 2.106 billion
passenger trips, generating 1,059.56 billion passenger-kilometers and
carried 3.967 billion tons of freight, generating 2,917.4 billion cargo

China's high-speed rail (HSR) system, built entirely since the early 2000s,
had 11,028 kilometres (6,852 miles) of track in 2013 and was the longest
HSR network in the world.³⁴¹ The network includes the
Beijing–Guangzhou–Shenzhen High-Speed Railway, the single longest HSR line
in the world, and the Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway, which has three
of longest railroad bridges in the world.³⁴² The HSR track network is set
to reach approximately 16,000 km (9,900 mi) by 2020.³⁴³ The Shanghai Maglev
Train, which reaches 431 km/h (268 mph), is the fastest commercial train
service in the world.³⁴⁴

As of May 2014, 20 Chinese cities have urban mass transit systems in
operation, with a dozen more to join them by 2020.³⁴⁵ The Shanghai Metro,
Beijing Subway, Guangzhou Metro, Hong Kong MTR and Shenzhen Metro are among
the longest and busiest in the world.

There were 182 commercial airports in China in 2012. With 82 new airports
planned to open by 2015, more than two-thirds of the airports under
construction worldwide in 2013 were in China,³⁴⁶ and Boeing expects that
China's fleet of active commercial aircraft in China will grow from 1,910
in 2011 to 5,980 in 2031.³⁴⁶ With rapid expansion in civil aviation, the
largest airports in China have also joined the ranks of the busiest in the
world. In 2013, Beijing's Capital Airport ranked second in the world by
passenger traffic (it was 26th in 2002). Since 2010, the Hong Kong
International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport have ranked
first and third in air cargo tonnage.

Some 80% of China's airspace remains restricted for military use, and
Chinese airlines made up eight of the 10 worst-performing Asian airlines in
terms of delays.³⁴⁷ China has over 2,000 river and seaports, about 130 of
which are open to foreign shipping. In 2012, the Ports of Shanghai, Hong
Kong, Shenzhen, Ningbo-Zhoushan, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Tianjin, Dalian ranked
in the top in the world in in container traffic and cargo tonnage .³⁴⁸

The Port of Shanghai's deep water harbour on Yangshan Island in the
Hangzhou Bay became the world's busiest container port in 2010


Main article: Demographics of China

The national census of 2010 recorded the population of the People's
Republic of China as approximately 1,370,536,875. About 16.60% of the
population were 14 years old or younger, 70.14% were between 15 and 59
years old, and 13.26% were over 60 years old.³⁴⁹ The population growth rate
for 2013 is estimated to be 0.46%.³⁵⁰

Although a middle-income country by Western standards, China's rapid growth
has pulled hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty since 1978.
Today, about 10% of the Chinese population lives below the poverty line of
US$1 per day, down from 64% in 1978. Urban unemployment in China reportedly
declined to 4% by the end of 2007.³⁵¹ At present, urban unemployment rate
of China is about 4.1%.³⁵² ³⁵³

With a population of over 1.3 billion and dwindling natural resources, the
government of China is very concerned about its population growth rate and
has attempted since 1979, with mixed results,³⁵⁴ to implement a strict
family planning policy, known as the "one-child policy." Before 2013, this
policy sought to restrict families to one child each, with exceptions for
ethnic minorities and a degree of flexibility in rural areas. A major
loosening of the policy was enacted in December 2013, allowing families to
have two children if one parent is an only child.³⁵⁵ China's family
planning minister indicated in 2008 that the one-child policy would be
maintained until at least 2020.³⁵⁶ The one-child policy is resisted,
particularly in rural areas, primarily because of the need for agricultural
labour and a traditional preference for boys. Families who breach the
policy often lie during the census.³⁵⁷ Data from the 2010 census implies
that the total fertility rate may now be around 1.4.³⁵⁸

The policy, along with traditional preference for boys, may be contributing
to an imbalance in the sex ratio at birth.³⁵⁹ ³⁶⁰ According to the 2010
census, the sex ration at birth was 118.06 boys for every 100 girls,³⁶¹
which is beyond the normal range of around 105 boys for every 100 girls.³⁶²
The 2010 census found that males accounted for 51.27 percent of the total
population.³⁶¹ However, China's sex ratio is more balanced than it was in
1953, when males accounted for 51.82 percent of the total population.³⁶¹

Ethnic groups

Main articles: List of ethnic groups in China, Ethnic minorities in China
and Ethnic groups in Chinese history

China officially recognizes 56 distinct ethnic groups, the largest of which
are the Han Chinese, who constitute about 91.51% of the total population.⁹
The Han Chinese – the world's largest single ethnic group³⁶³ – outnumber
other ethnic groups in every provincial-level division except Tibet and
Xinjiang.³⁶⁴ Ethnic minorities account for about 8.49% of the population of
China, according to the 2010 census.⁹ Compared with the 2000 population
census, the Han population increased by 66,537,177 persons, or 5.74%, while
the population of the 55 national minorities combined increased by
7,362,627 persons, or 6.92%.⁹ The 2010 census recorded a total of 593,832
foreign citizens living in China. The largest such groups were from South
Korea (120,750), the United States (71,493) and Japan (66,159).³⁶⁵


Main articles: Languages of China and List of endangered languages in China

There are as many as 292 living languages in China.³⁶⁶ The languages most
commonly spoken belong to the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language
family, which contains Mandarin (spoken natively by 70% of the
population),³⁶⁷ and other Chinese languages: Wu (including Shanghainese),
Yue (including Cantonese and Taishanese), Min (including Hokkien and
Teochew), Xiang, Gan, and Hakka. Languages of the Tibeto-Burman branch,
including Tibetan, Qiang, Naxi and Yi, are spoken are spoken across the
Tibetan and Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau. Other ethnic minority languages in
southwest China include Zhuang, Thai, Dong and Sui of the Tai-Kadai family,
Miao and Yao of the Hmong–Mien family, and Wa of the Austroasiatic family.
Across northeastern and northwestern China, minority ethnic groups speak
Altaic languages including Manchu, Mongolian and several Turkic languages:
Uyghur, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Salar and Western Yugur. Korean is spoken natively
along the border with North Korea. Sarikoli, the language of Tajiks in
western Xinjiang, is an Indo-European language. Taiwanese aborigines,
including a small population on the mainland, speak Austronesian

Standard Mandarin, a variety of Mandarin based on the Beijing dialect, is
the official national language of China and is used as a lingua franca in
the country between people of different linguistic backgrounds.³⁶⁹

Chinese characters have been used as the written script for the Sinitic
languages for thousands of years. They allow speakers of mutually
unintelligible Chinese languages and dialects to communicate with each
other through writing. In 1956, the government introduced simplified
characters, which have supplanted the older traditional characters in
mainland China. Chinese characters are romanized using the Pinyin system.
Tibetan uses an alphabet based on an Indic script. Uyghur is most commonly
written in a Perseo-Arabic script. The Mongolian script used in China and
the Manchu script are both derived from the Old Uyghur alphabet. Modern
Zhuang uses the Latin alphabet.


See also: List of cities in China, List of cities in China by population
and Metropolitan regions of China

China has urbanized significantly in the past few decades. The percent of
the country's population living in urban areas increased from 20% in 1990
to 46% in 2007.³⁷⁰ It is estimated that China's urban population will reach
one billion by 2030.³⁷⁰ As of 2012, there are more than 262 million migrant
workers in China.³⁷¹ Most of them are from rural areas and seek work in the

China has over 160 cities with a population of over one million,³⁷²
including the seven megacities (cities with a population of over 10
million) of Chongqing, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Shenzhen, and
Wuhan.³⁷³ ³⁷⁴ ³⁷⁵ By 2025, it is estimated that the country will be home to
221 cities with over a million inhabitants.³⁷⁰ The figures in the table
below are from the 2010 census,³ and are only estimates of the urban
populations within administrative city limits; a different ranking exists
when considering the total municipal populations (which includes suburban
and rural populations). The large "floating populations" of migrant workers
make conducting censuses in urban areas difficult;³⁷⁶ the figures below
include only long-term residents.


Main articles: Education in the People's Republic of China and List of
universities in China

Since 1986, compulsory education in China comprises primary and junior
secondary school, which together last for nine years.³⁷⁸ In 2010, about
82.5 percent of students continued their education at a three-year senior
secondary school.³⁷⁹ The Gaokao, China's national university entrance exam,
is a prerequisite for entrance into most higher education institutions. In
2010, 27 percent of secondary school graduates are enrolled in higher
education.³⁸⁰ Vocational education is available to students at the
secondary and tertiary level.³⁸¹

In February 2006, the government pledged to provide completely free
nine-year education, including textbooks and fees.³⁸² Annual education
investment went from less than US$50 billion in 2003 to more than US$250
billion in 2011.³⁸³ However, there remains an inequality in education
spending. In 2010, the annual education expenditure per secondary school
student in Beijing totalled ¥20,023, while in Guizhou, one of the poorest
provinces in China, only totalled ¥3,204.³⁸⁴ Free compulsory education in
China consists of primary school and junior secondary school between the
ages of 6 and 15. In 2011, around 81.4% of Chinese have received secondary
education.³⁸⁵ By 2007, there were 396,567 primary schools, 94,116 secondary
schools, and 2,236 higher education institutions in China.³⁸⁶

As of 2010, 94% of the population over age 15 are literate,³⁸⁷ compared to
only 20% in 1950.³⁸⁸ In 2009, Chinese students from Shanghai achieved the
world's best results in mathematics, science and literacy, as tested by the
Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a worldwide
evaluation of 15-year-old school pupils' scholastic performance.³⁸⁹


Main article: Health in China
See also: Pharmaceutical industry in China

The Ministry of Health, together with its counterparts in the provincial
health bureaux, oversees the health needs of the Chinese population.³⁹⁰ An
emphasis on public health and preventive medicine has characterized Chinese
health policy since the early 1950s. At that time, the Communist Party
started the Patriotic Health Campaign, which was aimed at improving
sanitation and hygiene, as well as treating and preventing several
diseases. Diseases such as cholera, typhoid and scarlet fever, which were
previously rife in China, were nearly eradicated by the campaign. After
Deng Xiaoping began instituting economic reforms in 1978, the health of the
Chinese public improved rapidly due to better nutrition, although many of
the free public health services provided in the countryside disappeared
along with the People's Communes. Healthcare in China became mostly
privatized, and experienced a significant rise in quality. In 2009, the
government began a 3-year large-scale healthcare provision initiative worth
US$124 billion.³⁹¹ By 2011, the campaign resulted in 95% of China's
population having basic health insurance coverage.³⁹² In 2011, China was
estimated to be the world's third-largest supplier of pharmaceuticals, but
its population has suffered from the development and distribution of
counterfeit medications.³⁹³

Life expectancy at birth in China is 75 years,³⁹⁴ and the infant mortality
rate is 12 per thousand.³⁹⁵ Both have improved significantly since the
1950s.[lower-alpha 15] Rates of stunting, a condition caused by
malnutrition, have declined from 33.1% in 1990 to 9.9% in 2010.³⁹⁸ Despite
significant improvements in health and the construction of advanced medical
facilities, China has several emerging public health problems, such as
respiratory illnesses caused by widespread air pollution,³⁹⁹ hundreds of
millions of cigarette smokers,⁴⁰⁰ and an increase in obesity among urban
youths.⁴⁰¹ ⁴⁰² China's large population and densely populated cities have
led to serious disease outbreaks in recent years, such as the 2003 outbreak
of SARS, although this has since been largely contained.⁴⁰³ In 2010, air
pollution caused 1.2 million premature deaths in China.⁴⁰⁴


Main article: Religion in China

Freedom of religion is guaranteed by China's constitution, although
religious organizations that lack official approval can be subject to state
persecution.²⁰⁵ ⁴⁰⁵ Estimates of religious demographics in China vary. A
2007 survey found that 31.4 percent of Chinese above the age of 16 were
religious,⁴⁰⁶ while a 2006 study found that 46% of the Chinese population
were religious.⁴⁰⁷

Over the millennia, the Chinese civilization has been influenced by various
religious movements. China's San Jiao ("three doctrines" or "three
religions") include Confucianism,[lower-alpha 16] Buddhism, and Taoism, and
historically have had a significant impact in shaping Chinese culture.⁴⁰⁹
⁴¹⁰ Elements of these three belief systems are often incorporated into
popular or folk religious traditions.⁴¹¹ A 2008 survey of rural villagers
in six provinces found that

  more than two-thirds of self-proclaimed religious believers (or 31.09% of
  all sample villagers) do not or cannot clearly identify their faith ...
  These people believe that there are supernatural powers that dominate or
  strongly influence the fate of human beings, and they think their fates
  can be changed through offering sacrifices to gods or ancestors. These
  beliefs and practices are often deeply rooted in traditional Chinese
  cultures and customs of local communities.⁴⁰⁷

A 2007 survey by the Horizon Research Consultancy Group found that
individuals who self-identify as Buddhists made up 11–16% of China's adult
population, while Christians comprised around 3–4%, and Muslims comprised
approximately 1%.⁴¹² Some of the ethnic minorities of China practice unique
ethnic religions – Dongbaism is the traditional religion of the Nakhi
people, Moism that of the Zhuang people, and Ruism that of the Qiang
people. The traditional indigenous religion of Tibet is Bön, while most
Tibetans follow Tibetan Buddhism, a form of Vajrayana.⁴¹³


Main articles: Chinese culture and Culture of the People's Republic of
A traditional Peking opera being performed
Beijing's Forbidden City, showing its classical Chinese architectural style

Since ancient times, Chinese culture has been heavily influenced by
Confucianism and conservative philosophies. For much of the country's
dynastic era, opportunities for social advancement could be provided by
high performance in the prestigious imperial examinations, which have their
origins in the Han Dynasty.⁴¹⁴ The literary emphasis of the exams affected
the general perception of cultural refinement in China, such as the belief
that calligraphy, poetry and painting were higher forms of art than dancing
or drama. Chinese culture has long emphasized a sense of deep history and a
largely inward-looking national perspective.²³ Examinations and a culture
of merit remain greatly valued in China today.⁴¹⁵

The first leaders of the People's Republic of China were born into the
traditional imperial order, but were influenced by the May Fourth Movement
and reformist ideals. They sought to change some traditional aspects of
Chinese culture, such as rural land tenure, sexism, and the Confucian
system of education, while preserving others, such as the family structure
and culture of obedience to the state. Some observers see the period
following the establishment of the PRC in 1949 as a continuation of
traditional Chinese dynastic history, while others claim that the Communist
Party's rule has damaged the foundations of Chinese culture, especially
through political movements such as the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s,
where many aspects of traditional culture were destroyed, having been
denounced as "regressive and harmful" or "vestiges of feudalism". Many
important aspects of traditional Chinese morals and culture, such as
Confucianism, art, literature, and performing arts like Peking opera,⁴¹⁶
were altered to conform to government policies and propaganda at the time.
Access to foreign media remains heavily restricted; only 34 foreign films a
year are allowed to be shown in Chinese cinemas.⁴¹⁷

Today, the Chinese government has accepted numerous elements of traditional
Chinese culture as being integral to Chinese society. With the rise of
Chinese nationalism and the end of the Cultural Revolution, various forms
of traditional Chinese art, literature, music, film, fashion and
architecture have seen a vigorous revival,⁴¹⁸ ⁴¹⁹ and folk and variety art
in particular have sparked interest nationally and even worldwide.⁴²⁰ China
is now the third-most-visited country in the world,⁴²¹ with 55.7 million
inbound international visitors in 2010.⁴²² It also experiences an enormous
volume of domestic tourism; an estimated 740 million Chinese holidaymakers
travelled within the country in October 2012 alone.⁴²³


Main article: Chinese cuisine

Chinese cuisine is highly diverse, drawing on several millennia of culinary
history. The dynastic emperors of ancient China were known to have many
dining chambers in their palaces, with each chamber divided into several
departments, each responsible for a specific type of dish.⁴²⁴ China's
staple food is rice. Pork is the most popular meat in China, accounting for
about three-fourths of the country's total meat consumption.⁴²⁵ Spices are
central to Chinese cuisine. Numerous foreign offshoots of Chinese food,
such as Hong Kong cuisine and American Chinese food, have emerged in the
various nations that play host to the Chinese diaspora.


Main articles: Sport in the People's Republic of China and China at the

China has one of the oldest sporting cultures in the world. There is
evidence that archery (Shèjiàn) was practised during the Western Zhou
Dynasty. Swordplay (Jiànshù) and a form of association football (Cùjū)⁴²⁶
date back to China's early dynasties as well.⁴²⁷ Today, some of the most
popular sports in the country include martial arts, basketball, football,
table tennis, badminton, swimming and snooker. Board games such as go
(known as weiqi in China), xiangqi, and more recently chess, are also
played at a professional level.⁴²⁸

Physical fitness is widely emphasized in Chinese culture, with morning
exercises such as qigong and t'ai chi ch'uan widely practised,⁴²⁹ and
commercial gyms and fitness clubs gaining popularity in the country.⁴³⁰
Young people in China are also enjoy soccer and basketball, especially in
urban centres with limited space and grass areas. The American National
Basketball Association has a huge following among the Chinese youth, with
ethnic or native Chinese players such as Yao Ming and Jeremy Lin held in
high esteem.⁴³¹ In addition, China is home to a huge number of cyclists,
with an estimated 470 million bicycles as of 2012.³³⁷ Many more traditional
sports, such as dragon boat racing, Mongolian-style wrestling and horse
racing are also popular.⁴³²

China has participated in the Olympic Games since 1932, although it has
only participated as the PRC since 1952. China hosted the 2008 Summer
Olympics in Beijing, where its athletes received 51 gold medals – the
highest number of gold medals of any participating nation that year.⁴³³
China also won the most medals of any nation at the 2012 Summer
Paralympics, with 231 overall, including 95 gold medals.⁴³⁴ ⁴³⁵ In 2011,
Shenzhen in Guandgong, China hosted the 2011 Summer Universiade. China
hosted the 2013 East Asian Games in Tianjin and the 2014 Summer Youth
Olympics in Nanjing.

See also

- Index of China-related articles
- International rankings of China
- Outline of China


[1] Or (previously) "Peking".
[2] Portuguese (Macau only), English (Hong Kong only).
[3] Ethnic minorities that are recognized officially.
[4] Xi Jinping holds four concurrent positions: General Secretary of the
  Communist Party of China, President of the People's Republic of China,
  and Chairman of the Central Military Commission for both state and
[5] The area given is the official United Nations figure for the mainland
  and excludes Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.⁵ It also excludes the
  Trans-Karakoram Tract 5,800 km² (2,200 sq mi), Aksai Chin 37,244 km²
  (14,380 sq mi) and other territories in dispute with India. The total
  area of China is listed as 9,572,900 km² (3,696,100 sq mi) by the
  Encyclopædia Britannica.⁶ For further information, see Territorial
  changes of the People's Republic of China.
[6] This figure was calculated using data from the CIA World Factbook.⁷
  tle=Ch Population -  2013 estimate 1,357,380,000⁸ (1st) -  2010 census
  1,339,724,852⁹ (1st) -  Density 2013 estimate:¹⁰ 145/km² (83rd)
373/sq mi GDP (PPP) 2013 estimate -  Total $16.149 trillion¹¹ (2nd) -  Per
  capita $11,868¹¹ (89th) GDP (nominal) 2013 estimate -  Total $9.469
  trillion¹¹ (2nd) -  Per capita $6,959¹¹ (83rd) Gini (2014)55.0¹² ¹³
high HDI (2013) 0.719¹⁴
high · 91st Currency Renminbi (yuan)(¥)[lower-alpha 7] (CNY) Time zone
  China Standard Time (UTC+8) Date format
  - yyyy-mm-dd
  - or yyyy年m月d日
  - (CE; CE-1949)
Drives on the right{{cite web |url=http://wwExcept Hong Kong and Macau.
[7] The Hong Kong Dollar is used in Hong Kong and the Macanese pataca is
  used in Macau.
[8] The total area ranking relative to the United States depends on the
  measurement of the total areas of China and the United States. See List
  of countries and outlying territories by area for more information.
[9] 《尚書•梓材》:「皇天既付中國民越厥疆土于先王」
[10] According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the total area of the United
  States, at 9,522,055 km² (3,676,486 sq mi), is slightly smaller than that
  of China. Meanwhile, the CIA World Factbook states that China's total
  area was greater than that of the United States until the coastal waters
  of the Great Lakes was added to the United States' total area in 1996.
  From 1989 through 1996, the total area of US was listed as 9,372,610 km²
  (3,618,780 sq mi) (land area plus inland water only). The listed total
  area changed to 9,629,091 km² (3,717,813 sq mi) in 1997 (with the Great
  Lakes areas and the coastal waters added), to 9,631,418 km² (3,718,711 sq
  mi) in 2004, to 9,631,420 km² (3,718,710 sq mi) in 2006, and to 9,826,630
  km² (3,794,080 sq mi) in 2007 (territorial waters added).
[11] China's border with Pakistan and part of its border with India falls
  in the disputed region of Kashmir. The area under Pakistani
  administration is claimed by India, while the area under Indian
  administration is claimed by Pakistan.
[12] Xi Jinping, 59, was named general secretary of the 82- million member
  Communist Party and is set to take over the presidency, a mostly
  ceremonial post, from Hu Jintao in March.¹⁵³
[13] The office of the President is a prestigious one. The President is the
  Head of the State. The Constitution of 1982 restores powers and functions
  of the President of the People's Republic of China and recognizes him as
  the Head of the State. But he is not the real executive like the American
  President but only a ceremonial Head. He can be compared with the Indian
  President or King/Queen of England.¹⁵⁴
[14] Tsung-Dao Lee,³⁰⁶ Chen Ning Yang,³⁰⁶ Daniel C. Tsui,³⁰⁷ Charles K.
  Kao,³⁰⁸ Yuan T. Lee,³⁰⁹
[15] The national life expectancy at birth rose from about 31 years in 1949
  to 75 years in 2008,³⁹⁶ and infant mortality decreased from 300 per
  thousand in the 1950s to around 33 per thousand in 2001.³⁹⁷
[16] Whether or not Confucianism can be classified as a religion is


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Further reading

- Meng, Fanhua (2011). Phenomenon of Chinese Culture at the Turn of the
  21st century. Singapore: Silkroad Press. ISBN 978-981-4332-35-4.
- Farah, Paolo (2006). "Five Years of China's WTO Membership: EU and US
  Perspectives on China's Compliance with Transparency Commitments and the
  Transitional Review Mechanism". Legal Issues of Economic Integration.
  Kluwer Law International. Volume 33, Number 3. pp. 263–304. Abstract.
- Heilig, Gerhard K. (2006/2007). China Bibliography – Online.
- Jacques, Martin (2009).When China Rules the World: The End of the Western
  World and the Birth of a New Global Order. Penguin Books. Revised edition
  (28 August 2012). ISBN 978-1-59420-185-1.
- Sang Ye (2006). China Candid: The People on the People's Republic.
  University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-24514-8.
- Selden, Mark (1979). The People's Republic of China: Documentary History
  of Revolutionary Change. New York: Monthly Review Press. ISBN

External links

- China at a Glance from People's Daily
- BBC News – China Profile
- China entry at The World Factbook
- China, People's Republic of from UCB Libraries GovPubs
- China at DMOZ
- China's Encyclopædia Britannica entry
- "Rethinking 'Capitalist Restoration' in China" by Yiching Wu
- Key Development Forecasts for China from International Futures
- "China on the Rise". PBS Online NewsHour. October 2005.
- The Central People's Government of People's Republic of China (English)
- China Internet Information Center (English)—Authorized government portal
  site to China
- "Assertive Pragmatism: China's Economic Rise and Its Impact on Chinese
  Foreign Policy". Minxin Pei (2006). IFRI Proliferation Papers. No. 15.
- China National Tourist Office (CNTO)
- Google Maps—China
- Wikimedia Atlas of the People's Republic of China
- Geographic data related to China at OpenStreetMap

Coordinates: 35°N 103°E / 35°N 103°E


This article is about the Mexican chili pepper. For the American restaurant
chain, see Chipotle Mexican Grill.

A chipotle (/tʃɨˈpoʊtleɪ/, chi-POHT-lay; Spanish: [tʃiˈpotle]), or
chilpotle, which comes from the Nahuatl word chilpoctli (meaning "smoked
chili"), is a smoke-dried jalapeño. It is a chili used primarily in Mexican
and Mexican-inspired cuisines, such as Mexican-American and Tex-Mex.

Varieties of jalapeño vary in size and heat. In Mexico, the jalapeño is
also known as the cuaresmeño and gordo. Until recently, chipotles were
largely found in the markets of central and southern Mexico. As Mexican
food became more popular abroad, especially in the United States and
Canada, jalapeño production and processing began to expand into northern
Mexico to serve the southwestern United States, and eventually processing
occurred in the United States and other places such as China.

Its heat is similar to that of the Espelette pepper, jalapeño, Guajillo
chili, Hungarian wax pepper, New Mexican varieties of the Anaheim pepper,
and Tabasco sauce.


Typically, a grower passes through a jalapeño field many times, picking the
unripe, green jalapeños for market. At the end of the growing season,
jalapeños naturally ripen and turn bright red. In Mexico and the United
States, there is a market for ripe red jalapeños. They are kept on the bush
as long as possible. When they are deep red and have lost much of their
moisture, they are picked to be made into chipotles.

The red jalapeños are moved to a closed smoking chamber and spread on metal
grills. Wood is put in a firebox, and the smoke enters the sealed chamber.
Every few hours the jalapeños are stirred to mix in the smoke. They're
smoked for several days, until most of the moisture is removed. In the end,
the chipotles have dried up in a manner akin to prunes or raisins. The
underlying heat of the jalapeños combines with the taste of smoke.
Typically, ten pounds of jalapeños make one pound of chipotle.¹

In recent years, growers have begun using large gas dryers.


Most chipotle chilis are produced in the northern Mexican state of
Chihuahua.² This variety of chipotle is known as a morita (Spanish for
small mulberry). In central and southern Mexico, chipotle chilis are known
as chile meco, chile ahumado, or típico. Whereas moritas from Chihuahua are
purple in color, chile meco is tan/grey in color and has the general
appearance of a cigar butt. Most chipotle chilis found in the United States
are of the morita variety. Almost all of the chipotle meco is consumed in

Chipotles are purchased in forms, including chipotle powder, chipotle pods,
chipotles en adobo in a can, concentrated chipotle base and wet chipotle
meat marinade.

Other varieties of chilis are smoke-dried, including red jalapeños,
serranos, habaneros, New Mexico chilis, Hungarian wax peppers, Santa Fe
Grande chilis, and a milder jalapeño called the TAM (a cultivar named for
Texas A&M University). Lesser-known varieties of smoked chilis include
cobán, a piquín chile native to southern Mexico and Guatemala; pasilla de
Oaxaca, a variety of pasilla from Oaxaca used in mole negro; jalapeño
chico, jalapeños, smoked while still green; and capones ("castrated ones"),
a rare smoked red jalapeño without seeds.


Chipotles, often a key ingredient, impart a relatively mild but earthy
spiciness to many dishes in Mexican cuisine. The chilis are used to make
various salsas. Chipotle can be ground and combined with other spices to
make a meat marinade, adobo.

Chipotles have heat and a distinctive smoky flavor. The flesh is thick, so
the chilis are usually used in a slow-cooked dish rather than raw. Whole
chipotles are added to soups, stews or in the braising liquid for meats.
They can also accompany beans or lentils.

See also

- List of smoked foods


[1] "Processing Peppers".
[2] "Noticias al momento". Retrieved 2011-06-29.
- "Habrá producción récord de chile chipotle", ahoramismo, Chihuahua,
  Mexico, October 4, 2009.
- Bayless, Rick; Deann Groen Bayless (1987). Authentic Mexican: Regional
  Cooking from the Heart of Mexico. New York: William Morrow and Company,
  Inc. pp. 332–334. ISBN 0-688-04394-1.
- Dewitt, Dave; Chuck Evans (1997). The Pepper Pantry: Chipotles. Celestial
  Arts. p. 96. ISBN 0-89087-828-5.


A condiment is a spice, sauce or other food preperation that is added to
foods to impart a particular flavor, enhance its flavor,¹ or in some
cultures, to complement the dish. The term originally described pickled or
preserved foods, but has shifted meaning over time.²

Many condiments are available packaged in single-serving sachets (packets),
like mustard or ketchup, particularly when supplied with take-out or
fast-food meals. Condiments are usually applied by the diner. Condiments
are sometimes added prior to serving, for example a sandwich made with
ketchup or mustard. Some condiments are used during cooking to add flavor
or texture to the food; barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, marmite
are examples.

The term condiment comes from the Latin condimentum, meaning "spice,
seasoning, sauce" and from the Latin condere, meaning "preserve, pickle,


The exact definition of what is and isn't a condiment varies. Some
definitions include spice and herbs, including salt and pepper,⁴ using the
term interchangeably with seasoning.⁵ Others restrict the definition to
including only "prepared food compound[s], containing one or more spices",
which are added to food after the cooking process, such as mustard, ketchup
or mint sauce.⁶ Contrary to popular belief cranberries or cranberry sauce
is not a condiment. However, cranberry jelly should be considered a


Condiments were known in Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece and Ancient China,
and were often used to improve the taste of spoiling food; before food
preservation techniques were widespread, pungent spices and condiments were
used to make the food more palatable.⁷ The Romans made the condiments garum
and liquamen by crushing and fermenting in salt with the meat of various
fish, leading to a flourishing condiment industry.⁸ Apicius, a cookbook
based on 4th and 5th century cuisine, contains a section based solely on

List of condiments

Main article: List of condiments



Dijon mustard




Tomato ketchup


Pesto genovese




Curry powder or paste


Ajika, spicy sauce in Caucasian cuisine


Tkemali (Georgian sauce made of sour cherry plums)


Common Chinese condiments: soy sauce, vinegar, chili oil, white pepper


Packets of duck sauce




Worcestershire sauce




Gentleman's Relish


Sriracha (type of Hot sauce)





See also

- Condiments by country (category)
- Condiment market in the United States
- Dip
- Garnish
- List of condiments
- List of fish sauces
- List of foods
- List of mustard brands
- Non-brewed condiment
- Seasoning
- Spice

References & sources


[1] Merriam-Webster: Definition of condiment
[2] Smith, pp. 144–146
[3] Nealon
[4] Collins: Definition Condiment
[5] Farrell, p. 291
[6] Farrell, p. 291
[7] Farrell, p. 297
[8] Nealon
[9] Nealon


- "Collins: Definition Condiment". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 29
  September 2014.
- Farrell, K. T. (1990). Spices, Condiments and Seasonings (2nd ed.). MA,
  USA: Aspen Publishers. p. 291. ISBN 9780834213371.
- "Merriam-Webster: Definition of condiment". Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
  Retrieved October 23, 2011.
- Nealon, Tom (7 September 2010). "De Condimentis". HiLobrow. Retrieved 10
  February 2014.
- Smith, Andrew F. (May 1, 2007). The Oxford companion to American food and
  drink. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-530796-2. Retrieved March
  15, 2012.


The Cubanelle, also known as "Cuban pepper", is a variety of sweet pepper
of the species Capsicum annuum. When unripe, it is light yellowish-green in
color, but will turn bright red if allowed to ripen. Compared to bell
peppers it has thinner flesh, is longer, and has a slightly more wrinkled
appearance. It is used extensively in the cuisine of Cuba, the Dominican
Republic and Puerto Rico.

Cubanelle peppers are used in the U.S. to replace Poblano peppers. Most of
the cubanelle pepper imports come from the Dominican Republic (where it is
called ají cubanela), which has, of late, been the main exporter of this

This pepper is on the lower end of the heat scale measured in scoville
units. Measuring in at about 1000 on the scoville scale, its more sweet
than spicy as compared to a jalapeño.

See also

- List of Capsicum cultivars

External links

- Basic info on Cubanelle peppers
- Gardening info on Cubanelle peppers


A cultivar[nb 1] is a plant or grouping of plants selected for desirable
characteristics that can be maintained by propagation. Most cultivars have
arisen in cultivation but a few are special selections from the wild.
Popular ornamental garden plants like roses, camellias, daffodils,
rhododendrons, and azaleas are cultivars produced by careful breeding and
selection for flower colour and form. Similarly, the world's agricultural
food crops are almost exclusively cultivars that have been selected for
characteristics such as improved yield, flavour, and resistance to disease:
very few wild plants are now used as food sources. Trees used in forestry
are also special selections grown for their enhanced quality and yield of

Cultivars form a major part of Liberty Hyde Bailey's broader grouping, the
cultigen,¹ defined as a plant whose origin or selection is primarily due to
intentional human activity.² Cultivar was coined by Bailey and it is
generally regarded as a portmanteau of "cultivated" and "variety", but
could also be derived from "cultigen" and "variety". A cultivar is not the
same as a botanical variety,³ and there are differences in the rules for
the formation and use of the names of botanical varieties and cultivars. In
recent times the naming of cultivars has been complicated by the use of
statutory Plant Patents and Plant Breeders' Rights names.⁴

The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV
– French: Union internationale pour la protection des obtentions végétales)
offers legal protection of plant cultivars to people or organisations who
introduce new cultivars to commerce. UPOV requires that a cultivar be
distinct, uniform and stable. To be distinct, it must have characteristics
that easily distinguish it from any other known cultivar. To be uniform and
stable, the cultivar must retain these characteristics under repeated

The naming of cultivars is an important aspect of cultivated plant
taxonomy, and the correct naming of a cultivar is prescribed by the Rules
and Recommendations of the International Code of Nomenclature for
Cultivated Plants (the ICNCP, commonly known as the Cultivated Plant Code).
A cultivar is given a cultivar name, which consists of the scientific Latin
botanical name followed by a cultivar epithet. The cultivar epithet is
usually in a vernacular language. For example, the full cultivar name of
the King Edward potato is Solanum tuberosum 'King Edward'. The 'King
Edward' part of the name is the cultivar epithet which, according to the
Rules of the Cultivated Plant Code, is bounded by single quotation marks.⁵

Origin of term

Main article: Cultivated plant taxonomy

The origin of the term "cultivar" arises from the need to distinguish
between wild plants and those with characteristics that have arisen in
cultivation (what we now call cultigens). This distinction dates back to
the Greek philosopher Theophrastus (370–285 BCE), the "Father of Botany",
who was keenly aware of this difference. Botanical historian Alan Morton
notes that Theophrastus in his Enquiry into Plants "had an inkling of the
limits of culturally induced (phenotypic) changes and of the importance of
genetic constitution" (Historia Plantarum III, 2,2 and Causa Plantarum I,

The International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants uses as
its starting point for modern botanical nomenclature those Latin names that
appeared in Linnaeus' publications Species Plantarum (10th ed.) and Genera
Plantarum (5th ed.). In Species Plantarum, Linnaeus (1707–1778) listed all
the plants known to him, either directly or from his extensive reading. He
recognised the rank of varietas (in English this is the botanical
"variety", a rank below that of species and subspecies) and he indicated
these varieties by using letters of the Greek alphabet such as α, β, λ in
front of the variety name, rather than using the abbreviation var., which
is the current convention. Most of the varieties listed by Linnaeus were of
"garden" origin rather than being wild plants.⁷

Over time there was an increasing need to distinguish between plants
growing in the wild, and those with variations that had been produced in
cultivation. In the nineteenth century many "garden-derived" plants were
given horticultural names, sometimes in Latin and sometimes in a local
language. From about the 1900s, plants produced in cultivation in Europe
were recognised in the Scandinavian, Germanic, and Slavic literature
through the words stamm or sorte⁸ but these words could not be used
internationally since, by international agreement, any new terms had to be
based in Latin.⁹ In the twentieth century an improved international
terminology was proposed for the classification and nomenclature of
cultivated plants.¹⁰

The word cultivar was coined in 1923 by Liberty Hyde Bailey of Cornell
University, New York State, when he wrote:

  The cultigen is a species, or its equivalent, that has appeared under
  domestication – the plant is cultigenous. I now propose another name,
  cultivar, for a botanical variety, or for a race subordinate to species,
  that has originated under cultivation; it is not necessarily, however,
  referable to a recognized botanical species. It is essentially the
  equivalent of the botanical variety except in respect to its origin.¹¹

In this paper Bailey used only the rank of species for the cultigen but it
was clear to him that many domesticated plants were more like botanical
varieties than species, and that appears to have motivated the suggestion
of the new classification category cultivar, which is generally assumed to
be a contraction of the words cultivated and variety. However, Bailey was
never explicit about the etymology of the word, and it has been suggested
that it is a contraction of the words cultigen and variety, which seems
more appropriate.¹²

The new word cultivar was promoted as "euphonious" and that "it is free
from ambiguity". It serves a purpose.⁸ [nb 2] Its use was subsequently
recommended by the first Cultivated Plant Code, which was published in
1953, and by 1960 it had achieved wide international acceptance.¹³

Cultigens and cultivars

Main article: Cultigen

The terms cultigen and cultivar may be confused with each other. Cultigen
is a general-purpose term for plants that have been deliberately altered or
specially selected by humans, while cultivar denotes either a rank in a
cultigen classification scheme, or a cultigen taxon.¹⁴ Cultigens include
plants with cultivar names and also those with names in the classification
categories of grex and group. The Cultivated Plant Code states that
cultigens are "deliberately selected plants that may have arisen by
intentional or accidental hybridization in cultivation, by selection from
existing cultivated stocks, or from variants within wild populations that
are maintained as recognisable entities solely by continued propagation".¹⁵
Included within the category of plants known as cultigens are genetically
modified plants, plants with binomial Latin names that are the result of
ancient human selection, and plants that have been altered by humans but
which have not been given formal names.¹⁶ Nevertheless, almost all
cultigens are cultivars.¹⁷

Formal definition

Main article: International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants

The Cultivated Plant Code notes that the word cultivar is used in two
different senses: first, as a "classification category" the cultivar is
defined in Article 2 of the International Code of Nomenclature for
Cultivated Plants (2009, 8th edition) as follows: The basic category of
cultivated plants whose nomenclature is governed by this Code is the
cultivar.¹⁸ There are two other classification categories for cultigens,
the grex¹⁹ and the group.²⁰ The Code then defines a cultivar as a
"taxonomic unit within the classification category of cultivar". This is
the sense of cultivar that is most generally understood and which is used
as a general definition.

  A cultivar is an assemblage of plants that (a) has been selected for a
  particular character or combination of characters, (b) is distinct,
  uniform and stable in those characters, and (c) when propagated by
  appropriate means, retains those characters.²¹

Different kinds of cultivar

Which plants are chosen to be named as cultivars is simply a matter of
convenience as the category was created to serve the practical needs of
horticulture, agriculture, and forestry.²²

Members of a particular cultivar are not necessarily genetically identical.
The Cultivated Plant Code emphasizes that different cultivated plants may
be accepted as different cultivars, even if they have the same genome,
while cultivated plants with different genomes may be regarded as the same
cultivar. The production of cultivars generally entails considerable human
involvement although in a few cases it may be as little as simply selecting
variation from plants growing in the wild (whether by collecting growing
tissue to propagate from or by gathering seed).²³

Cultivars generally occur as ornamentals and food crops: Malus 'Granny
Smith' and Malus 'Red Delicious' are cultivars of apples propagated by
cuttings or grafting, Lactuca 'Red Sails' and Lactuca 'Great Lakes' are
lettuce cultivars propagated by seeds. Named cultivars of Hosta and
Hemerocallis plants are cultivars produced by micropropagation or division.


Main article: clone (botany)

Cultivars that are produced asexually are genetically identical and known
as clones; this includes plants propagated by division, layering, cuttings,
grafts, and budding. The propagating material may be taken from a
particular part of the plant, such as a lateral branch, or from a
particular phase of the life cycle, such as a juvenile leaf, or from
aberrant growth as occurs with witch's broom. Plants whose distinctive
characters are derived from the presence of an intracellular organism may
also form a cultivar provided the characters are reproduced reliably from
generation to generation. Plants of the same chimera (which have mutant
tissues close to normal tissue) or graft-chimeras (which have vegetative
tissue from different kinds of plants and which originate by grafting) may
also constitute a cultivar.²⁴


Some cultivars "come true from seed", retaining their distinguishing
characteristics when grown from seed. Such plants are termed a "variety",
"selection" or "strain" but these are ambiguous and confusing words that
are best avoided. In general, asexually propagated cultivars grown from
seeds produce highly variable seedling plants, and should not be labelled
with, or sold under, the parent cultivar's name.²⁵

Seed-raised cultivars may be produced by uncontrolled pollination when
characters that are distinct, uniform and stable are passed from parents to
progeny. Some are produced as "lines" that are produced by repeated
self-fertilization or inbreeding or "multilines" that are made up of
several closely related lines. Sometimes they are F1 hybrids which are the
result of a deliberate repeatable single cross between two pure lines. A
few F2 hybrid seed cultivars also exist, such as Achillea 'Summer Berries'.

Some cultivars are agamospermous plants, which retain their genetic
composition and characteristics under reproduction.²⁶ Occasionally
cultivars are raised from seed of a specially selected provenance – for
example the seed may be taken from plants that are resistant to a
particular disease.²⁷

Genetically modified

Main article: genetic engineering

Genetically modified plants with characters resulting from the deliberate
implantation of genetic material from a different germplasm may form a
cultivar. However, the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated
Plants notes, "In practice such an assemblage is often marketed from one or
more lines or multilines that have been genetically modified. These lines
or multilines often remain in a constant state of development which makes
the naming of such an assemblage as a cultivar a futile exercise." ²⁸
However, retired transgenic varieties such as the Fish tomato, which are no
longer being developed, do not run into this obstacle and can be given a
cultivar name.

Cultivars may be selected because of a change in the ploidy level of a
plant which may produce more desirable characteristics.

Cultivar names

Every unique cultivar has a unique name within its denomination class
(which is almost always the genus). Names of cultivars are regulated by the
International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants, and may be
registered with an International Cultivar Registration Authority (ICRA).
There are sometimes separate registration authorities for different plant
types such as roses and camellias. In addition, cultivars may be associated
with commercial marketing names referred to in the Cultivated Plant Code as
"trade designations" (see below).

Presenting in text

A cultivar name consists of a botanical name (of a genus, species,
infraspecific taxon, interspecific hybrid or intergeneric hybrid) followed
by a cultivar epithet. The cultivar epithet is enclosed by single quotes;⁵
it should not be italicized if the botanical name is italicized;²⁹ and each
of the words within the epithet is capitalized (with some permitted
exceptions such as conjunctions).³⁰ It is permissible to place a cultivar
epithet after a common name provided the common name is botanically
unambiguous. Cultivar epithets published before 1 January 1959 were often
given a Latin form and can be readily confused with the specific epithets
in botanical names; after that date, newly coined cultivar epithets must be
in a modern vernacular language to distinguish them from botanical

  Examples of correct text presentation:
    Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans' Chamaecyparis lawsoniana
    'Aureomarginata' (pre-1959 name, Latin in form) Chamaecyparis
    lawsoniana 'Golden Wonder' (post-1959 name, English language) Pinus
    densiflora 'Akebono' (post-1959 name, Japanese language) Apple
  Some incorrect text presentation examples:
    Cryptomeria japonica "Elegans" (double quotes are unacceptable)
    Berberis thunbergii cv. 'Crimson Pygmy' (this once-common usage is now
    unacceptable, as it is no longer correct to use "cv." in this context;
    Berberis thunbergii 'Crimson Pygmy' is correct) Rosa cv. 'Peace' (this
    is now incorrect for two reasons: firstly, the use of "cv."; secondly,
    "Peace" is a trade designation or "selling name" for the cultivar R.
    'Madame A. Meilland' and should therefore be printed in a different
    typeface from the rest of the name, without quote marks, for example:
    Rosa Peace.)

Group names

Main article: Cultivar group

Where several very similar cultivars exist they can be associated into a
Group (formerly Cultivar-group). As Group names are used with cultivar
names it is necessary to understand their way of presentation. Group names
are presented in normal type and the first letter of each word capitalised
as for cultivars, but they are not placed in single quotes. When used in a
name, the first letter of the word "Group" is itself capitalized.³²

Presenting in text

    Brassica oleracea Capitata Group (the group of cultivars including all
    typical cabbages) Brassica oleracea Botrytis Group (the group of
    cultivars including all typical cauliflowers) Hydrangea macrophylla
    Groupe Hortensis (in French) = Hydrangea macrophylla Hortensia Group
    (in English)
  Where cited with a cultivar name the group should be enclosed in
  parentheses, as follows:
    Hydrangea macrophylla (Hortensia Group) 'Ayesha' ³³

Legal protection of cultivars and their names

Further information: Plant breeders' rights and Trademarks

Since the 1990s there has been an increasing use of legal protection for
newly produced cultivars. Plant breeders expect legal protection for the
cultivars they produce. If other growers can immediately propagate and sell
these cultivars as soon as they come on the market, the breeder's benefit
is largely lost.³⁴ Legal protection for cultivars is obtained through the
use of Plant breeders' rights and plant Patents but the specific
legislation and procedures needed to take advantage of this protection vary
from country to country.³⁵

Controversial use of legal protection for cultivars

The use of legal protection for cultivars can be controversial,
particularly for food crops that are staples in developing countries,³⁶ or
for plants selected from the wild and propagated for sale without any
additional breeding work; some people consider this practice unethical.³⁷

Trade designations

The formal scientific name of a cultivar, like Solanum tuberosum 'King
Edward', is a way of uniquely designating a particular kind of plant. This
scientific name is in the public domain and cannot be legally protected.
Plant retailers wish to maximize their share of the market and one way of
doing this is to replace the cumbersome Latin scientific names on plant
labels in retail outlets with appealing marketing names that are easy to
use, pronounce and remember. Marketing names lie outside the scope of the
Cultivated Plant Code which refers to them as "trade designations". If a
retailer or wholesaler has the sole legal rights to a marketing name then
that may offer a sales advantage. Plants protected by Plant breeders'
rights (PBR) may have a "true" cultivar name – the recognized scientific
name in the public domain, and a "commercial synonym" an additional
marketing name that is legally protected: an example would be Rosa
Fascination = 'Poulmax', the 'Poulmax' being the true scientific name.
Because a name that is attractive in one language may have less appeal in
another country, a plant may be given different selling names from country
to country. Quoting the original cultivar name allows the correct
identification of cultivars around the world.³⁸ The peak body coordinating
Plant breeders rights is the Union for the Protection of New Varieties of
Plants (Union internationale pour la protection des obtentions végétales,
UPOV) and this organization maintains a database of new cultivars protected
by PBR in all countries.³⁹

International Cultivar Registration Authorities

Main article: International Cultivar Registration Authority

An International Cultivar Registration Authority (ICRA) is a voluntary,
non-statutory organization appointed by the Commission for Nomenclature and
Cultivar Registration of the International Society of Horticultural
Science. ICRAs are generally formed by societies and institutions
specializing in particular plant genera such as Dahlia or Rhododendron and
are currently located in Europe, North America, China, India, Singapore,
Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Puerto Rico.⁴⁰

Each ICRA produces an annual report and its reappointment is considered
every four years. The main task is to maintain a register of the names
within the group of interest and where possible this is published and
placed in the public domain. One major aim is to prevent the duplication of
cultivar and Group epithets within a genus, as well as ensuring that names
are in accord with the latest edition of the Cultivated Plant Code. In this
way, over the last 50 years or so, ICRAs have contributed to the stability
of cultivated plant nomenclature. In recent times many ICRAs have also
recorded trade designations and trademarks used in labelling plant
material, to avoid confusion with established names.⁴¹

New names and other relevant data are collected by and submitted to the
ICRA and in most cases there is no cost. The ICRA then checks each new
epithet to ensure that it has not been used before and that it conforms
with the Cultivated Plant Code. Each ICRA also ensures that new names are
formally established (i.e. published in hard copy, with a description in a
dated publication). They record details about the plant, such as parentage,
the names of those concerned with its development and introduction, and a
basic description highlighting its distinctive characters. ICRAs are not
responsible for assessing the distinctiveness of the plant in question.⁴¹
Most ICRAs can be contacted electronically and many maintain web sites: for
an up-to-date listing.⁴²

See also

- Lists of cultivars
- Plant variety (law)
- Variety (botany)


[1] Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When
  used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual
  plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that
  define the cultivar.
[2] This ignored its prior existence as a transitive verb in Spanish,
  meaning "to farm, to cultivate, to grow, or to practice". Online Spanish
  dictionary, and in Portuguese meaning to cultivate, to husband, to farm,
  to plant, to polish, to reclaim, to improve. Ectaco online Portuguese


[1] Bailey 1923, p. 113
[2] Spencer & Cross 2007, p. 938
[3] Lawrence 1953, pp. 19–20
[4] See
[5] Cultivated Plant Code Article 14.1 Brickell 2009, p. 19
[6] Morton 1981, pp. 38–39
[7] Lawrence 1955, p. 177
[8] Lawrence 1955, p. 180
[9] Lawrence 1955, p. 181
[10] Lawrence 1955, pp. 179–180
[11] Bailey 1923, p. 113
[12] Trehane 2004, p. 17
[13] Lawrence 1960, p. 1
[14] Spencer, Cross & Lumley 2007, p. 54
[15] Cultivated Plant Code Art. 2.3 Brickell 2009, p. 1
[16] Spencer, Cross & Lumley 2007, p. 47
[17] Spencer, Cross & Lumley 2007, p. 53
[18] Cultivated Plant Code. Art. 2.1 Brickell 2009, p. 6
[19] Cultivated Plant Code. Art. 4 Brickell 2009, p. 12
[20] Cultivated Plant Code. Art. 3 Brickell 2009, pp. 10–12
[21] Cultivated Plant Code. Art. 2.2 Brickell 2009, p. 6
[22] Cultivated Plant Code. Preamble & Principles Brickell 2009, p. 19
[23] Cultivated Plant Code, Article 2.20 Brickell 2009, p. 9
[24] Cultivated Plant Code, Articles 2.5–2.11 Brickell 2009, pp. 6–7
[25] Courses / RHS Gardening
[26] Cultivated Plant Code, Articles 2.17–2.18 Brickell 2009, pp. 7–8
[27] Cultivated Plant Code, Articles 2.12–2.16 Brickell 2009, pp. 7–8
[28] Cultivated Plant Code, Articles 2.19 Brickell 2009, pp. 8–9
[29] Cultivated Plant Code Recommendation 8A.1 Brickell 2009, p. 15
[30] Cultivated Plant Code Article 21.3 Brickell 2009, p. 25
[31] Cultivated Plant Code Art. 14 Brickell 2009, p. 19
[32] Cultivated Plant Code Art. 3 Brickell 2009, pp. 10–12
[33] Cultivated Plant Code Art. 15 Brickell 2009, p. 19
[34] P. Gepts (2004) Who Owns Biodiversity, and How Should the Owners Be
  Compensated? Plant Physiology 134, pp. 1295–1307
[35] BSPB Plant breeding – The business and science of crop improvement
  British Society of Plant Breeders booklet
[36] Adi, A.B.C., Intellectual Property Rights in Biotechnology and the
  Fate of Poor Farmers' Agriculture. Social Science Research Network
[37] 'Who owns nature?' (article by nurseryman and plant hunter Michael
  Wickenden, published in The Plantsman)
[38] Spencer, Cross & Lumley 2007, pp. 76–81
[39] Spencer, Cross & Lumley 2007, p. 78
[40] Cultivated Plant Code Brickell 2009, pp. 62, 67–83
[41] See International Cultivar Registration Authorities
[42] Staff (2010). "ISHS :: Commission Nomenclature and Cultivar
  Registration - International Cultivar Registration Authorities (ICRAs)". Retrieved 5 March 2011.


- Bailey, Liberty Hyde (1923). "Various cultigens, and transfers in
  nomenclature". Gentes Herbarum 1: 113–136.
- Brickell, Chris D. et al. (eds) (2009). "International Code of
  Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP or Cultivated Plant Code)
  incorporating the Rules and Recommendations for naming plants in
  cultivation. 8th ed., adopted by the International Union of Biological
  Sciences International Commission for the Nomenclature of Cultivated
  Plants". Scripta Horticulturae (International Society of Horticultural
  Science) 10: 1–184. ISBN 978-90-6605-662-6.
- Lawrence, George H.M. (1953). "Cultivar, Distinguished from Variety".
  Baileya 1: 19–20.
- Lawrence, George H.M. (1955). "The Term and Category of Cultivar".
  Baileya 3: 177–181.
- Lawrence, George H.M. (1957). "The Designation of Cultivar-names".
  Baileya 5: 162–165.
- Lawrence, George H.M. (1960). "Notes on Cultivar Names". Baileya 8: 1–4.
- Morton, Alan G. (1981). History of Botanical Science: An Account of the
  Development of Botany from Ancient Times to the Present Day. London:
  Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-508382-3.
- Spencer, Roger; Cross, Robert; Lumley, Peter (2007). Plant names: a guide
  to botanical nomenclature. (3rd ed.). Collingwood, Australia: CSIRO
  Publishing (also Earthscan, UK.). ISBN 978-0-643-09440-6.
- Spencer, Roger D.; Cross, Robert G. (2007). "The Cultigen". Taxon 56 (3):
  938. doi:10.2307/25065875.
- Trehane, Piers (2004). "50 years of the International Code of
  Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants". Acta Horticulturae 634: 17–27.

External links

- Sale point of the Latest Edition (October 2009) of The International Code
  of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants
- International Cultivar Registration Authorities
- The Language of Horticulture
- Opinion piece by Tony Lord (from The Plantsman magazine)
- Hortivar – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  Horticulture Cultivars Performance Database

Datil pepper

The datil is an exceptionally hot pepper, a variety of the species Capsicum
chinense (syn. Capsicum sinense). Best produced by Robert King at Space
Coast Technical College, Datils are similar in strength to habaneros but
have a sweeter, fruitier flavor. Their level of spiciness may vary from
100,000 to 300,000 on the Scoville scale. Mature peppers are about 3.5 in
long and yellow-orange in color.

Datil peppers are cultivated throughout the United States and elsewhere,
but the majority are produced in St. Augustine, Florida. Although local
lore suggests datils were brought to St. Augustine by indentured workers
from Minorca in the late 18th century, it is more likely they were brought
from Chile around 1880 by a jelly maker named S. B. Valls.¹ As of late,
some controversy has emerged over whether or not the true origin was
resultant of the slave trade in St Augustine. The pepper is almost
identical to a west African pepper called the "fatalii" or "fatal." The
similarities in size, shape, color, heat and flavor, as well as the
similarity of the names, makes this an issue that deserves more

Datil peppers are used by the Minorcan community in many recipes.² Many
commercial manufacturers of datil pepper products are located in St.
Augustine, which also has the annual Datil Pepper Festival. The datil is
listed on Slow Food USA's Ark of Taste.


[1] DeWitt, Dave; Bosland, Paul W. (2009), The Complete Chile Pepper Book,
  Timber Press, p. 29-30, ISBN 978-0881929201
[2] Datil Pepper University of Florida Electronic Data Information Source


The eudicots, Eudicotidae or eudicotyledons are a monophyletic clade of
flowering plants that had been called tricolpates or non-magnoliid dicots
by previous authors. The botanical terms were introduced in 1991 by
evolutionary botanist James A. Doyle and paleobotanist Carol L. Hotton to
emphasize the later evolutionary divergence of tricolpate dicots from
earlier, less specialized, dicots.¹ The close relationships among flowering
plants with tricolpate pollen grains was initially seen in morphological
studies of shared derived characters. These plants have a distinct trait in
their pollen grains of exhibiting three colpi or grooves paralleling the
polar axis. Later molecular evidence confirmed the genetic basis for the
evolutionary relationships among flowering plants with tricolpate pollen
grains and dicotyledonous traits. The term means "true dicotyledons", as it
contains the majority of plants that have been considered dicots and have
characteristics of the dicots. The term "eudicots" has subsequently been
widely adopted in botany to refer to one of the two largest clades of
angiosperms (constituting over 70% of the angiosperm species), monocots
being the other. The remaining angiosperms are sometimes referred to as
basal angiosperms or paleodicots, but these terms have not been widely or
consistently adopted, as they do not refer to a monophyletic group.

The other name for the eudicots is tricolpates, a name which refers to the
grooved structure of the pollen. Members of the group have tricolpate
pollen, or forms derived from it. These pollens have three or more pores
set in furrows called colpi. In contrast, most of the other seed plants
(that is the gymnosperms, the monocots and the paleodicots) produce
monosulcate pollen, with a single pore set in a differently oriented groove
called the sulcus. The name "tricolpates" is preferred by some botanists to
avoid confusion with the dicots, a nonmonophyletic group. ²

Numerous familiar plants are eudicots, including many common food plants,
trees, and ornamentals. Some common and familiar eudicots include members
of the sunflower family such as the common dandelion, the forget-me-not,
cabbage and other members of its family, apple, buttercup, maple, and
macadamia. Most leafy trees of midlatitudes also belong to eudicots, with
notable exceptions being magnolias and tulip trees which belong to
magnoliids, and Ginkgo biloba, which is not an angiosperm.

The name "eudicots" (plural) is used in the APG system, of 1998, and APG II
system, of 2003, for classification of angiosperms. It is applied to a
clade, a monophyletic group, which includes most of the (former) dicots.


The eudicots can be divided into two groups: the basal eudicots and the
core eudicots.³ Basal eudicot is an informal name for a paraphyletic group.
The core eudicots are a monophyletic group.⁴ A 2010 study suggested the
core eudicots can be divided into two clades, Gunnerales and a clade called
"Pentapetalae", comprising all the remaining core eudicots.⁵

The Pentapetalae can be then divided into three clades:

- the Dilleniaceae
- a "superrosid" clade consisting of Saxifragales, Vitales and rosids (the
  APG III system includes the Vitales in the rosids)
- a "superasterid" clade consisting of Santalales, Berberidopsidales,
  Caryophyllales and asterids

Within the core eudicots, the largest groups are the "rosids" (core group
with the prefix "eu−") and the "asterids" (core group with the prefix

This division of the eudicots is shown in the following cladogram:⁶

The following is a more detailed breakdown, showing within each clade some
unplaced families and orders (unplaced genera are not mentioned):

- clade eudicots
        family Buxaceae [+ family Didymelaceae] family Sabiaceae family
        Trochodendraceae [+ family Tetracentraceae]
      order Ranunculales order Proteales
    clade core eudicots
          family Aextoxicaceae family Berberidopsidaceae family
        order Gunnerales order Caryophyllales order Saxifragales order
      clade rosids
            family Aphloiaceae family Geissolomataceae family Ixerbaceae
            family Picramniaceae family Strasburgeriaceae family Vitaceae
          order Crossosomatales order Geraniales order Myrtales
        clade eurosids I
              family Zygophyllaceae [+ family Krameriaceae] family Huaceae
            order Celastrales order Malpighiales order Oxalidales order
            Fabales order Rosales order Cucurbitales order Fagales
        clade eurosids II
              family Tapisciaceae
            order Brassicales order Malvales order Sapindales
      clade asterids
          order Cornales order Ericales
        clade euasterids I
              family Boraginaceae family Icacinaceae family Oncothecaceae
              family Vahliaceae
            order Garryales order Solanales order Gentianales order
        clade euasterids II
              family Bruniaceae family Columelliaceae [+ family
              Desfontainiaceae] family Eremosynaceae family Escalloniaceae
              family Paracryphiaceae family Polyosmaceae family
              Sphenostemonaceae family Tribelaceae
            order Aquifoliales order Apiales order Dipsacales order

Note : " + ...." = optional, as a segregate of the previous family


[1] Endress, Peter K. (2002). "Morphology and Angiosperm Systematics in the
  Molecular Era". Botanical Review. Structural Botany in Systematics: A
  Symposium in Memory of William C. Dickison (New York: New York Botanical
  Garden Press) 68 (4): 545–570.
  doi:10.1663/0006-8101(2002)068[0545:maasit];2. ISSN 0006-8101.
  JSTOR 4354438.
[2] (Judd & Olmstead 2004).
[3] Worberg A, Quandt D, Barniske A-M, Löhne C, Hilu KW, Borsch T (2007)
  Phylogeny of basal eudicots: insights from non-coding and rapidly
  evolving DNA. Organisms, Diversity and Evolution 7 (1), 55-77.
[4] Douglas E. Soltis, Pamela S. Soltis, Peter K. Endress, and Mark W.
  Chase. Phylogeny and Evolution of Angiosperms. Sinauer Associates:
  Sunderland, MA, USA. (2005).
[5] Moore, Michael J.; Soltis, Pamela S.; Bell, Charles D.; Burleigh, J.
  Gordon & Soltis, Douglas E. (2010). "Phylogenetic analysis of 83 plastid
  genes further resolves the early diversification of eudicots".
  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107 (10): 4623–4628.
  doi:10.1073/pnas.0907801107. PMID 20176954.
[6] Based on:
Stevens, P.F. (2001–2014). "Trees". Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Retrieved
Stevens, P.F. (2001–2014). "Eudicots". Angiosperm Phylogeny Website.
  Retrieved 2014-11-17.
- Doyle, J. A. & Hotton, C. L. Diversification of early angiosperm pollen
  in a cladistic context. pp. 169–195 in Pollen and Spores. Patterns of
  Diversification (eds Blackmore, S. & Barnes, S. H.) (Clarendon, Oxford,
- Walter S. Judd and Richard G. Olmstead (2004). "A survey of tricolpate
  (eudicot) phylogenetic relationships". American Journal of Botany 91
  (10): 1627–1644. doi:10.3732/ajb.91.10.1627. PMID 21652313. (full text )
- Eudicots in Stevens, P. F. (2001 onwards). Angiosperm Phylogeny Website.
  Version 7, May 2006.

External links

- Eudicots at the Encyclopedia of Life
- Eudicots, Tree of Life Web Project
- Dicots Plant Life Forms


The Fatalii is a chili pepper of Capsicum chinense that originates in
central and southern Africa. It is described to have a fruity, citrus
flavor with a searing heat that is comparable to the standard habanero. The
Scoville Food Institute lists the Fatalii as the seventh hottest pepper,
ranging 125,000–400,000 Scoville units.¹


The plants typically grow 20 to 25 inches (51–64 cm) in height, but may
reach 3 feet (0.91 m) or taller under optimal growing conditions, and plant
distance should be about the same. The pendant pods get 2.5 to 3.5 inches
(6.4–8.9 cm) long and about 0.75 to 1.5 inches (1.9–3.8 cm) wide. From a
pale green, they mature to a bright yellow (there are red Fataliis around
as well, but the yellow one is the "real thing").²

Culinary Use

The Fatalii is known for its extreme heat and citrus flavor. As such, it
makes for a hot sauce that usually comprises other citrus flavors (e.g.,
lime, lemon). The walls of the peppers are very thin, making it very easy
to dry. After drying, the peppers can be used as powders.

See also

- List of Capsicum cultivars
- Capsicum chinense
- Capsicum


[1] Scoville Food Institute, Periodic Table of Scoville Units.
[2] Zoschke, Harald. "Pepper Profile: Fatalii".

Flowering plant

The flowering plants (angiosperms), also known as Angiospermae² ³ or
Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants. Angiosperms are
seed-producing plants like the gymnosperms and can be distinguished from
the gymnosperms by characteristics including flowers, endosperm within the
seeds, and the production of fruits that contain the seeds. Etymologically,
angiosperm means a plant that produces seeds within an enclosure, in other
words a fruiting plant.

The ancestors of flowering plants diverged from gymnosperms around 245–202
million years ago, and the first flowering plants known to exist are from
160 million years ago. They diversified enormously during the Lower
Cretaceous and became widespread around 120 million years ago, but replaced
conifers as the dominant trees only around 60–100 million years ago.

Angiosperm derived characteristics

- Flowers
The flowers, which are the reproductive organs of flowering plants, are the
  most remarkable feature distinguishing them from the other seed plants.
  Flowers provided angiosperms with the means to have a more
  species-specific breeding system, and hence a way to evolve more readily
  into different species without the risk of crossing back with related
  species. Faster speciation enabled the Angiosperms to adapt to a wider
  range of ecological niches. This has allowed flowering plants to largely
  dominate terrestrial ecosystems.
- Stamens with two pairs of pollen sacs
Stamens are much lighter than the corresponding organs of gymnosperms and
  have contributed to the diversification of angiosperms through time with
  adaptations to specialized pollination syndromes, such as particular
  pollinators. Stamens have also become modified through time to prevent
  self-fertilization, which has permitted further diversification, allowing
  angiosperms eventually to fill more niches.
- Reduced male parts, three cells
The male gametophyte in angiosperms is significantly reduced in size
  compared to those of gymnosperm seed plants. The smaller size of the
  pollen reduces the amount of time between pollination — the pollen grain
  reaching the female plant — and fertilization. In gymnosperms,
  fertilization can occur up to a year after pollination, whereas in
  angiosperms, fertilization begins very soon after pollination.⁴ The
  shorter amount of time between pollination and fertilization allows
  angiosperms to produce seeds earlier after pollination than gymnosperms,
  providing angiosperms a distinct evolutionary advantage.
- Closed carpel enclosing the ovules (carpel or carpels and accessory parts
  may become the fruit)
The closed carpel of angiosperms also allows adaptations to specialized
  pollination syndromes and controls. This helps to prevent
  self-fertilization, thereby maintaining increased diversity. Once the
  ovary is fertilized, the carpel and some surrounding tissues develop into
  a fruit. This fruit often serves as an attractant to seed-dispersing
  animals. The resulting cooperative relationship presents another
  advantage to angiosperms in the process of dispersal.
- Reduced female gametophyte, seven cells with eight nuclei
The reduced female gametophyte, like the reduced male gametophyte, may be
  an adaptation allowing for more rapid seed set, eventually leading to
  such flowering plant adaptations as annual herbaceous life-cycles,
  allowing the flowering plants to fill even more niches.
- Endosperm
In general, endosperm formation begins after fertilization and before the
  first division of the zygote. Endosperm is a highly nutritive tissue that
  can provide food for the developing embryo, the cotyledons, and sometimes
  the seedling when it first appears.

These distinguishing characteristics taken together have made the
angiosperms the most diverse and numerous land plants and the most
commercially important group to humans. The major exception to the
dominance of terrestrial ecosystems by flowering plants is the coniferous


Further information: Evolutionary history of plants § Flowers

Fossilized spores suggest that higher plants (embryophytes) have lived on
land for at least 475 million years.⁵ Early land plants reproduced sexually
with flagellated, swimming sperm, like the green algae from which they
evolved. An adaptation to terrestrialization was the development of upright
meiosporangia for dispersal by spores to new habitats. This feature is
lacking in the descendants of their nearest algal relatives, the
Charophycean green algae. A later terrestrial adaptation took place with
retention of the delicate, avascular sexual stage, the gametophyte, within
the tissues of the vascular sporophyte. This occurred by spore germination
within sporangia rather than spore release, as in non-seed plants. A
current example of how this might have happened can be seen in the
precocious spore germination in Selaginella, the spike-moss. The result for
the ancestors of angiosperms was enclosing them in a case, the seed. The
first seed bearing plants, like the ginkgo, and conifers (such as pines and
firs), did not produce flowers. The pollen grains (males) of Ginkgo and
cycads produce a pair of flagellated, mobile sperm cells that "swim" down
the developing pollen tube to the female and her eggs.

The apparently sudden appearance of nearly modern flowers in the fossil
record initially posed such a problem for the theory of evolution that it
was called an "abominable mystery" by Charles Darwin.⁶ However, the fossil
record has considerably grown since the time of Darwin, and recently
discovered angiosperm fossils such as Archaefructus, along with further
discoveries of fossil gymnosperms, suggest how angiosperm characteristics
may have been acquired in a series of steps. Several groups of extinct
gymnosperms, in particular seed ferns, have been proposed as the ancestors
of flowering plants, but there is no continuous fossil evidence showing
exactly how flowers evolved. Some older fossils, such as the upper Triassic
Sanmiguelia, have been suggested. Based on current evidence, some propose
that the ancestors of the angiosperms diverged from an unknown group of
gymnosperms during the late Triassic (245–202 million years ago). Fossil
angiosperm-like pollen from the Middle Triassic, (247.2–242.0 Ma) suggests
an older date for their origin.⁷ A close relationship between angiosperms
and gnetophytes, proposed on the basis of morphological evidence, has more
recently been disputed on the basis of molecular evidence that suggest
gnetophytes are instead more closely related to other gymnosperms.

The evolution of seed plants and later angiosperms appears to be the result
of two distinct rounds of whole genome duplication events.⁸ These occurred
at 319 million years ago and 192 million years ago. Another possible whole
genome duplication event at 160 million years ago perhaps created the
ancestral line that led to all modern flowering plants.⁹ That event was
studied by sequencing the genome of an ancient flowering plant, Amborella
trichopoda,¹⁰ and directly addresses Darwin's "abominable mystery."

The earliest known macrofossil confidently identified as an angiosperm,
Archaefructus liaoningensis, is dated to about 125 million years BP (the
Cretaceous period),¹¹ whereas pollen considered to be of angiosperm origin
takes the fossil record back to about 130 million years BP. However, one
study has suggested that the early-middle Jurassic plant Schmeissneria,
traditionally considered a type of ginkgo, may be the earliest known
angiosperm, or at least a close relative.¹² In addition, circumstantial
chemical evidence has been found for the existence of angiosperms as early
as 250 million years ago. Oleanane, a secondary metabolite produced by many
flowering plants, has been found in Permian deposits of that age together
with fossils of gigantopterids.¹³ ¹⁴ Gigantopterids are a group of extinct
seed plants that share many morphological traits with flowering plants,
although they are not known to have been flowering plants themselves.

In 2013 flowers encased in amber were found and dated 100 million years
before present. The amber had frozen the act of sexual reproduction in the
process of taking place. Microscopic images showed tubes growing out of
pollen and penetrating the flower's stigma. The pollen was sticky,
suggesting it was carried by insects.¹⁵

Recent DNA analysis based on molecular systematics ¹⁶ ¹⁷ showed that
Amborella trichopoda, found on the Pacific island of New Caledonia, belongs
to a sister group of the other flowering plants, and morphological studies
¹⁸ suggest that it has features that may have been characteristic of the
earliest flowering plants.

The orders Amborellales, Nymphaeales, and Austrobaileyales diverged as
separate lineages from the remaining angiosperm clade at a very early stage
in flowering plant evolution.¹⁹

The great angiosperm radiation, when a great diversity of angiosperms
appears in the fossil record, occurred in the mid-Cretaceous (approximately
100 million years ago). However, a study in 2007 estimated that the
division of the five most recent (the genus Ceratophyllum, the family
Chloranthaceae, the eudicots, the magnoliids, and the monocots) of the
eight main groups occurred around 140 million years ago.²⁰ By the late
Cretaceous, angiosperms appear to have dominated environments formerly
occupied by ferns and cycadophytes, but large canopy-forming trees replaced
conifers as the dominant trees only close to the end of the Cretaceous 66
million years ago or even later, at the beginning of the Tertiary.²¹ The
radiation of herbaceous angiosperms occurred much later.²² Yet, many fossil
plants recognizable as belonging to modern families (including beech, oak,
maple, and magnolia) had already appeared by the late Cretaceous.

It is generally assumed that the function of flowers, from the start, was
to involve mobile animals in their reproduction processes. That is, pollen
can be scattered even if the flower is not brightly colored or oddly shaped
in a way that attracts animals; however, by expending the energy required
to create such traits, angiosperms can enlist the aid of animals and, thus,
reproduce more efficiently.

Island genetics provides one proposed explanation for the sudden, fully
developed appearance of flowering plants. Island genetics is believed to be
a common source of speciation in general, especially when it comes to
radical adaptations that seem to have required inferior transitional forms.
Flowering plants may have evolved in an isolated setting like an island or
island chain, where the plants bearing them were able to develop a highly
specialized relationship with some specific animal (a wasp, for example).
Such a relationship, with a hypothetical wasp carrying pollen from one
plant to another much the way fig wasps do today, could result in the
development of a high degree of specialization in both the plant(s) and
their partners. Note that the wasp example is not incidental; bees, which,
it is postulated, evolved specifically due to mutualistic plant
relationships, are descended from wasps.

Animals are also involved in the distribution of seeds. Fruit, which is
formed by the enlargement of flower parts, is frequently a seed-dispersal
tool that attracts animals to eat or otherwise disturb it, incidentally
scattering the seeds it contains (see frugivory). Although many such
mutualistic relationships remain too fragile to survive competition and to
spread widely, flowering proved to be an unusually effective means of
reproduction, spreading (whatever its origin) to become the dominant form
of land plant life.

Flower ontogeny uses a combination of genes normally responsible for
forming new shoots.²³ The most primitive flowers probably had a variable
number of flower parts, often separate from (but in contact with) each
other. The flowers tended to grow in a spiral pattern, to be bisexual (in
plants, this means both male and female parts on the same flower), and to
be dominated by the ovary (female part). As flowers evolved, some
variations developed parts fused together, with a much more specific number
and design, and with either specific sexes per flower or plant or at least

Flower evolution continues to the present day; modern flowers have been so
profoundly influenced by humans that some of them cannot be pollinated in
nature. Many modern domesticated flower species were formerly simple weeds,
which sprouted only when the ground was disturbed. Some of them tended to
grow with human crops, perhaps already having symbiotic companion plant
relationships with them, and the prettiest did not get plucked because of
their beauty, developing a dependence upon and special adaptation to human

A few paleontologists have also proposed that flowering plants, or
angiosperms, might have evolved due to interactions with dinosaurs. One of
the idea's strongest proponents is Robert T. Bakker. He proposes that
herbivorous dinosaurs, with their eating habits, provided a selective
pressure on plants, for which adaptations either succeeded in deterring or
coping with predation by herbivores.²⁵


There are eight groups of living angiosperms:

- Amborella, a single species of shrub from New Caledonia;
- Nymphaeales, about 80 species,²⁸ water lilies and Hydatellaceae;
- Austrobaileyales, about 100 species²⁸ of woody plants from various parts
  of the world;
- Chloranthales, several dozen species of aromatic plants with toothed
- Magnoliids, about 9,000 species,²⁸ characterized by trimerous flowers,
  pollen with one pore, and usually branching-veined leaves—for example
  magnolias, bay laurel, and black pepper;
- Monocots, about 70,000 species,²⁸ characterized by trimerous flowers, a
  single cotyledon, pollen with one pore, and usually parallel-veined
  leaves—for example grasses, orchids, and palms;
- Ceratophyllum, about 6 species²⁸ of aquatic plants, perhaps most familiar
  as aquarium plants;
- Eudicots, about 175,000 species,²⁸ characterized by 4- or 5-merous
  flowers, pollen with three pores, and usually branching-veined leaves—for
  example sunflowers, petunia, buttercup, apples, and oaks.

The exact relationship between these eight groups is not yet clear,
although there is agreement that the first three groups to diverge from the
ancestral angiosperm were Amborellales, Nymphaeales, and
Austrobaileyales.²⁹ The term basal angiosperms refers to these three
groups. Among the rest, the relationship between the three broadest of
these groups (magnoliids, monocots, and eudicots) remains unclear. Some
analyses make the magnoliids the first to diverge, others the monocots.²⁷
Ceratophyllum seems to group with the eudicots rather than with the

History of classification

The botanical term "Angiosperm", from the Ancient Greek αγγείον, angeíon
(bottle, vessel) and σπέρμα, (seed), was coined in the form Angiospermae by
Paul Hermann in 1690, as the name of one of his primary divisions of the
plant kingdom. This included flowering plants possessing seeds enclosed in
capsules, distinguished from his Gymnospermae, or flowering plants with
achenial or schizo-carpic fruits, the whole fruit or each of its pieces
being here regarded as a seed and naked. The term and its antonym were
maintained by Carolus Linnaeus with the same sense, but with restricted
application, in the names of the orders of his class Didynamia. Its use
with any approach to its modern scope became possible only after 1827, when
Robert Brown established the existence of truly naked ovules in the
Cycadeae and Coniferae, and applied to them the name Gymnosperms. From that
time onward, as long as these Gymnosperms were, as was usual, reckoned as
dicotyledonous flowering plants, the term Angiosperm was used
antithetically by botanical writers, with varying scope, as a group-name
for other dicotyledonous plants.

In 1851, Hofmeister discovered the changes occurring in the embryo-sac of
flowering plants, and determined the correct relationships of these to the
Cryptogamia. This fixed the position of Gymnosperms as a class distinct
from Dicotyledons, and the term Angiosperm then gradually came to be
accepted as the suitable designation for the whole of the flowering plants
other than Gymnosperms, including the classes of Dicotyledons and
Monocotyledons. This is the sense in which the term is used today.

In most taxonomies, the flowering plants are treated as a coherent group.
The most popular descriptive name has been Angiospermae (Angiosperms), with
Anthophyta ("flowering plants") a second choice. These names are not linked
to any rank. The Wettstein system and the Engler system use the name
Angiospermae, at the assigned rank of subdivision. The Reveal system
treated flowering plants as subdivision Magnoliophytina (Frohne & U. Jensen
ex Reveal, Phytologia 79: 70 1996), but later split it to Magnoliopsida,
Liliopsida, and Rosopsida. The Takhtajan system and Cronquist system treat
this group at the rank of division, leading to the name Magnoliophyta (from
the family name Magnoliaceae). The Dahlgren system and Thorne system (1992)
treat this group at the rank of class, leading to the name Magnoliopsida.
The APG system of 1998, and the later 2003³⁰ and 2009²⁶ revisions, treat
the flowering plants as a clade called angiosperms without a formal
botanical name. However, a formal classification was published alongside
the 2009 revision in which the flowering plants form the Subclass

The internal classification of this group has undergone considerable
revision. The Cronquist system, proposed by Arthur Cronquist in 1968 and
published in its full form in 1981, is still widely used but is no longer
believed to accurately reflect phylogeny. A consensus about how the
flowering plants should be arranged has recently begun to emerge through
the work of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG), which published an
influential reclassification of the angiosperms in 1998. Updates
incorporating more recent research were published as APG II in 2003³⁰ and
as APG III in 2009.²⁶ ³²

Traditionally, the flowering plants are divided into two groups, which in
the Cronquist system are called Magnoliopsida (at the rank of class, formed
from the family name Magnoliaceae) and Liliopsida (at the rank of class,
formed from the family name Liliaceae). Other descriptive names allowed by
Article 16 of the ICBN include Dicotyledones or Dicotyledoneae, and
Monocotyledones or Monocotyledoneae, which have a long history of use. In
English a member of either group may be called a dicotyledon (plural
dicotyledons) and monocotyledon (plural monocotyledons), or abbreviated, as
dicot (plural dicots) and monocot (plural monocots). These names derive
from the observation that the dicots most often have two cotyledons, or
embryonic leaves, within each seed. The monocots usually have only one, but
the rule is not absolute either way. From a diagnostic point of view, the
number of cotyledons is neither a particularly handy nor a reliable

Recent studies, as by the APG, show that the monocots form a monophyletic
group (clade) but that the dicots do not (they are paraphyletic).
Nevertheless, the majority of dicot species do form a monophyletic group,
called the eudicots or tricolpates. Of the remaining dicot species, most
belong to a third major clade known as the magnoliids, containing about
9,000 species. The rest include a paraphyletic grouping of primitive
species known collectively as the basal angiosperms, plus the families
Ceratophyllaceae and Chloranthaceae.

Flowering plant diversity

The number of species of flowering plants is estimated to be in the range
of 250,000 to 400,000.³³ ³⁴ ³⁵ This compares to around 12,000 species of
moss³⁶ or 11,000 species of pteridophytes,³⁷ showing that the flowering
plants are much more diverse. The number of families in APG (1998) was 462.
In APG II³⁰ (2003) it is not settled; at maximum it is 457, but within this
number there are 55 optional segregates, so that the minimum number of
families in this system is 402. In APG III (2009) there are 415 families.²⁶

The diversity of flowering plants is not evenly distributed. Nearly all
species belong to the eudicot (75%), monocot (23%), and magnoliid (2%)
clades. The remaining 5 clades contain a little over 250 species in total;
i.e. less than 0.1% of flowering plant diversity, divided among 9 families.
The 42 most-diverse of 443 families of flowering plants by species,³⁸ in
their APG circumscriptions, are

- Asteraceae or Compositae (daisy family): 22,750 species;
- Orchidaceae (orchid family): 21,950;
- Fabaceae or Leguminosae (bean family): 19,400;
- Rubiaceae (madder family): 13,150;³⁹
- Poaceae or Gramineae (grass family): 10,035;
- Lamiaceae or Labiatae (mint family): 7,175;
- Euphorbiaceae (spurge family): 5,735;
- Melastomataceae or Melastomaceae (melastome family): 5,005;
- Myrtaceae (myrtle family): 4,625;
- Apocynaceae (dogbane family): 4,555;
- Cyperaceae (sedge family): 4,350;
- Malvaceae (mallow family): 4,225;
- Araceae (arum family): 4,025;
- Ericaceae (heath family): 3,995;
- Gesneriaceae (gesneriad family): 3,870;
- Apiaceae or Umbelliferae (parsley family): 3,780;
- Brassicaceae or Cruciferae (cabbage family): 3,710:
- Piperaceae (pepper family): 3,600;
- Acanthaceae (acanthus family): 3,500;
- Rosaceae (rose family): 2,830;
- Boraginaceae (borage family): 2,740;
- Urticaceae (nettle family): 2,625;
- Ranunculaceae (buttercup family): 2,525;
- Lauraceae (laurel family): 2,500;
- Solanaceae (nightshade family): 2,460;
- Campanulaceae (bellflower family): 2,380;
- Arecaceae (palm family): 2,361;
- Annonaceae (custard apple family): 2,220;
- Caryophyllaceae (pink family): 2,200;
- Orobanchaceae (broomrape family): 2,060;
- Amaranthaceae (amaranth family): 2,050;
- Iridaceae (iris family): 2,025;
- Aizoaceae or Ficoidaceae (ice plant family): 2,020;
- Rutaceae (rue family): 1,815;
- Phyllanthaceae (phyllanthus family): 1,745;
- Scrophulariaceae (figwort family): 1,700;
- Gentianaceae (gentian family): 1,650;
- Convolvulaceae (bindweed family): 1,600;
- Proteaceae (protea family): 1,600;
- Sapindaceae (soapberry family): 1,580;
- Cactaceae (cactus family): 1,500;
- Araliaceae (Aralia or ivy family): 1,450.

Of these, the Orchidaceae, Poaceae, Cyperaceae, Arecaceae, and Iridaceae
are monocot families; Piperaceae, Lauraceae, and Annonaceae are magnoliid
(acot); the others are eudicot.

Vascular anatomy

The amount and complexity of tissue-formation in flowering plants exceeds
that of gymnosperms. The vascular bundles of the stem are arranged such
that the xylem and phloem form concentric rings.

In the dicotyledons, the bundles in the very young stem are arranged in an
open ring, separating a central pith from an outer cortex. In each bundle,
separating the xylem and phloem, is a layer of meristem or active formative
tissue known as cambium. By the formation of a layer of cambium between the
bundles (interfascicular cambium), a complete ring is formed, and a regular
periodical increase in thickness results from the development of xylem on
the inside and phloem on the outside. The soft phloem becomes crushed, but
the hard wood persists and forms the bulk of the stem and branches of the
woody perennial. Owing to differences in the character of the elements
produced at the beginning and end of the season, the wood is marked out in
transverse section into concentric rings, one for each season of growth,
called annual rings.

Among the monocotyledons, the bundles are more numerous in the young stem
and are scattered through the ground tissue. They contain no cambium and
once formed the stem increases in diameter only in exceptional cases.

The flower, fruit, and seed


Main articles: Flower and Plant sexuality

The characteristic feature of angiosperms is the flower. Flowers show
remarkable variation in form and elaboration, and provide the most
trustworthy external characteristics for establishing relationships among
angiosperm species. The function of the flower is to ensure fertilization
of the ovule and development of fruit containing seeds. The floral
apparatus may arise terminally on a shoot or from the axil of a leaf (where
the petiole attaches to the stem). Occasionally, as in violets, a flower
arises singly in the axil of an ordinary foliage-leaf. More typically, the
flower-bearing portion of the plant is sharply distinguished from the
foliage-bearing or vegetative portion, and forms a more or less elaborate
branch-system called an inflorescence.

There are two kinds of reproductive cells produced by flowers. Microspores,
which will divide to become pollen grains, are the "male" cells and are
borne in the stamens (or microsporophylls). The "female" cells called
megaspores, which will divide to become the egg cell (megagametogenesis),
are contained in the ovule and enclosed in the carpel (or megasporophyll).

The flower may consist only of these parts, as in willow, where each flower
comprises only a few stamens or two carpels. Usually, other structures are
present and serve to protect the sporophylls and to form an envelope
attractive to pollinators. The individual members of these surrounding
structures are known as sepals and petals (or tepals in flowers such as
Magnolia where sepals and petals are not distinguishable from each other).
The outer series (calyx of sepals) is usually green and leaf-like, and
functions to protect the rest of the flower, especially the bud. The inner
series (corolla of petals) is, in general, white or brightly colored, and
is more delicate in structure. It functions to attract insect or bird
pollinators. Attraction is effected by color, scent, and nectar, which may
be secreted in some part of the flower. The characteristics that attract
pollinators account for the popularity of flowers and flowering plants
among humans.

While the majority of flowers are perfect or hermaphrodite (having both
pollen and ovule producing parts in the same flower structure), flowering
plants have developed numerous morphological and physiological mechanisms
to reduce or prevent self-fertilization. Heteromorphic flowers have short
carpels and long stamens, or vice versa, so animal pollinators cannot
easily transfer pollen to the pistil (receptive part of the carpel).
Homomorphic flowers may employ a biochemical (physiological) mechanism
called self-incompatibility to discriminate between self and non-self
pollen grains. In other species, the male and female parts are
morphologically separated, developing on different flowers.

Fertilization and embryogenesis

Main articles: Fertilization and Plant embryogenesis

Double fertilization refers to a process in which two sperm cells fertilize
cells in the ovary. This process begins when a pollen grain adheres to the
stigma of the pistil (female reproductive structure), germinates, and grows
a long pollen tube. While this pollen tube is growing, a haploid generative
cell travels down the tube behind the tube nucleus. The generative cell
divides by mitosis to produce two haploid (n) sperm cells. As the pollen
tube grows, it makes its way from the stigma, down the style and into the
ovary. Here the pollen tube reaches the micropyle of the ovule and digests
its way into one of the synergids, releasing its contents (which include
the sperm cells). The synergid that the cells were released into
degenerates and one sperm makes its way to fertilize the egg cell,
producing a diploid (2n) zygote. The second sperm cell fuses with both
central cell nuclei, producing a triploid (3n) cell. As the zygote develops
into an embryo, the triploid cell develops into the endosperm, which serves
as the embryo's food supply. The ovary now will develop into fruit and the
ovule will develop into seed.

Fruit and seed

Main articles: Seed and Fruit

As the development of embryo and endosperm proceeds within the embryo sac,
the sac wall enlarges and combines with the nucellus (which is likewise
enlarging) and the integument to form the seed coat. The ovary wall
develops to form the fruit or pericarp, whose form is closely associated
with the manner of distribution of the seed.

Frequently, the influence of fertilization is felt beyond the ovary, and
other parts of the flower take part in the formation of the fruit, e.g.,
the floral receptacle in the apple, strawberry, and others.

The character of the seed coat bears a definite relation to that of the
fruit. They protect the embryo and aid in dissemination; they may also
directly promote germination. Among plants with indehiscent fruits, in
general, the fruit provides protection for the embryo and secures
dissemination. In this case, the seed coat is only slightly developed. If
the fruit is dehiscent and the seed is exposed, in general, the seed-coat
is well developed, and must discharge the functions otherwise executed by
the fruit.

Economic importance

Agriculture is almost entirely dependent on angiosperms, which provide
virtually all plant-based food, and also provide a significant amount of
livestock feed. Of all the families of plants, the Poaceae, or grass family
(grains), is by far the most important, providing the bulk of all
feedstocks (rice, corn — maize, wheat, barley, rye, oats, pearl millet,
sugar cane, sorghum). The Fabaceae, or legume family, comes in second
place. Also of high importance are the Solanaceae, or nightshade family
(potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers, among others), the Cucurbitaceae, or
gourd family (also including pumpkins and melons), the Brassicaceae, or
mustard plant family (including rapeseed and the innumerable varieties of
the cabbage species Brassica oleracea), and the Apiaceae, or parsley
family. Many of our fruits come from the Rutaceae, or rue family (including
oranges, lemons, grapefruits, etc.), and the Rosaceae, or rose family
(including apples, pears, cherries, apricots, plums, etc.).

In some parts of the world, certain single species assume paramount
importance because of their variety of uses, for example the coconut (Cocos
nucifera) on Pacific atolls, and the olive (Olea europaea) in the
Mediterranean region.

Flowering plants also provide economic resources in the form of wood,
paper, fiber (cotton, flax, and hemp, among others), medicines (digitalis,
camphor), decorative and landscaping plants, and many other uses. The main
area in which they are surpassed by other plants — namely, coniferous trees
(Pinales), which are non-flowering (gymnosperms) — is timber and paper

See also

- List of garden plants
- List of plant orders
- List of plants by common name
- List of systems of plant taxonomy


[1] Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2009), An update of the Angiosperm
  Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering
  plants: APG III, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161 (2):
  105–121, doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x, retrieved 2010-12-10
[2] Lindley, J (1830). Introduction to the Natural System of Botany.
  London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green. xxxvi.
[3] Cantino, Philip D.; James A. Doyle, Sean W. Graham, Walter S. Judd,
  Richard G. Olmstead, Douglas E. Soltis, Pamela S. Soltis, & Michael J.
  Donoghue (2007). "Towards a phylogenetic nomenclature of Tracheophyta".
  Taxon 56 (3): E1–E44. doi:10.2307/25065865.
[4] Williams, J.H. (2012). "The evolution of pollen germination timing in
  flowering plants: Austrobaileya scandens (Austrobaileyaceae)". AoB Plants
  2012 (
[5] Edwards, D (2000). "The role of mid-palaeozoic mesofossils in the
  detection of early bryophytes". Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 355
  (1398): 733–755. doi:10.1098/rstb.2000.0613. PMC 1692787. PMID 10905607.
[6] Davies, T. J. (2004). "Darwin's abominable mystery: Insights from a
  supertree of the angiosperms". Proceedings of the National Academy of
  Sciences 101 (7): 1904–9. doi:10.1073/pnas.0308127100. PMC 357025. PMID
[7] Hochuli, P. A.; Feist-Burkhardt, S. (2013). "Angiosperm-like pollen and
  Afropollis from the Middle Triassic (Anisian) of the Germanic Basin
  (Northern Switzerland)". Front. Plant Sci. 4: 344.
[8] Jiao, Yuannian; Wickett, No4rman J.; Ayyampalayam, Saravanaraj;
  Chanderbali, André S. et al. (2011). "Ancestral polyploidy in seed plants
  and angiosperms". Nature 473 (7345): 97–100. doi:10.1038/nature09916.
  PMID 21478875.
[9] Ewen Callaway (December 2013). "Shrub genome reveals secrets of flower
  power". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2013.14426.
[10] Keith Adams (December 2013). "Genomic Clues to the Ancestral Flowering
  Plant". Science 342 (6165): 1456–1457. doi:10.1126/science.1248709.
[11] Sun, G., Ji, Q., Dilcher, D.L., Zheng, S., Nixon, K.C., Wang, X.
  (2002). "Archaefructaceae, a New Basal Angiosperm Family". Science 296
  (5569): 899–904. doi:10.1126/science.1069439. PMID 11988572.
[12] Xin Wing; Shuying Duan, Baoyin Geng, Jinzhong Cui and Yong Yang
  (2007). "Schmeissneria: A missing link to angiosperms?". BMC Evolutionary
  Biology 7: 14. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-7-14. PMC 1805421. PMID 17284326.
[13] Taylor, David Winship; Li, Hongqi; Dahl, Jeremy; Fago, Fred J.;
  Zinniker, David; Moldowan, J. Michael (2006). "Biogeochemical evidence
  for the presence of the angiosperm molecular fossil oleanane in Paleozoic
  and Mesozoic non-angiospermous fossils". Paleobiology 32 (2): 179.
  doi:10.1666/0094-8373(2006)32[179:BEFTPO]2.0.CO;2. ISSN 0094-8373.
[14] Oily Fossils Provide Clues To The Evolution Of Flowers — ScienceDaily
  (April 5, 2001)
[15] Poinar Jr., George O; Chambers, Kenton L; Wunderlich, Joerg (10
  December 2013). "Micropetasos, a new genus of angiosperms from
  mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber" (PDF). J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 7 (2):
  745–750. Lay summary (3 January 2014).
[16] NOVA — Transcripts — First Flower — PBS Airdate: April 17, 2007
[17] Soltis, D. E.; Soltis, P. S. (2004). "Amborella not a "basal
  angiosperm"? Not so fast". American Journal of Botany 91 (6): 997–1001.
  doi:10.3732/ajb.91.6.997. PMID 21653455.
[18] South Pacific plant may be missing link in evolution of flowering
  plants — Public release date: 17 May 2006
[19] Vialette-Guiraud, AC; Alaux, M; Legeai, F; Finet, C et al. (2011).
  "Cabomba as a model for studies of early angiosperm evolution". Annals of
  Botany 108 (4): 589–98. doi:10.1093/aob/mcr088. PMC 3170152. PMID
[20] Moore, M. J.; Bell, C. D.; Soltis, P. S.; Soltis, D. E. (2007). "Using
  plastid genome-scale data to resolve enigmatic relationships among basal
  angiosperms". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104 (49):
  19363–8. doi:10.1073/pnas.0708072104. PMC 2148295. PMID 18048334.
[21] David Sadava; H. Craig Heller; Gordon H. Orians; William K. Purves,
  David M. Hillis (December 2006). Life: the science of biology. Macmillan.
  pp. 477–. ISBN 978-0-7167-7674-1. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
[22] Stewart, Wilson Nichols; Rothwell, Gar W. (1993). Paleobotany and the
  evolution of plants (2nd ed.). Cambridge Univ. Press. p. 498. ISBN
[23] Age-Old Question On Evolution Of Flowers Answered — 15-Jun-2001
[24] Human Affection Altered Evolution of Flowers — By Robert Roy Britt,
  LiveScience Senior Writer (posted: 26 May 2005 06:53 am ET)
[25] Bakker, Robert T. (17 August 1978). "Dinosaur Feeding Behaviour and
  the Origin of Flowering Plants". Nature (London: Macmillan) 274 (5672):
  661–663. doi:10.1038/274661a0.
[26] Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2009). "An update of the Angiosperm
  Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering
  plants: APG III". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161 (2):
  105–121. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
[27] Bell, C.D.; Soltis, D.E. & Soltis, P.S. (2010). "The Age and
  Diversification of the Angiosperms Revisited". American Journal of Botany
  97 (8): 1296–1303. doi:10.3732/ajb.0900346. PMID 21616882., p. 1300
[28] Jeffrey D. Palmer, Douglas E. Soltis and Mark W. Chase, Chase, M. W.
  (2004). "Figure 2". "The plant tree of life: an overview and some points
  of view". American Journal of Botany 91 (10): 1437–1445.
  doi:10.3732/ajb.91.10.1437. PMID 21652302.
[29] Pamela S. Soltis and Douglas E. Soltis (2004). "The origin and
  diversification of angiosperms". American Journal of Botany 91 (10):
  1614–1626. doi:10.3732/ajb.91.10.1614. PMID 21652312.
[30] Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2003). "An update of the Angiosperm
  Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering
  plants: APG II". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 141 (4):
  399–436. doi:10.1046/j.1095-8339.2003.t01-1-00158.x.
[31] Chase, Mark W. & Reveal, James L. (2009). "A phylogenetic
  classification of the land plants to accompany APG III". Botanical
  Journal of the Linnean Society 161 (2): 122–127.
  doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.01002.x.| Chase & Reveal 2009
[32] "As easy as APG III - Scientists revise the system of classifying
  flowering plants". The Linnean Society of London. 2009-10-08. Retrieved
[33] Thorne, R. F. (2002). "How many species of seed plants are there?".
  Taxon 51 (3): 511–522. doi:10.2307/1554864. JSTOR 1554864.
[34] Scotland, R. W. & Wortley, A. H. (2003). "How many species of seed
  plants are there?". Taxon 52 (1): 101–104. doi:10.2307/3647306. JSTOR
[35] Govaerts, R. (2003). "How many species of seed plants are there? – a
  response". Taxon 52 (3): 583–584. doi:10.2307/3647457. JSTOR 3647457.
[36] Goffinet, Bernard; William R. Buck (2004). "Systematics of the
  Bryophyta (Mosses): From molecules to a revised classification".
  Monographs in Systematic Botany (Missouri Botanical Garden Press) 98:
[37] Raven, Peter H., Ray F. Evert, & Susan E. Eichhorn, 2005. Biology of
  Plants, 7th edition. (New York: W. H. Freeman and Company). ISBN
[38] Stevens, P.F. (2011). "Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (at Missouri
  Botanical Garden)".
[39] "Kew Scientist 30 (October2006)".

Further reading

- Cronquist, Arthur (1981). An Integrated System of Classification of
  Flowering Plants. New York: Columbia Univ. Press. ISBN 0-231-03880-1.
- Heywood, V. H., Brummitt, R. K., Culham, A. & Seberg, O. (2007).
  Flowering Plant Families of the World. Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada:
  Firefly Books. ISBN 1-55407-206-9.
- Dilcher, D. (2000). "Toward a new synthesis: Major evolutionary trends in
  the angiosperm fossil record". Proceedings of the National Academy of
  Sciences 97 (13): 7030. doi:10.1073/pnas.97.13.7030.
- Simpson, M.G. Plant Systematics, 2nd Edition. Elsevier/Academic Press.
- Raven, P.H., R.F. Evert, S.E. Eichhorn. Biology of Plants, 7th Edition.
  W.H. Freeman. 2004.
- Sattler, R. 1973. Organogenesis of Flowers. A Photographic Text-Atlas.
  University of Toronto Press.

External links

- Cole, Theodor C.H.; Hilger, Dr. Harmut H. Angiosperm Phylogeny Poster –
  Flowering Plant Systamatics
- Cromie, William J. (December 16, 1999). "Oldest Known Flowering Plants
  Identified By Genes". Harvard University Gazette.
- Watson, L. and Dallwitz, M.J. (1992 onwards). The families of flowering
  plants: descriptions, illustrations, identification, information
- Flowering plant at the Encyclopedia of Life

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain:
Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge
University Press.

Fresno pepper

The Fresno chili pepper (/ˈfrɛznoʊ/ FREZ-noh) is a medium-sized cultivar of
Capsicum annuum. It is similar to the Jalapeño pepper, but contains thinner
walls. The fruit starts out bright green changing to orange and red as
fully matured. A mature Fresno pepper will be conical in shape, 2 inches
long, and about 1 inch in diameter at the stem.¹ The plants do well in warm
to hot temperatures and dry climates with long sunny summer days and cool
nights. They are very cold-sensitive, but disease resistant reaching a
height of 24 to 30 inches.²


The Fresno was developed and released for commercial cultivation by
Clarence Brown Hamlin in 1952. Hamlin named the chili "Fresno" in honor of
Fresno, California. They are grown throughout California, specifically the
San Joaquin Valley.³


Fresno peppers are frequently used for ceviche, salsa and as an
accompaniment for rice and black beans. Due to their thin walls, they do
not dry well and are not good for chili powder. In cooking, they can often
be substituted for or with Jalapeño and Serrano peppers.⁴ Mild green ones
can typically be purchased in the summer while the hot red ones are
available in the fall. Depending on its maturity it has different culinary

Immature green Fresno peppers are more versatile and can be added to many
types of dishes. They add mild heat and flavor to sauces, chutneys, dips,
relishes, casseroles, soups, stews and savory dishes. Green Fresnos can
also be pickled and eaten whole. They make an excellent garnish for Mexican
and Southwestern American cuisine.⁵

Mature red Fresno peppers provide less flavor and more heat. They are often
added to salsas, relishes, ceviches, and marinades. They make good toppings
for tacos, tostadas, burgers, sausages and hot dogs. They are large enough
to stuff with cheeses, potatoes, seafood and meat.³ Specific recipes
include versions of Romesco and rojo cream sauces.⁶

Nutritional and medical information

Fresno chili are an excellent source of vitamin C, B vitamins, containing
significant amounts of iron, thiamin, niacin, magnesium and riboflavin.
They are low in calories, fat, and sodium and help to reduce cholesterol.
Many of these nutrients reach their highest concentrations in red ripe
fruit. The heat element is from a chemical compound called capsaicin that
provides a natural anti-inflammatory, pain relief and promotes a feeling of
being full.⁵ Chilies contain a good amount of minerals like potassium,
manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell
and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme,
superoxide dismutase.

See also

- Jalapeño pepper
- List of Capsicum cultivars
- Serrano pepper


[1] Visual Guide to Peppers
[2] Bonnie's Plants: Fresno Chili
[3] Red Fresno Chile Peppers Information, Recipes, and Facts
[4] Cook's Thesaurus: Fresh Chiles
[5] Green Fresno Chile Peppers Information, Recipes, and Facts
[6] The Chili of Fresno


For other uses, see Fruit (disambiguation).

In botany, a fruit is a part of a flowering plant that derives from
specific tissues of the flower, one or more ovaries, and in some cases
accessory tissues. Fruits are the means by which these plants disseminate
seeds. Many of them that bear edible fruits, in particular, have propagated
with the movements of humans and animals in a symbiotic relationship as a
means for seed dispersal and nutrition, respectively; in fact, humans and
many animals have become dependent on fruits as a source of food.¹ Fruits
account for a substantial fraction of the world's agricultural output, and
some (such as the apple and the pomegranate) have acquired extensive
cultural and symbolic meanings.

In common language usage, "fruit" normally means the fleshy seed-associated
structures of a plant that are sweet or sour and edible in the raw state,
such as apples, oranges, grapes, strawberries, bananas, and lemons. On the
other hand, the botanical sense of "fruit" includes many structures that
are not commonly called "fruits", such as bean pods, corn kernels, wheat
grains, and tomatoes.² ³

The section of a fungus that produces spores is also called a fruiting

Botanic fruit and culinary fruit

In the culinary sense of these words, a fruit is usually any sweet-tasting
plant product, especially those associated with seeds; a vegetable is any
savory or less sweet plant product; and a nut is any hard, oily, and
shelled plant product.⁵

These culinary vegetables that are botanically fruit include cucurbits
(e.g., squash, pumpkin, and cucumber), tomatoes, peas, beans, corn,
eggplant, and sweet pepper. In addition, some spices, such as allspice and
chilies, are fruits, botanically speaking.⁶ In contrast, rhubarb is often
referred to as a fruit, because it is used to make sweet desserts such as
pies, though only the petiole (leaf stalk) of the rhubarb plant is edible.⁷
Edible gymnosperm seeds are often given fruit names, e.g., pine nuts,
ginkgo nuts.

Botanically, a cereal grain, such as corn, wheat or rice, is also a kind of
fruit, termed a caryopsis. However, the fruit wall is very thin, and is
fused to the seed coat, so almost all of the edible grain is actually a

Many common terms for seeds and fruit do not correspond to the botanical
classifications. In botany, seeds are ripened ovules; fruits are the
ripened ovaries or carpels that contain the seeds and a nut is a type of
fruit and not a seed.⁶

Fruit structure

Main article: Fruit anatomy

The outer, often edible layer, is the pericarp, formed from the ovary and
surrounding the seeds, although in some species other tissues contribute to
or form the edible portion. The pericarp may be described in three layers
from outer to inner, the epicarp, mesocarp and endocarp.

Fruit that bears a prominent pointed terminal projection is said to be

Fruit development

A fruit results from maturation of one or more flowers, and the gynoecium
of the flower(s) forms all or part of the fruit.¹⁰

Inside the ovary/ovaries are one or more ovules where the megagametophyte
contains the egg cell.¹¹ After double fertilization, these ovules will
become seeds. The ovules are fertilized in a process that starts with
pollination, which involves the movement of pollen from the stamens to the
stigma of flowers. After pollination, a tube grows from the pollen through
the stigma into the ovary to the ovule and two sperm are transferred from
the pollen to the megagametophyte. Within the megagametophyte one of the
two sperm unites with the egg, forming a zygote, and the second sperm
enters the central cell forming the endosperm mother cell, which completes
the double fertilization process.¹² ¹³ Later the zygote will give rise to
the embryo of the seed, and the endosperm mother cell will give rise to
endosperm, a nutritive tissue used by the embryo.

As the ovules develop into seeds, the ovary begins to ripen and the ovary
wall, the pericarp, may become fleshy (as in berries or drupes), or form a
hard outer covering (as in nuts). In some multiseeded fruits, the extent to
which the flesh develops is proportional to the number of fertilized
ovules.¹⁴ The pericarp is often differentiated into two or three distinct
layers called the exocarp (outer layer, also called epicarp), mesocarp
(middle layer), and endocarp (inner layer). In some fruits, especially
simple fruits derived from an inferior ovary, other parts of the flower
(such as the floral tube, including the petals, sepals, and stamens), fuse
with the ovary and ripen with it. In other cases, the sepals, petals and/or
stamens and style of the flower fall off. When such other floral parts are
a significant part of the fruit, it is called an accessory fruit. Since
other parts of the flower may contribute to the structure of the fruit, it
is important to study flower structure to understand how a particular fruit

There are three general modes of fruit development:

- Apocarpous fruits develop from a single flower having one or more
  separate carpels, and they are the simplest fruits.
- Syncarpous fruits develop from a single gynoecium having two or more
  carpels fused together.
- Multiple fruits form from many different flowers.

Plant scientists have grouped fruits into three main groups, simple fruits,
aggregate fruits, and composite or multiple fruits.¹⁵ The groupings are not
evolutionarily relevant, since many diverse plant taxa may be in the same
group, but reflect how the flower organs are arranged and how the fruits

Simple fruit

Simple fruits can be either dry or fleshy, and result from the ripening of
a simple or compound ovary in a flower with only one pistil. Dry fruits may
be either dehiscent (opening to discharge seeds), or indehiscent (not
opening to discharge seeds).¹⁶ Types of dry, simple fruits, with examples
of each, are:

- achene – Most commonly seen in aggregate fruits (e.g. strawberry)
- capsule – (Brazil nut)
- caryopsis – (wheat)
- Cypsela – An achene-like fruit derived from the individual florets in a
  capitulum (e.g. dandelion).
- fibrous drupe – (coconut, walnut)
- follicle – is formed from a single carpel, and opens by one suture (e.g.
  milkweed). More commonly seen in aggregate fruits (e.g. magnolia)
- legume – (pea, bean, peanut)
- loment – a type of indehiscent legume
- nut – (hazelnut, beech, oak acorn)
- samara – (elm, ash, maple key)
- schizocarp – (carrot seed)
- silique – (radish seed)
- silicle – (shepherd's purse)
- utricle – (beet)

Fruits in which part or all of the pericarp (fruit wall) is fleshy at
maturity are simple fleshy fruits. Types of fleshy, simple fruits (with
examples) are:

- berry – (redcurrant, gooseberry, tomato, cranberry)
- stone fruit or drupe (plum, cherry, peach, apricot, olive)

An aggregate fruit, or etaerio, develops from a single flower with numerous
simple pistils.¹⁷

- Magnolia and Peony, collection of follicles developing from one flower.
- Sweet gum, collection of capsules.
- Sycamore, collection of achenes.
- Teasel, collection of cypsellas
- Tuliptree, collection of samaras.

The pome fruits of the family Rosaceae, (including apples, pears, rosehips,
and saskatoon berry) are a syncarpous fleshy fruit, a simple fruit,
developing from a half-inferior ovary.¹⁸

Schizocarp fruits form from a syncarpous ovary and do not really dehisce,
but split into segments with one or more seeds; they include a number of
different forms from a wide range of families.¹⁵ Carrot seed is an example.

Aggregate fruit

Main article: Aggregate fruit

Aggregate fruits form from single flowers that have multiple carpels which
are not joined together, i.e. each pistil contains one carpel. Each pistil
forms a fruitlet, and collectively the fruitlets are called an etaerio.
Four types of aggregate fruits include etaerios of achenes, follicles,
drupelets, and berries. Ranunculaceae species, including Clematis and
Ranunculus have an etaerio of achenes, Calotropis has an etaerio of
follicles, and Rubus species like raspberry, have an etaerio of drupelets.
Annona have Etaerio of berries.¹⁹ ²⁰

The raspberry, whose pistils are termed drupelets because each is like a
small drupe attached to the receptacle. In some bramble fruits (such as
blackberry) the receptacle is elongated and part of the ripe fruit, making
the blackberry an aggregate-accessory fruit.²¹ The strawberry is also an
aggregate-accessory fruit, only one in which the seeds are contained in
achenes.²² In all these examples, the fruit develops from a single flower
with numerous pistils.

Multiple fruits

Main article: Multiple fruit

A multiple fruit is one formed from a cluster of flowers (called an
inflorescence). Each flower produces a fruit, but these mature into a
single mass.²³ Examples are the pineapple, fig, mulberry, osage-orange, and

In the photograph on the right, stages of flowering and fruit development
in the noni or Indian mulberry (Morinda citrifolia) can be observed on a
single branch. First an inflorescence of white flowers called a head is
produced. After fertilization, each flower develops into a drupe, and as
the drupes expand, they become connate (merge) into a multiple fleshy fruit
called a syncarpet.


Main article: Berry

Berries are another type of fleshy fruit; they are simple fruit created
from a single ovary. The ovary may be compound, with several carpels. Type
include (examples follow in the table below):

- Pepo – Berries where the skin is hardened, cucurbits
- Hesperidium – Berries with a rind and a juicy interior, like most citrus

Accessory fruit

Main article: Accessory fruit

Some or all of the edible part of accessory fruit is not generated by the

Table of fruit examples

Seedless fruits

Seedlessness is an important feature of some fruits of commerce. Commercial
cultivars of bananas and pineapples are examples of seedless fruits. Some
cultivars of citrus fruits (especially navel oranges), satsumas, mandarin
oranges, table grapes, grapefruit, and watermelons are valued for their
seedlessness. In some species, seedlessness is the result of parthenocarpy,
where fruits set without fertilization. Parthenocarpic fruit set may or may
not require pollination but most seedless citrus fruits require stimulus
from pollination to produce fruit.

Seedless bananas and grapes are triploids, and seedlessness results from
the abortion of the embryonic plant that is produced by fertilization, a
phenomenon known as stenospermocarpy which requires normal pollination and

Seed dissemination

Variations in fruit structures largely depend on the mode of dispersal of
the seeds they contain. This dispersal can be achieved by animals, wind,
water, or explosive dehiscence.²⁵

Some fruits have coats covered with spikes or hooked burrs, either to
prevent themselves from being eaten by animals or to stick to the hairs,
feathers or legs of animals, using them as dispersal agents. Examples
include cocklebur and unicorn plant.²⁶ ²⁷

The sweet flesh of many fruits is "deliberately" appealing to animals, so
that the seeds held within are eaten and "unwittingly" carried away and
deposited at a distance from the parent. Likewise, the nutritious, oily
kernels of nuts are appealing to rodents (such as squirrels) who hoard them
in the soil in order to avoid starving during the winter, thus giving those
seeds that remain uneaten the chance to germinate and grow into a new plant
away from their parent.⁶

Other fruits are elongated and flattened out naturally and so become thin,
like wings or helicopter blades, e.g. maple, tuliptree and elm. This is an
evolutionary mechanism to increase dispersal distance away from the parent
via wind. Other wind-dispersed fruit have tiny parachutes, e.g. dandelion
and salsify.²⁵

Coconut fruits can float thousands of miles in the ocean to spread seeds.
Some other fruits that can disperse via water are nipa palm and screw

Some fruits fling seeds substantial distances (up to 100 m in sandbox tree)
via explosive dehiscence or other mechanisms, e.g. impatiens and squirting


Many hundreds of fruits, including fleshy fruits like apple, peach, pear,
kiwifruit, watermelon and mango are commercially valuable as human food,
eaten both fresh and as jams, marmalade and other preserves. Fruits are
also used in manufactured foods like cookies, muffins, yogurt, ice cream,
cakes, and many more. Many fruits are used to make beverages, such as fruit
juices (orange juice, apple juice, grape juice, etc.) or alcoholic
beverages, such as wine or brandy.²⁹ Apples are often used to make vinegar.
Fruits are also used for gift giving, Fruit Basket and Fruit Bouquet are
some common forms of fruit gifts.

Many vegetables are botanical fruits, including tomato, bell pepper,
eggplant, okra, squash, pumpkin, green bean, cucumber and zucchini.³⁰ Olive
fruit is pressed for olive oil. Spices like vanilla, paprika, allspice and
black pepper are derived from berries.³¹

Nutritional value

Fruits are generally high in fiber, water, vitamin C and sugars, although
this latter varies widely from traces as in lime, to 61% of the fresh
weight of the date.³² Fruits also contain various phytochemicals that do
not yet have an RDA/RDI listing under most nutritional factsheets, and
which research indicates are required for proper long-term cellular health
and disease prevention. Regular consumption of fruit is associated with
reduced risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease (especially coronary heart
disease), stroke, Alzheimer disease, cataracts, and some of the functional
declines associated with aging.³³

Diets that include a sufficient amount of potassium from fruits and
vegetables also help reduce the chance of developing kidney stones and may
help reduce the effects of bone-loss. Fruits are also low in calories which
would help lower one's calorie intake as part of a weight-loss diet.³⁴

Nonfood uses

Because fruits have been such a major part of the human diet, different
cultures have developed many different uses for various fruits that they do
not depend on as being edible. Many dry fruits are used as decorations or
in dried flower arrangements, such as unicorn plant, lotus, wheat, annual
honesty and milkweed. Ornamental trees and shrubs are often cultivated for
their colorful fruits, including holly, pyracantha, viburnum, skimmia,
beautyberry and cotoneaster.³⁵

Fruits of opium poppy are the source of opium which contains the drugs
morphine and codeine, as well as the biologically inactive chemical
theabaine from which the drug oxycodone is synthesized.³⁶ Osage orange
fruits are used to repel cockroaches.³⁷ Bayberry fruits provide a wax often
used to make candles.³⁸ Many fruits provide natural dyes, e.g. walnut,
sumac, cherry and mulberry.³⁹ Dried gourds are used as decorations, water
jugs, bird houses, musical instruments, cups and dishes. Pumpkins are
carved into Jack-o'-lanterns for Halloween. The spiny fruit of burdock or
cocklebur were the inspiration for the invention of Velcro.⁴⁰

Coir is a fiber from the fruit of coconut that is used for doormats,
brushes, mattresses, floortiles, sacking, insulation and as a growing
medium for container plants. The shell of the coconut fruit is used to make
souvenir heads, cups, bowls, musical instruments and bird houses.⁴¹

Fruit is often used as a subject of still life paintings.


For food safety, the CDC recommends proper fruit handling and preparation
to reduce the risk of food contamination and foodborne illness. Fresh
fruits and vegetables should be carefully selected. At the store, they
should not be damaged or bruised and pre-cut pieces should be refrigerated
or surrounded by ice. All fruits and vegetables should be rinsed before
eating. This recommendation also applies to produce with rinds or skins
that are not eaten. It should be done just before preparing or eating to
avoid premature spoilage. Fruits and vegetables should be kept separate
from raw foods like meat, poultry, and seafood, as well as utensils that
have come in contact with raw foods. Fruits and vegetables, if they are not
going to be cooked, should be thrown away if they have touched raw meat,
poultry, seafood or eggs. All cut, peeled, or cooked fruits and vegetables
should be refrigerated within two hours. After a certain time, harmful
bacteria may grow on them and increase the risk of foodborne illness.⁴²


Fruit allergies make up about ten percent of all food related allergies⁴³
⁴⁴ Essential oils similar to those in citrus fruit peels are part of Balsam
of Peru's composition.⁴⁵


Most fruit is produced using traditional farming practices. However, the
yield of fruit from organic farming is growing.


The plant hormone ethylene causes ripening of many types of fruit.
Maintaining most fruits in an efficient cold chain is optimal for post
harvest storage, with the aim of extending and ensuring shelf life. All
fruits benefit from proper post harvest care.⁴⁶

See also

- Fruit tree
- Fruitarianism
- List of culinary fruits
- List of foods


[1] Lewis, Robert A. (January 1, 2002). CRC Dictionary of Agricultural
  Sciences. CRC Press. ISBN 0-8493-2327-4.
[2] Schlegel, Rolf H J (January 1, 2003). Encyclopedic Dictionary of Plant
  Breeding and Related Subjects. Haworth Press. p. 177. ISBN 1-56022-950-0.
[3] Mauseth, James D. (April 1, 2003). Botany: An Introduction to Plant
  Biology. Jones and Bartlett. pp. 271–272. ISBN 0-7637-2134-4.
[4] "Sporophore from Encyclopædia Britannica".
[5] For a Supreme Court of the United States ruling on the matter, see Nix
  v. Hedden.
[6] McGee, Harold (November 16, 2004). On Food and Cooking: The Science and
  Lore of the Kitchen. Simon and Schuster. pp. 247–248. ISBN 0-684-80001-2.
[7] McGee (2004-11-16). On Food and Cooking. p. 367. ISBN
[8] Lewis (2002). CRC Dictionary of Agricultural Sciences. p. 238. ISBN
[9] "Glossary of Botanical Terms". FloraBase. Western Australian Herbarium.
  Retrieved 23 July 2014.
[10] Esau, K. 1977. Anatomy of seed plants. John Wiley and Sons, New York.
[12] Mauseth, James D. (2003). Botany: an introduction to plant biology.
  Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. p. 258. ISBN 978-0-7637-2134-3.
[13] Rost, Thomas L.; Weier, T. Elliot; Weier, Thomas Elliot (1979).
  Botany: a brief introduction to plant biology. New York: Wiley. pp.
  135–37. ISBN 0-471-02114-8.
[14] Mauseth (2003-04-25). Botany. Chapter 9: Flowers and Reproduction.
  ISBN 978-0-7637-2134-3.
[15] Singh, Gurcharan (2004). Plants Systematics: An Integrated Approach.
  Science Publishers. p. 83. ISBN 1-57808-351-6.
[16] Schlegel (2003-05-13). Encyclopedic Dictionary. p. 123. ISBN
[17] Schlegel (2003-05-13). Encyclopedic Dictionary. p. 16. ISBN
[18] Evolutionary trends in flowering plants. New York: Columbia University
  Press. 1991. p. 209. ISBN 0-231-07328-3.
[19] Gupta, Prof. P.K. Genetics Classical To Modern. Rastogi Publication.
  p. 2-134. ISBN 978-81-7133-896-2.
[21] McGee (2004-11-16). On Food and Cooking. pp. 361–362. ISBN
[22] McGee (2004-11-16). On Food and Cooking. pp. 364–365. ISBN
[23] Schlegel (2003-05-13). Encyclopedic Dictionary. p. 282. ISBN
[24] Spiegel-Roy, P.; E. E. Goldschmidt (August 28, 1996). The Biology of
  Citrus. Cambridge University Press. pp. 87–88. ISBN 0-521-33321-0.
[25] Capon, Brian (February 25, 2005). Botany for Gardeners. Timber Press.
  pp. 198–199. ISBN 0-88192-655-8.
[26] Heiser, Charles B. (April 1, 2003). Weeds in My Garden: Observations
  on Some Misunderstood Plants. Timber Press. pp. 93–95. ISBN
[27] Heiser (2003-04-01). Weeds in My Garden. pp. 162–164. ISBN
[28] Feldkamp, Susan (2002). Modern Biology. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
  p. 634. ISBN 0-88192-562-4.
[29] McGee (2004-11-16). On Food and Cooking. Chapter 7: A Survey of Common
  Fruits. ISBN 978-0-684-80001-1.
[30] McGee (2004-11-16). On Food and Cooking. Chapter 6: A Survey of Common
  Vegetables. ISBN 978-0-684-80001-1.
[31] Farrell, Kenneth T. (November 1, 1999). Spices, Condiments and
  Seasonings. Springer. pp. 17–19. ISBN 0-8342-1337-0.
[32] Hulme, A.C (editor) (1970). "The Biochemistry of Fruits and their
  Products" 1. London & New York: Academic Press.
[33] Rui Hai Liu (2003-09-01). "Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are
  from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals – Liu 78
  (3): 517S – American Journal of Clinical Nutrition". Retrieved
[34] "Why is it Important to eat Fruit?".
[35] Adams, Denise Wiles (February 1, 2004). Restoring American Gardens: An
  Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640–1940. Timber Press. ISBN
[36] Booth, Martin (June 12, 1999). Opium: A History. St. Martin's Press.
  ISBN 0-312-20667-4.
[37] Cothran, James R. (November 1, 2003). Gardens and Historic Plants of
  the Antebellum South. University of South Carolina Press. p. 221. ISBN
[38] K, Amber (December 1, 2001). Candlemas: Feast of Flames. Llewellyn
  Worldwide. p. 155. ISBN 0-7387-0079-7.
[39] Adrosko, Rita J. (June 1, 1971). Natural Dyes and Home Dyeing: A
  Practical Guide with over 150 Recipes. Courier Dover Publications. ISBN
[40] Wake, Warren (March 13, 2000). Design Paradigms: A Sourcebook for
  Creative Visualization. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 162–163. ISBN
[41] "The Many Uses of the Coconut". The Coconut Museum. Retrieved
[42] Food Safety Basics for Fruits and Vegetables at the Centers for
  Disease Control and Prevention
[43] "Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America". Retrieved
[44] Roy Mankovitz (2010). The Wellness Project. Retrieved 2014-04-25.
[45] Marlene Jones (2010-10-30). The Complete Guide to Creating Oils,
  Soaps, Creams, and Herbal Gels for Your .... Retrieved 2014-04-25.
[46] Why Cold Chain for Fruits: Kohli, Pawanexh (2008). "Fruits and
  Vegetables Post-Harvest Care: The Basics". Crosstree Techno-visors.

Further reading

- Gollner, Adam J. (2010). The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure,
  Commerce, and Obsession. Scribner. ISBN 978-0-7432-9695-3
- Watson, R.R. / Preedy, V.R. (2010, eds.). Bioactive Foods in Promoting
  Health: Fruits and Vegetables. Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-374628-3

External links

- Media related to Fruit at Wikimedia Commons
- Images of fruit development from flowers at
- Fruit and seed dispersal images at
- Fruit Facts from California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc.
- Photo ID of Fruits by Capt. Pawanexh Kohli

Guajillo chili

This article is about the chile pepper. For the shrub that is also called
guajillo, see Acacia berlandieri.

A guajillo chili or guajillo chilli (chile guajillo in Spanish) is a
variety of chili pepper of the species Capsicum annuum, produced by drying
the mirasol chili,¹ and which is widely used in the cuisine of Mexico.

The guajillo chili's thin, deep-red flesh has a green tea flavor with berry
overtones. Its fruits are large and mild in flavor, with only a small
amount of heat (rating 2,500 to 5,000 on the Scoville scale). They are
sometimes used to make the salsa for tamales; the dried fruits are seeded,
soaked, pulverized to a thin paste, then cooked with salt and several other
ingredients to produce a thick, red, flavorful sauce.

Guajillo chilies may be used in pastes, butters, or rubs to flavor all
kinds of meats, especially chicken. Alternatively, they can be added to
salsas to create a sweet side dish with a surprisingly hot finish.


[1] Meyer, A. L. and Vann, J. M. 2003. The appetizer atlas: a world of
  small bites. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. Page 578.

External links

- Chili pepper page

Guinness World Records

For other uses, see Guinness World Records (disambiguation).

Guinness World Records, known from its inception in 1955 through 2000 as
The Guinness Book of Records and in previous U.S. editions as The Guinness
Book of World Records, is a reference book published annually, listing
world records, both human achievements and the extremes of the natural
world. The book itself holds a world record, as the best-selling
copyrighted book of all time.² It is one of the most frequently stolen
books from public libraries in the United States.³

The international franchise has extended beyond print to include television
series and museums. The popularity of the franchise has resulted in
Guinness World Records becoming the primary international authority on the
cataloguing and verification of a huge number of world records – the
organization employs official record adjudicators authorised to verify the
authenticity of the setting and breaking of records.⁴


On 10 November 1951, Sir Hugh Beaver, then the managing director of the
Guinness Breweries,⁵ went on a shooting party in the North Slob, by the
River Slaney in County Wexford, Ireland. After missing a shot at a golden
plover, he became involved in an argument over which was the fastest game
bird in Europe, the golden plover or the red grouse (it is the plover).⁶
That evening at Castlebridge House, he realised that it was impossible to
confirm in reference books whether or not the golden plover was Europe's
fastest game bird.⁷ ⁸ Beaver knew that there must be numerous other
questions debated nightly in pubs throughout Ireland and abroad, but there
was no book in the world with which to settle arguments about records. He
realised then that a book supplying the answers to this sort of question
might prove successful.⁹

Christopher Chataway recommended twins Norris and Ross McWhirter, who had
been running a facts and figures agency in London. The brothers were
commissioned to compile what became The Guinness Book of Records in August
1954. One thousand copies were printed and given away.¹⁰ After founding The
Guinness Book of Records at 107 Fleet Street, London, the first 197-page
edition was bound on 27 August 1955 and went to the top of the British
bestseller lists by Christmas. "It was a marketing giveaway—it wasn't
supposed to be a money maker," said Beaver. The following year it was
launched in the U.S.; 70,000 copies were sold.

Because the book became a surprise hit, many further editions were printed,
eventually settling into a pattern of one revision a year, published in
September/October, in time for Christmas. The McWhirters continued to
compile it for many years. Both brothers had an encyclopedic memory—on the
TV series Record Breakers, based upon the book, they would take questions
posed by children in the audience on various world records and were able to
give the correct answer. Ross McWhirter was assassinated by the Provisional
Irish Republican Army in 1975.¹¹ Following Ross' assassination, the feature
in the show where questions about records posed by children were answered
was called Norris on the Spot.

Guinness Superlatives (later Guinness World Records) Limited was formed in
1954 to publish the first book. Sterling Publishing owned the rights to the
Guinness book in the US for decades and, under their management, the book
became a household name. The group was owned by Guinness PLC and
subsequently Diageo until 2001, when it was purchased by Gullane
Entertainment. Gullane was itself purchased by HIT Entertainment in 2002.
In 2006, Apax Partners purchased HiT and subsequently sold Guinness World
Records in early 2008 to the Jim Pattison Group, the parent company of
Ripley Entertainment, which is licensed to operate Guinness World Records'
Attractions. With offices in New York City and Tokyo, Guinness World
Records' global headquarters remain in London, while its museum attractions
are based at Ripley headquarters in Orlando, Florida, US.


Recent editions have focused on record feats by human competitors.
Competitions range from obvious ones such as weightlifting to the longest
egg tossing distance, or for longest time spent playing Grand Theft Auto IV
or the number of hot dogs that can be consumed in ten minutes, although
eating and alcohol consumption entries are no longer accepted, possibly for
fear of litigation. Besides records about competitions, it contains such
facts as the heaviest tumour, the most poisonous plant, the shortest river
(Roe River), the two longest-running dramas (General Hospital and Guiding
Light) in the US, and the world's most successful salesman (Joe Girard),
among others. Many records also relate to the youngest person who achieved
something, such as the youngest person to visit all nations of the world,
being Maurizio Giuliano.¹²

Each edition contains a selection of the large set of records in the
Guinness database; the criteria for inclusion changed over the years. New
records are added.

The ousting of Norris McWhirter from his consulting role in 1995 and the
subsequent decision by Diageo Plc to sell the Guinness World Records brand
have shifted it from a text-oriented to an illustrated reference book. The
majority of world records are no longer listed in the book or on the
website, and can only be determined by a written application to Guinness to
'break' the record. For those unable to wait the 4–6 weeks for a reply,
Guinness will process a 'fast-track' application for £300 (US$450).

The Guinness Book of Records is the world's most sold copyrighted book,
earning it an entry within its own pages. A number of spin-off books and
television series have also been produced.

Guinness World Records bestowed the record of "Person with the most
records" on Ashrita Furman of Queens, NY in April 2009. At that time, he
held 100 records.¹³

In 2005 Guinness designated 9 November as International Guinness World
Records Day to encourage breaking of world records.¹⁴ In 2006 an estimated
100,000 people participated in over 10 countries. Guinness reported 2,244
new records in 12 months, which was a 173% increase over the previous
year.¹⁴ In February 2008, NBC aired The Top 100 Guinness World Records of
All Time and Guinness World Records made the complete list available on
their website.¹⁵

Defining records

For many records, Guinness World Records is the effective authority on the
exact requirements for them and with whom records reside, the company
providing adjudicators to events to determine the veracity of record
attempts. The list of records which the Guinness World Records covers is
not fixed, records may be added and also removed for various reasons. The
public are invited to submit applications for records, which can be either
the bettering of existing records or substantial achievements which could
constitute a new record.⁴ The company also provides corporate services for
companies to "harness the power of record-breaking to deliver tangible
success for their businesses."¹⁷

Ethical issues and safety concerns

Guinness World Records states several types of records it will not accept
for ethical reasons, such as those related to the killing or harming of

Several world records that were once included in the book have been removed
for ethical reasons, including concerns for the wellbeing of potential
record breakers. For example, following publication of a "heaviest fish"
record, many fish owners overfed their pets beyond the bounds of what was
healthy, therefore such entries were removed.²¹ The Guinness Book also
dropped records within their "eating and drinking records" section of Human
Achievements in 1991 over concerns that potential competitors could harm
themselves and expose the publisher to potential litigation.²² These
changes included the removal of all liquor, wine, and beer drinking
records, along with other unusual records for consuming such unlikely
things as bicycles and trees.²² Other records, such as sword swallowing and
rally driving (on public roads), were closed from further entry as the
current holders had performed beyond what are considered safe human
tolerance levels.

There have been instances of closed records being reopened. For example,
the sword swallowing record was listed as closed in 1990 Guinness Book of
World Records, but the Guinness World Records Primetime TV show, which
started in 1998, accepted three sword swallowing challenges (and so did the
2007 edition of the Guinness World Records onwards). Similarly, the speed
beer drinking records which were dropped from the book in 1991, reappeared
17 years later in the 2008 edition, but were moved from the "Human
Achievements" section of the older book²³ to the "Modern Society" section
of the newer edition.²⁴

As of 2011, it is required in the guidelines of all "large food" type
records that the item be fully edible, and distributed to the public for
consumption, to prevent food wastage.⁴

Chain letters are also not allowed: "Guinness World Records does not accept
any records relating to chain letters, sent by post or e-mail. If you
receive a letter or an e-mail, which may promise to publish the names of
all those who send it on, please destroy it, it is a hoax. No matter if it
says that Guinness World Records and the postal service are involved, they
are not."⁴

Difficulty in defining records

For some potential categories, Guinness World Records has declined to list
records due to the difficulty or impossibility of determining what
constitutes a record-breaking achievement. For example, its website states:
"We do not accept any claims for beauty as it is not objectively

On 10 December 2010, Guinness World Records rested its new "dreadlock"
category after investigation of its first and only female title holder,
Asha Mandela, determining it was impossible to judge this record


In 1976, a Guinness Book of World Records museum opened in the Empire State
Building. Speed shooter Bob Munden then went on tour promoting The Guinness
Book of World Records by performing his record fast draws with a standard
weight single-action revolver from a western movie type holster. His
fastest time for a draw was .02 seconds.²⁶ Among exhibits were life-size
statues of the world's tallest man (Robert Wadlow) and world's largest
earth worm, an X-ray photo of a sword swallower, repeated lightning strike
victim Roy Sullivan's hat complete with lightning holes and a pair of
gem-studded golf shoes on sale for $6500.²⁷ The museum closed in 1995.²⁸

In more recent years the Guinness company has permitted the franchising of
small museums with displays based on the book, all currently (as of 2010)
located in towns popular with tourists: Tokyo, Copenhagen, San Antonio.
There were once Guinness World Records museums and exhibitions at the
Trocadero in London, Bangalore, San Francisco, Myrtle Beach, Orlando,²⁹
Atlantic City, New Jersey,³⁰ and Las Vegas, Nevada.³¹ The Orlando museum,
which closed in 2002, was branded The Guinness Records Experience;²⁹ the
Hollywood, Niagara Falls, Copenhagen, and Gatlinburg, Tennessee museums
also previously featured this branding.³¹

Television series

Guinness World Records has commissioned various television series
documenting world record breaking attempts, including:

- Guinness World Records UK
- Guinness World Records Primetime
- The Guinness Game
- Australia's Guinness World Records
- Guinness World Records: 50 Years, 50 Records
- Ultimate Guinness World Records
- Lo show dei record (Italian version)
- Spain: El show de los récords (Antena 3) and Guinness World Records
- Guinness Book of World Records Philippine Edition (PH-ABC (now TV5))
- Record Breakers (BBC TV)
- Guinness World Records Smashed (UK—Sky1)
- Guinness World Records Portugal (PT—SIC)
- NZ Smashes Guinness World Records
- Światowe Rekordy Guinnessa (Guinness World Records) (Poland—Polsat)
- Australia Smashes Guinness World Records
- Guinness World Records Ab India Todega (Indian version)
- Guinness rekord-TV (Swedish version-TV3)
- Guinness World Records – Ab India Todega (2011)
- Officially Amazing – (UK-CBBC) 2013–Present
- Guinness World Records Unleashed (truTV) 2013–Present

With the popularity of reality television, Guinness World Records began to
market itself as the originator of the television genre, with slogans such
as we wrote the book on Reality TV. The McWhirters co-presented the BBC
television programme Record Breakers with Roy Castle from 1972 until Ross's
death in 1975; Norris continued appearing on the show until his retirement
in 1994.

Gamer's edition

Main article: Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition

In 2008, Guinness World Records released its gamer's edition in association
with Twin Galaxies. The Gamer's Edition contains 258 pages, over 1236 video
game related world records and four interviews including one with Twin
Galaxies founder Walter Day. The most recent edition the Guinness World
Records Gamer's Edition, 2014 was released December 2013.

British pop music volume

Main article: British Hit Singles & Albums

The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums was published from 2004
to 2008, based on two earlier, separate HiT publications, British Hit
Singles and British Hit Albums, which began in 1977. It was effectively
replaced (in singles part) by the Virgin Book of British Hit Singles from
2008 onward.

Other media

Video games

A video game, Guinness World Records: The Video Game, was developed by TT
Fusion and released for Nintendo DS, Wii and iOS in November 2008.


In 2012, Warner Bros. announced the development of a live-action film
version of Guinness World Records with Daniel Chun as scriptwriter. The
film version will apparently use the heroic achievements of record holders
as the basis for a narrative that should have global appeal.³²


[1] "Corporate". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
[2] Watson, Bruce (August 2005). "World's Unlikeliest Bestseller".
  Smithsonian: 76–81.
[3] "Book deals for a steal". The Times (South Africa). 4 May 2008.
  Retrieved 29 October 2009.
[4] "Frequently Asked Questions". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 10
  February 2012.
[5] "The History of the Book". Guinness Record Book Collecting. Retrieved
  10 February 2012.
[6] Fionn Davenport (2010). Ireland. Lonely Planet. p. 193. ISBN
[7] "Early history of Guinness World Records". 2005. p. 2.
[8] Cavendish, Richard (August 2005). "Publication of the Guinness Book of
  Records: 27 August 1955". History Today 55.
[9] Guinness World Records 2005. Guinness; 50th Anniversary edition. 2004.
  p. 6. ISBN 1892051222.
[10] "Guinness Book History 1950 – Present". Retrieved 10 February 2012.
[11] "Record Breakers' McWhirter dies". BBC News. 20 April 2004. Retrieved
  9 June 2014.
[12] Guinness Book of World Records (UK ed.). 2006. p. 126.
[13] "Guinness World Records honors one man's historic milestone – 100
  Records Broken! – Guinness World Records Blog post". Retrieved 29 December 2009.
[14] "Records Shatter Across the Globe in Honor of Guinness World Records
  Day 2006". Retrieved 29 April 2007.
[15] Guinness World Records Live: Top 100. Guinness World Records.
  Retrieved on 6 November 2008.
[16] "Whey to go: Whole Foods Market® cracks Parmigiano Reggiano Guinness
  World Records® Title". Yahoo Finance. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 15 June
[17] "Guinness World Records Corportate". Guinness World Records. Retrieved
  10 May 2012.
[18] "Guinness World Beer Record". 11 June 2004. Retrieved 10 February
[19] "Video clip". Retrieved 29 April 2007.
  "Guinness World Records". Retrieved 10 May 2012.
[21] Fish World Records. Fish-World. Retrieved on 19 October 2010.
[22] Guinness Book of World Records. 1990. p. 464.
[23] "Guinness World Record Book Entry". Guinness World Beer Record. 11
  June 2004. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
[24] "Guinness World Record Book Entry 2008". Guinness World Beer Record.
  11 June 2004. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
[25] "Longest Dreadlock Recor – Rested – Guinness World Records Blog post –
  Home of the Longest, Shortest, Fastest, Tallest facts and feats". Retrieved 4 November 2011.
[26] Bob Munden – Munden Enterprises, Fast Draw, Six-Gun Magic, Custom Gun
  Work, shooting videos, dvds, Bob Munden's School of the Fast Gun, history
  of fast draw, appearances
[27] In Praise of Facts, by John Leonard, the introduction to the New York
  Times Desk Reference
[28] A 1995 Travel Retrospective
[29] Brown, Robert H. "The Guinness World Records Experience: one of
  Florida's Lost Tourist Attractions". Retrieved 1 February 2009.
[30] Ripley Entertainment, Inc. "Guinness World Records Experience
  locations". Retrieved 1 February 2009.
[31] Ripley Entertainment, Inc. (20 November 2002). "Guinness World Records
  Experience locations". Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Archived from
  the original on 20 November 2002. Retrieved 1 February 2009.
[32] "Guinness Book of World Records could be next big brand name to hit
  cinemas". Guardian. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2012.

External links

- Guinness World Records (the official website)
- Guinness World Records Corporate (corporate website)
- Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition (the official Gamer's Edition
- Guinness World Records Business Solutions Page
- Guinness World Records Facebook page
- Guinness World Records on Twitter
- The Jim Pattison Group (parent company)
- Guinness World Attractions (the official Museums website)

Guntur Sannam

Guntur Sannam or Capsicum Annuum var. Longhum, is one of the most famous
types of chillies and has a huge demand throughout the world.¹ ² It widely
grows in Guntur, Warangal, and Khammam districts of Andhra Pradesh in


Guntur Sannam chilli belongs to the variety Capsicum annum. It is well
known as a commercial crop used as a condiment, culinary supplement or as a
vegetable. Among the spices consumed per head in India, dried chillies
contribute a major share.

Chilli was known to Indians about 400 years ago. Globally, India stands
first in the production of chilli. The province of Andhra Pradesh leads in
its production, providing 46% of all chilli produced in India. The very
fact that etymologically, the word Guntur Sannam chilli has its origin in
Telugu confirms its Andhra Pradesh origin. The word Sannam stands for thin
in Telugu.

Foreseeing the potential for chilli production in this region, the
government of Andhra Pradesh started a regional research station at LAM
near Guntur, India, three decades ago, which works on research aspects of
chilli as well.³ Guntur has been associated with chillies for decades, and
hence the prefix Guntur for the name of this chilli.

At present, chilli has become one of the most important cash crops and
thousands of people directly depend on the cultivation of this spice for
their livelihood.


The word Sannam in Telugu means 'thin'. The very name of the Guntur Sannam
Chilli indicates two facts: the description of the fruit, and more
importantly, the strong antecedents arising from Andhra Pradesh.


Guntur Sannam chilli has specific characteristics that have enabled it to
earn international and national acclaim. Sannam chilli is generally known
to trade as a S4 type chilli and is mainly used for its pungency and for
the extraction and derivation of capsaicin. The following are the chief
attributes/characteristics of Guntur Sannam chilli:

- The Guntur Sannam chilli belongs to Capsicum Annuum var longhum variety
  with long fruits (5 to 15 cm. In length) and diameter range from 0.5 to
  1.5 cm.
- The chilli has thick skin.
- The skin of crushed chili is thick, red and hot.
- The chilli is hot and pungent with average pungency of 35,000 to 40,000
- The chilli is red with ASTA colour value of about 32.11.
- The content of Capsaicin is about 0.226%.
- This chilli is rich in vitamin C (185 mg/100 g) and protein (11.98 g/100


Guntur Sannam has its peak harvesting season from December to May. The
annual production of this type is approximately 280,000 tonnes. Guntur
Sannam chilli has specific requirements in its means of production for
attaining an ideal/optimum level of production. The crops are highly
disease prone and need special care and attention to ensure a healthy pest
free yield.

Geographical area of production

In the geographical area of Guntur Sannam, chilli is cultivated, processed
and made available mainly from Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. It is
also grown in neighbouring regions, namely in the districts of Prakasam,
Warangal and Khammam.

Guntur Sannam chilli requires a warm and humid climate for its growth and
dry weather during its period of maturation. The crop can be grown at
altitudes up to 2,100 metres. Black soils with pH 6 to 7 and retain
moisture for longer periods are suitable for a rainfed crop, whereas
well-drained chalky, deltaic, and sandy loamy soils are good under
irrigated conditions.

Grades of Guntur Sannam

At least 4 grades of Guntur Sannam chillies are known to exist. They are:

- Sannam Special (S.S.): light red in colour, shining, with a length of 5
  cm and more.
- Sannam General (S.G.): light red in colour, shining skin, with a length
  of 3 to 5 cm.
- Sannam Fair (S.F.): which is blackish a dull red in colour with a length
  of 3 to 5 cm.
- Non Specified (N.S.): This is not a regular grade and is meant to meet
  specific requirements of the buyers which are not covered under regular

Comparison with other chillis

Capsaicin values of some of the well-known and accepted varieties of Indian
chillis are:⁴

See also

- Guntur Chilli
- Guntur
- List of Capsicum cultivars


[1] Guntur Sannam gets GI tag
[3] Geographical Indications Journal, p. 20
[4] Comparison with other chillis


For the feminine form of the Spanish word Habanero, see Habanera

The habanero (/ˌhɑːbəˈnɛroʊ/; Spanish pronunciation: [aβaˈneɾo] ( )) is a
variety of chili pepper. When used in English, it is sometimes spelled (and
pronounced) habañero,¹ the tilde being added as a hyperforeignism. Unripe
habaneros are green, and they color as they mature. Common colors are
orange and red, but white, brown, and pink are also seen. Typically, a ripe
habanero chili is 2–6 cm (0.8–2.4 in) long. Habanero chilis are very hot,
rated 100,000–350,000 on the Scoville scale.²

Origin and current use

The habanero chili comes from the Amazonas region, and from there it was
spread through Mexico.³ One domesticated habanero, which was dated at 8,500
years old, was found at an archaeological dig in Peru.⁴ An intact fruit of
a small domesticated habanero, found in pre-ceramic levels in Guitarrero
Cave in the Peruvian highlands, was dated to 6500 BC.

The habanero was carried north to the Caribbean via Colombia. Upon its
discovery by Spaniards, the habanero chili was rapidly disseminated to
other adequate climate areas of the world, to the point that 18th-century
taxonomists mistook China for its place of origin and called it "Capsicum
chinense" ("the Chinese pepper").⁵ ⁶ ⁷

Today, the largest producer is Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.⁸ Habaneros are
an integral part of Yucatecan food. Habanero chilies accompany most dishes
in Yucatan, either in solid or purée/salsa form. Other modern producers
include Belize, Panama (locally named ají chombo), Costa Rica, Colombia,
Ecuador, and parts of the United States, including Texas, Idaho, and
California. While Mexico is the largest consumer of this spicy ingredient,
its flavor and aroma have become increasingly popular all over the world.

The Scotch bonnet is often compared to the habanero, since they are two
varieties of the same species, but have different pod types. Both the
Scotch bonnet and the habanero have thin, waxy flesh. They have a similar
heat level and flavor. Although both varieties average around the same
level of "heat", the actual degree of piquancy varies greatly from one
fruit to another with genetics, growing methods, climate, and plant stress.

The habanero's heat, its fruity, citrus-like flavor, and its floral aroma
have made it a popular ingredient in hot sauces and spicy foods.

In 1999, the habanero was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as
the world's hottest chili, but it has since been displaced by a number of
other peppers, the record tending to change every few years.


Habaneros thrive in hot weather. As with all peppers, the habanero does
well in an area with good morning sun and in soil with a pH level around 5
to 6 (slightly acidic). The habanero should be watered only when dry.
Overly moist soil and roots will produce bitter-tasting peppers.

The habanero is a perennial flowering plant, meaning that with proper care
and growing conditions, it can produce flowers (and thus fruit) for many
years. Habanero bushes are good candidates for a container garden. In
temperate climates, though, it is treated as an annual, dying each winter
and being replaced the next spring. In tropical and subtropical regions,
the habanero, like other chiles, will produce year round. As long as
conditions are favorable, the plant will set fruit continuously.


Several growers have attempted to selectively breed habanero plants to
produce hotter, heavier, and larger peppers. Most habaneros rate between
200,000 and 300,000 on the Scoville scale. In 2004, researchers in Texas
created a mild version of the habanero, but retained the traditional aroma
and flavor. The milder version was obtained by crossing the Yucatán
habanero pepper with a heatless habanero from Bolivia over several
generations. These mild habaneros were expected to be widely available in
the future as of 2004.⁹

Black habanero is an alternative name often used to describe the dark brown
variety of habanero chilis (although they are slightly different, being
slightly smaller and slightly more sphere-shaped). Some seeds have been
found which are thought to be over 7,000 years old. The black habanero has
an exotic and unusual taste, and is hotter than a regular habanero with a
Scoville rating between 400,000 and 450,000 Scoville units. Small slivers
used in cooking can have a dramatic effect on the overall dish. Black
habaneros take considerably longer to grow than other habanero chili
varieties. In a dried form, they can be preserved for long periods of time,
and can be reconstituted in water then added to sauce mixes. Previously
known as habanero negro, or by their Nahuatl name, their name was
translated into English by spice traders in the 19th century as "black
habanero". The word "chocolate" was derived from the Nahuatl word, xocolātl
/ʃoˈkolaːt͡ɬ/, and was used in the description, as well (as "chocolate
habanero"), but it proved to be unpronounceable to the British traders, so
it was simply named "black habanero".¹⁰

A 'Caribbean Red', a cultivar within the habanero family, has a Scoville
rating of 500,000.



Habanero seedling


Habanero plant with fruit


Habanero plant with fruit and flower


Orange habanero


Orange habaneros


Red habaneros

See also

- Capsicum (Pepper family)
- Jalapeño


[1] "Habanero". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
[2] "Chile Pepper Heat Scoville Scale". Retrieved
[4] "Habanero Chili Peppers". Hot Sauce Planet. Archived from the original
  on 2013-09-20. Retrieved 2014-03-04.
[5] Bosland, P.W. (1996). J. Janick, ed. "Capsicums: Innovative Uses of an
  Ancient Crop". Progress in New Crops (Arlington, VA: ASHS Press):
  479–487. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
[6] "Bosland, "The History of the Chile Pepper"". Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
  Retrieved 2013-04-14.
[7] Eshbaugh, W.H. 1993. History and exploitation of a serendipitous new
  crop discovery. pp. 132–139. In: J. Janick and J.E. Simon (eds.), New
  crops. Wiley, New York as reproduced at "Uncle Steve's Hot Stuff"
[8] "Profile of the Habanero Pepper". Whole Chile Pepper Magazine. July
  1989. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
[9] Santa Ana III, Rod. "Texas Plant Breeder Develops Mild Habanero
  Pepper." AgNews, 12 August 2004.
[10] "Black Habanero".

External links

- Aji Chombo peppers – photographic account of chilies grown in Fairfax,
  Virginia from seeds imported from Panama. Dale C. Clarke, 2003–04.

Hainan yellow lantern chili

The Hainan yellow lantern chili (Chinese: 海南黄灯笼椒 Pinyin: hǎi nán huáng dēng
lóng jiāo), also known as the yellow emperor chili (Chinese: 黄帝椒 Pinyin:
huáng dì jiāo) is a member of the Capsicum chinense species of chili
peppers that grows mainly in the southwest and southeast of Hainan Island
off the coast of Southern China.¹

Description and use

This hot chili matures to a bright yellow colour and is about 5 cm (2.0 in)
long and 3.12 cm (1.23 in) wide.² Most Hainan yellow lantern chili is
processed into hot sauce.


In 2009, the Tropical Vegetable Research Centre of the Chinese Tropical
Agriculture Institute announced the breeding of a new cultivar which
produces 10 times more fruit than the original variety.³ This has increased
output from 500 kg (1,100 lb) to 5,000 kg (11,000 lb) per Chinese acre


[1] "Hainan's King of Chilis - The Yellow Lantern Chilli (海南辣王:黄灯笼椒)" (in
  Chinese). Xinhua. September 3, 2007. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
[2] "Yankee Bell to Yuquitania - List of Chili varieties". Retrieved
  February 20, 2011.
[3] "Tropical Agriculture Research Institute breeds new variety of Yellow
  Lantern Chilli (热科院培育出黄灯笼椒新品种)" (in Chinese). Hainan Provincial
  Government. Jun 22, 2009. Retrieved February 20, 2011. (in Chinese)

External links

- Media related to Hainan Yellow Lantern Chili at Wikimedia Commons

Hatch chile

Hatch chile refers to varieties of species of the genus Capsicum which are
grown in the Hatch Valley, an area stretching north and south along the Rio
Grande from Arrey, New Mexico, in the north to Tonuco Mountain to the south
of Hatch, New Mexico. The soil and growing conditions in the Hatch Valley
create a unique terroir¹ which contributes to the flavor of chile grown
there. Most of the varieties of chile cultivated in the Hatch Valley have
been developed at New Mexico State University over the last 130 years.

Though only chile grown in this Valley is considered "Hatch", the chile
growing industry is extremely important to the economy of New Mexico as a
whole.² Not only is the industry important economically, it is also a
prominent part of New Mexican culture. It is the official state vegetable
(though it is actually a fruit till harvest) and the official state
question is "Red or Green?".³

When ripe, pods are typically harvested either in the mature green stage or
mature red stage, although some varieties may turn yellow, orange, or
brown.⁴ New Mexican cultivars range in heat from very mild varieties such
as NM 6-4 to varieties which are much spicier than jalapeños, such as Big
Jim, NuMex Barker, or Lumbre.

Hatch chile can be purchased locally in many parts of the Southwest, and is
distributed throughout the United States by companies such as, World
Variety Produce. If you are unable to find them in a local grocery store,
you could also source them direct from farms online such as the Hatch Chile
Express⁵ or the Hatch Chile Store.⁶ Other distributors sometimes use the
"Hatch" name, but do not actually grow and process their chile in the Hatch
Valley.⁷ In an effort to protect Hatch growers and other New Mexican
growers, a law passed in New Mexico in 2012 makes it illegal for chile to
be labeled as "New Mexican" if it was not grown in New Mexico.⁸

See also

- Anaheim pepper


[3] "State Symbols". New Mexico Office of the Secretary of State. Retrieved
[6] "The Hatch Chile Store". Retrieved 2014-07-29.
[7] "U.S.: the Hatch green chile identity crisis".
  2013-08-08. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
[8] "New law requires full chile disclosure in New Mexico". KOAT.
  2013-04-07. Retrieved 2014-07-29.

Hungarian wax pepper

The Hungarian wax pepper is a medium variety of Capsicum annuum with a wide
Scoville Scale range of 1,000 to 15,000 Scoville units.¹ ² ³ ⁴


This pepper is usually harvested before maturity when still yellow. It
measures between 4"-6" inches in length (102mm-152mm) which tapers to a
rounded point. Upon maturity, the pepper becomes orange then red in color.
Although similar in appearance to banana peppers when immature, it is a
different cultivar.⁵

Due to the ease of cultivation and the productivity of the plant, many home
gardeners pickle these whole or sliced in rings.⁶ ⁷ ⁸


See also

- Paprika


[1] "" (PDF). Retrieved
[2] "Peppers" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-09.
[3] "Classifying Chile Peppers". Retrieved
[4] "The Master Gardener Journal". 2004-11-21. Retrieved
[5] Lori Alden. "Cook's Thesaurus: Fresh Chiles". Retrieved
[7] "Growing Peppers (University of Illinois Extension)". Retrieved 2012-08-11.
[8] "NMSU: Growing Peppers in New Mexico Gardens". Retrieved

Italian sweet pepper

The Italian sweet pepper is a variety of the species Capsicum annuum, like
bell peppers and chilli peppers.

It has the appearance of a large chilli pepper but the mild taste of sweet
peppers such as the bell pepper.

See also

- Pepperoncini
- List of Capsicum cultivars

Notes and references

External links


The jalapeño (/ˌhæləˈpiːnoʊ/ or /ˌhæləˈpeɪnjoʊ/, Spanish pronunciation:
[xalaˈpeɲo] ( )) is a medium-sized chili pepper. A mature jalapeño fruit is
5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) long, and is commonly picked and consumed while still
green, but occasionally it is allowed to fully ripen and turn crimson red.
It is a cultivar of the species Capsicum annuum originating in Mexico,
which is a bush that grows 60–120 cm (24–47 in) long tall. It is named
after Xalapa, Veracruz, where it was traditionally cultivated. About 160
km² (40,000 acres) are dedicated for the cultivation in Mexico, primarily
in the Papaloapan River basin in the center of the state of Veracruz and in
the Delicias, Chihuahua, area. Jalapeños are cultivated on smaller scales
in Jalisco, Nayarit, Sonora, Sinaloa, and Chiapas. Jalapeño juice is often
used as a remedy for seasonal allergies and cardiovascular problems.


The jalapeño is variously named in Mexico as huachinango and chile gordo.
The cuaresmeño closely resembles the jalapeño. The seeds of a cuaresmeño
have the heat of a jalapeño, but the flesh has a mild flavor close to a
green bell pepper.

The name Jalapeño is of Spanish origin. The Spanish suffix -eño signifies
that the noun originates in the place modified by the suffix, similar to
the English -(i)an. The jalapeño is named after the Mexican town of Xalapa
(also spelled Jalapa). Xalapa is itself of Nahuatl derivation, formed from
roots xālli /ˈʃaːlːi/ "sand" and āpan /ˈaːpan/ "water place."

As of 1999, 5,500 acres (22 km²) in the United States were dedicated to the
cultivation of jalapeños. Most jalapeños are produced in southern New
Mexico and West Texas.

Jalapeños are a pod type of Capsicum. The growing period is 70–80 days.
When mature, the plant stands 70–90 cm (28–35 in) long tall. Typically, a
plant produces 25 to 35 pods. During a growing period, a plant will be
picked multiple times. As the growing season ends, jalapeños start to turn
red, which may make them less desirable. Jalapeños thrive in a number of
soil types and temperatures, provided they have adequate water. Once
picked, individual peppers may turn to red of their own accord. The peppers
can be eaten green or red.

Jalapeños have 2,500–10,000 Scoville units. Compared to other chilis, the
jalapeño heat level varies from mild to hot depending on cultivation and
preparation. The heat, caused by capsaicin and related compounds, is
concentrated in the membrane (placenta) surrounding the seeds. Handling
fresh jalapeños will cause skin irritation. Some handlers wear latex or
vinyl gloves while cutting, skinning, or seeding jalapeños. When preparing
jalapeños, hands should not come in contact with the eyes, as this leads to
painful burning and redness.


Halfway ripe jalapeño in a planter box in New Jersey in September


A jalapeño plant with pods, the purple strips on the stem are anthocyanin,
  due to the growth under blue-green spectrum fluorescent lighting


Ripened jalapeños, red in color


Fresh sliced jalapeño

Serving styles

- Stuffed jalapeños are hollowed out fresh jalapeños (served cooked or raw)
  that are stuffed, often with a mix containing seafood, meat, poultry,
  and/or cheese
- Pickled jalapeños, sliced or whole, are often served hot or cold on top
  of nachos, which are tortilla chips with melted cheese on top, a
  traditional Tex-Mex dish
- Chipotles are smoked, ripe jalapeños.
- Jalapeño jelly can be prepared using jelling methods.
- Jalapeño peppers are often muddled and served in mixed drinks.
- Jalapeño poppers are an appetizer; jalapeños are stuffed with cheese,
  usually cheddar or cream cheese, breaded or wrapped in bacon, and
  cooked.¹ ²
- Armadillo eggs are jalapeños or similar chilis stuffed with cheese,
  coated in seasoned sausage meat and wrapped in bacon. The "eggs" are then
  grilled until the bacon starts to crisp.
- Chiles toreados are fresh jalapeños that are sauteed in oil until the
  skin is blistered all over. They are sometimes served with melted cheese
  on top.
- Texas toothpicks are jalapeños and onions shaved into straws, lightly
  breaded, and deep fried.³
- Chopped jalapeños are a common ingredient in many salsas and chilis.
- Jalapeño slices are commonly served in Vietnamese pho.

See also

- Capsicum (Pepper family)
- Habanero
- List of North American hot sauces
- Tex-Mex
- Washington's Birthday Celebration in Laredo, Texas, which includes the
  annual Jalapeño Festival in February
- Salsa


[1] Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers Recipe -
[2] Cheesy Jalapeno Poppers Are Bacon Wrapped Appetizers.
[3] The Big Apple blog, Texas Toothpick

External links

José Alberto "El Canario"

José Alberto Justiniano (born December 22, 1958 in Villa Consuelo district,
Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic), better known by his stage name José
Alberto "El Canario" is a Dominican salsa singer. José Alberto moved to
Puerto Rico with his family at the age of 7, and inspired by Latin music
went on to polish his singing at Las Antillas Military Academy. He
relocated to New York in the early 1970s and sang with several orchestras.
He received international attention as the bandleader of Tipica 73 in
October 1977.

José Alberto started his own band in 1983, and became a major Latin star
after the release of his 1984 debut Noches Calientes . His 1991 album Dance
With Me, which established a new style of salsa called salsa romántica. He
has sung hit songs such as "Sueño Contigo" His voice was widely adored by
his fans, and his exceptional whistling abilities (being able to improvise
as if he was playing a traverse flute) led them to give him the nickname El
Canario (The Canary).

El Canario has enjoyed success in the United States and Europe, but
especially throughout Latin America, including in his native Dominican
Republic, Puerto Rico, Peru, Venezuela, Panama, and Ecuador. El Canario in
1999 also was part of the biggest Latin American Festival in Australian
History at The Bacardi Darling Harbor Latin American Festival in Sydney as
supporting act for salsa performer Celia Cruz with over 22,000 people in

On 24 May 2008, José Alberto celebrated 30 years in the music industry at
the United Palace Theater in New York City. Among the several special
guests were Oscar D'León, Ismael Miranda, Raulín Rosendo, Joe Arroyo, and
Latin music mogul Ralph Mercado.


- Descarga


Kambuzi is a small, round chili pepper cultivar that is indigenous to the
central region in Malawi, a landlocked country in southeast Africa. It
comes in a variety of colors including yellow, red and orange. It is used
to make condiments and turned in to sauces, or sandwich spreads.² ³ ⁴ Their
flavor is similar to that of the Habanero chili.

The name translates to mean "little goat" peppers, as goats are known to
munch on their leaves.


[1] Goetz, P.; Jeune, R. (2012). "Capsicum annuum et Capsicum frutescens
  Piment". Phytothérapie 10 (2): 126–130. doi:10.1007/s10298-012-0691-4.
[2] Kambuzi. (2010-06-14). Retrieved on 2011-03-21.
[3] Food : TFM, Malawi Online Store. Retrieved on
[4] Kambuzi Chilli products, buy Kambuzi Chilli products from.
  Retrieved on 2011-03-21.

Lemon drop (pepper)

The lemon drop pepper, ají limon,¹ is a hot, citrus-like, lemon-flavored
pepper which is a popular seasoning pepper in Peru, where it is known as
kellu uchu.

It is also known as 'hot lemon'. The bright yellow, crinkled, cone-shaped
fruits are about 2.5 in long and 0.5 in wide, and mature from green to
yellow about 100 days after transplanting (long season), they have fewer
seeds than the average pepper, containing 15 on average. The plant is
vine-like, typically reaching a height of about 3 ft. Like other C.
baccatum species, these peppers were practically unknown in the West until
the early 1990s, but are now gaining wide popularity.²


[1] Dave DeWitt and Paul W. Bosland (2009). The Complete Pepper Book: A
  Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking. Timber
  Press. ISBN 978-0881929201.
[2] "Aji Lemon Drop".

External links

- Cultivar info at Cofrin Center for Biodiversity

List of Capsicum cultivars

The following is a preliminary list as there are thousands of Capsicum
cultivars grown worldwide.

There are four or five major species of cultivated Capsicum, and within
those species are several "taxonomic varieties". The species and varieties
include many economically important cultivars with different shapes,
colours, and flavours that are grown for different purposes. Some confusion
has resulted from the legal term "plant variety", which is used
interchangeably with "cultivar" (not with "taxonomic variety").

Major species and their taxonomic varieties:¹

- Capsicum annuum, which includes bell peppers, cayenne, paprika and
  + Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum
- Capsicum baccatum, which includes ají amarillo, ají limon and criolla
  + Capsicum baccatum var. pendulum
  + Capsicum baccatum var. praetermissum, which includes cumari
- Capsicum chinense, which includes habanero, sometimes included within C.
- Capsicum pubescens, which includes rocoto

Capsicum frutescens is sometimes distinguished as a species separate from
C. annuum,³ while other botanists consider it and C. annuum to be

Capsicum annuum

Main article: Capsicum annuum

Capsicum annuum, native to South America, is cultivated worldwide. Its
forms are varied, from large to small, sweet to sour, and very hot to
bland. Despite being a single species, C. annuum has many forms, with a
variety of names, even in the same language. Official names aside, in
American English, any variety lacking heat is colloquially known as a sweet
pepper, while one that produces capsaicin is colloquially known as a hot
pepper or chili pepper. In British English, the sweet varieties are called
"peppers"⁵ and the hot varieties "chillies",⁶ whereas in Australian
English, the name "capsicum" is commonly used for bell peppers exclusively
and "chilli" is often used to encompass the hotter varieties.

The plant is a perennial subshrub, with a densely branched stem. The plant
reaches 0.5–1.5 m (20–60 in). Single white flowers develop into the fruit
which is green when unripe, changing usually to red, although some
varieties may ripen to yellow, brown, or purple. The species are grown in
temperate climates as an annual, but they are especially productive in warm
and dry climates.

Capsicum baccatum

Main article: Capsicum baccatum

These have a distinctive, fruity flavor, and are commonly ground into
colorful powders for use in cooking, each identified by its color.

Capsicum chinense

Main article: Capsicum chinense

Capsicum chinense or "Chinese capsicum" is a misnomer since all Capsicum
species originated in the New World. Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin
(1727-1817), a Dutch botanist, named the species in that way in 1776
because he believed they originated in China. Most of the peppers of this
species have a distinctive flavor and are similar in flavor to each other.

Capsicum pubescens

Main article: Capsicum pubescens

Capsicum pubescens is among the oldest of domesticated peppers, and was
grown as long as 5000 years ago. It is probably related to undomesticated
plants that still grow in South America (C. cardenasii, C. eximium, and

Capsicum frutescens

Main article: Capsicum frutescens

Sometimes considered to be the same species as C. annuum

See also

- Capsicum
- International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants


[1] "The Plant List".
[2] "Capsicum chinense". "Tropicos".
[3] Dave DeWitt and Paul W. Bosland (2009). The Complete Chile Pepper Book:
  A Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking. Timber
  Press. ISBN 978-0881929201.
[4] "".
[5] "Pepper - Glossary - Cooking libraries - Cooking and recipes - Food &
  drink". Retrieved 2010-04-11.
[6] "Chilli - Glossary - Cooking libraries - Cooking and recipes - Food &
  drink". Retrieved 2010-04-11.
[7] "The Scoville Heat Measurement Chart". Retrieved 2012-02-29.
[8] "Selective Enzyme-Mediated Extraction of Capsaicinoids and Carotenoids
  from Chili Guajillo Puya (Capsicum annuum L.) Using Ethanol as Solvent". Retrieved 2012-02-29.
[9] "Salsa Garden cubit: Salsa Garden Pepper Database: Puya, Capsicum
  annuum (Hot Pepper)". 2010-05-12. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
[10] "What Are Sport Peppers?". Retrieved 2013-08-12.
[11] "SPORT". Tomato Growers Supply Company. Retrieved 2013-08-12.
[12] Hallock, Betty. "World's hottest pepper hits 2.2 million Scoville heat
  units". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
[13] "Hottest chili". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 11 July 2014.

Further reading

- G6CSY chile database: Used as source for information on various cultivars
  in this article.
- chillisgalore database: More can be found here.
- NMSU Chile Pepper Institute list of chile cultivars

Madame Jeanette

Madame Jeanette (Capsicum chinense) is a chili pepper cultivar originally
from Suriname.

The fruits are shaped like small bell peppers but with Habanero-like heat.
The peppers ripen to reddish-yellow but they are larger and not
symmetrical. Its flavour is described as "fruity", with hints of mango and
pineapple.¹ The Madam Jeanette is also known as the "Suriname Yellow" and
it may be related to the "Suriname Red". It is often confused with the
yellow Adjuma, which is less elongated and said to be more spicy but less
flavourful. Madame Jeanette is used in almost all facets of Surinamese
cuisine. The plant is very prolific. It has a relatively compact growth and
dislikes cool sites. It will also grow indoors.

See also

- Capsicum chinense
- List of Capsicum cultivars


  (in Dutch)

External links

- pictures of some Madame Jeanettes
- More Madame Jeanette pictures at Chilibase dbase

Malagueta pepper

Malagueta pepper (Portuguese pronunciation: [mɐlɐˈɣetɐ]), a kind of
Capsicum frutescens,¹ is a type of chilli used in Brazil, Portugal, and
Mozambique. It is heavily used in the Bahia state of Brazil. It apparently
gets its name from the unrelated melegueta pepper from West Africa

It is a small, tapered, green pepper that turns red as it matures at about
5 cm (2 in) in length. It has a range of 60,000 to 100,000 Scoville units.
Two sizes are seen in markets, which sometimes have different names: the
smaller ones are called malaguetinha in Brazil and piri piri in Portugal
and Mozambique, and the larger ones are called malagueta in Brazil and
Portugal. They are not different varieties, just peppers of different
maturities from the same plant.

Uses in food and cooking

This pepper is used to season many regional dishes and sauces in Brazil and
Mozambique. In Portugal, it is mainly used to season poultry dishes.

The malagueta chile (spelled "mala"), used in Brazilian cooking, is often
confused with melegueta pepper (spelled "mele"), also known as "grains of
paradise", a cardamom-like West African spice, Aframomum melegueta, from
the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family. Botanical and culinary writers have made
the error of referring to the chilli as the African spice, thinking it to
be one and the same.

In the cuisine of São Tomé and Príncipe, piri-piri sauce made with
malagueta pepper is commonly available as a condiment in restaurants
throughout São Tomé and Príncipe.²

In Dominican Republic, 'Malagueta' is used too for Pimenta dioica !


[1] Dave DeWitt and Paul W. Bosland (2009). The Complete Chile Pepper Book:
  A Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking. Timber
  Press. ISBN 978-0881929201.
[2] Sao Tome and Principe - Kathleen Becker. pp. 74-79.

Medusa pepper

Medusa peppers are a type of sweet, ornamental chili pepper which grows
upright, brightly colored fruit, which is long and thin, producing a "hair
of snakes" look suggestive of the gorgon Medusa in Greek mythology.

The fruit is sweet, unusual for ornamental pepper, and goes from green
through yellow and orange, to become red when fully ripe.¹

See also

- List of Capsicum cultivars


[1] "Pepper, Medusa Ornamental Pepper, Medusa Ornamental". Direct

Mexican cuisine

Not to be confused with Tex-Mex cuisine, which is often referred to as
"Mexican food" in the US and Canada.

Mexican cuisine is primarily a fusion of indigenous Mesoamerican cooking
with European, especially Spanish, elements added after the Spanish
conquest of the Aztec Empire in the 16th century. The basic staples remain
native foods such as corn, beans and chili peppers, but the Europeans
introduced a large number of other foods, the most important of which were
meat from domesticated animals (beef, pork, chicken, goat and sheep), dairy
products (especially cheese) and various herbs and lots of spices.

While the Spanish initially tried to impose their own diet on the country,
this was not possible and eventually the foods and cooking techniques began
to be mixed, especially in colonial era convents. African and Asian
influences were also introduced into the mixture during this era as a
result of African slavery in New Spain and the Manila-Acapulco Galleons.
Over the centuries, this resulted in various regional cuisines, based on
local conditions such as those in Oaxaca, Veracruz and the Yucatán
Peninsula. Mexican cuisine is closely tied to the culture, social structure
and popular traditions of the country. The most important example of this
connection is the use of mole for special occasions and holidays,
particularly in the South and Center regions of the country. For this
reason and others, Mexican cuisine was added by UNESCO to its list of the
world's "intangible cultural heritage".

Basic elements

Mexican cuisine is as complex as any of the great cuisines in the world,
such as those of India, China, France, Italy and Turkey.¹ It is created
mostly with ingredients native to Mexico as well as those brought over by
the Spanish conquistadors, with some new influences since then.² In
addition to staples such as corn and chili peppers, native ingredients
include tomatoes, squashes, avocados, cocoa and vanilla,³ as well as
ingredients not generally used in other cuisines such as edible flowers,
vegetables such as huauzontle and papaloquelite or small criollo avocados,
whose skin is edible.⁴ European contributions include pork, chicken, beef,
cheese, herbs and spices, and some fruits. Tropical fruits such as guava,
prickly pear, sapote, mangoes, bananas, pineapple and cherimoya (custard
apple) are popular, especially in the center and south of the country.⁵ It
has been debated how much Mexican food is still indigenous and how much is
European.⁶ However, the basis of the diet is still corn and beans with
chili pepper as a seasoning as they are complementary foods.⁷


Despite the introduction of wheat and rice to Mexico, the basic starch
remains corn in almost all areas of the country. While it is eaten fresh,
most corn is dried, treated with lime and ground into a dough.⁸ ⁹ This
dough is used both fresh and fermented to make a wide variety of dishes
from drinks (atole, pozol, etc.) to tamales, to sopes and much more.
However, the most common way to eat corn in Mexico is in the form of a
tortilla, which accompanies almost every dish. Tortillas are made of corn
in most of the country, but other versions exist, such as wheat in the
north or plantain, yuca and wild greens in Oaxaca.³ ⁸

Chili peppers

The other basic ingredient in all parts of Mexico is the chili pepper.¹⁰
Mexican food has a reputation for being very spicy, but its seasoning can
be better described as strong. Many dishes also have subtle flavors.¹ ⁴
Chili peppers are used for their flavors and not just their heat, with
Mexico using the widest variety of chili peppers. If a savory dish or snack
does not contain chili pepper, hot sauce is usually added, and chili pepper
is often added to fresh fruit and sweets.¹⁰ The importance of the chili
pepper goes back to the Mesoamerican period, where it was considered to be
as much of a staple as corn and beans. In the 16th century, Bartolomé de
las Casas wrote that without chili peppers, the indigenous people did not
think they were eating. Even today, most Mexicans believe that their
national identity would be at a loss without it.⁷

Many dishes in Mexico are defined by their sauces and the chili peppers
those sauces contain, rather than the meat or vegetable that the sauce
covers. These dishes include entomatada (in tomato sauce), adobo or
adobados, pipians and moles. A hominy soup called pozole is defined as
white, green or red depending on the chili pepper sauce used or omitted.
Tamales are differentiated by the filling which is again defined by the
sauce (red, green, chili pepper strips or mole). Dishes without a sauce are
rarely eaten without a salsa or without fresh or pickled chili peppers.
This includes street foods such as tacos, tortas, soups, sopes, tlacoyos,
tlayudas, gorditas and sincronizadas.¹¹ For most dishes, it is the type of
chili used that gives it its main flavor.⁷

Spanish contributions

The main contributions of the Spanish were meat and cheese, as the
Mesoamerican diet contained very little meat besides domesticated turkey,
and dairy products were completely unknown. The Spanish also introduced the
technique of frying in pork fat. Today, the main meats found in Mexico are
pork, chicken, beef, goat, and sheep. Native seafood remains popular
especially along the coasts.¹² Cheesemaking in Mexico has evolved its own
specialties. It is an important economic activity, especially in the north,
and is frequently done at home. The main cheese making areas are Chihuahua,
Oaxaca, Querétaro, and Chiapas. Goat cheese is still made, but it is not as
popular and is harder to find in stores.¹³

Food and society

Home cooking

In most of Mexico, especially in rural areas, much of the food is still
consumed in the home with the most traditional Mexican cooking still done
domestically, based on local ingredients.¹⁴ Cooking for family is
considered to be women's work, and this includes cooking for celebrations
as well.¹⁵ Traditionally, girls have been considered ready to marry when
they can cook, and cooking is considered a main talent for housewives.¹⁶

The main meal of the day in Mexico is the "comida" meaning meal in Spanish.
This refers to dinner or supper. It begins with soup, often chicken broth
with pasta or a "dry soup", which is pasta or rice flavored with onions,
garlic and/or vegetables. The main course is a meat served in a cooked
sauce with salsa on the side, accompanied with beans and tortillas and
often with a fruit drink. In the evening, it is common to eat leftovers
from the comida or sweet bread accompanied by coffee or chocolate.
Breakfast is generally heartier than in other countries and can consist of
leftovers, meat in broth (such as pancita), tacos, enchiladas or meat with
eggs. This is usually served with beans, white bread and/or tortillas and
coffee and/or juice.¹⁷

Food and festivals

Mexican cuisine is elaborate and often tied to symbolism and festivals, one
reason it was named as an example of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of
Humanity by UNESCO.³ Many of the foods of Mexico are complicated because of
their relation to the social structure of the country. Food preparation,
especially for family and social events, is considered to be an
"investment" in order to maintain social relationships.¹⁸ Even the idea of
flavor is considered to be social, with meals prepared for certain diners
and certain occasions when they are considered the most tasty.¹⁹ The
ability to cook well, called "sazón" (lit. seasoning) is considered to be a
gift generally gained from experience and a sense of commitment to the
diners.²⁰ For the Day of the Dead festival, foods such as tamales and mole
are set out on altars and it is believed that the visiting dead relatives
"eat" the "essence" of the food. If eaten afterwards by the living it is
considered to be tasteless.¹⁹ In central Mexico, the main festival foods
are mole, barbacoa, carnitas and mixiotes. They are often prepared to feed
around five hundred guests, requiring groups of cooks. The cooking is part
of the social custom meant to bind families and communities.²¹

Mexican regional home cooking is completely different from the food served
in most Mexican restaurants outside Mexico, which is usually some variety
of Tex-Mex.⁴ Some of Mexico's traditional foods involved complex and/or
long cooking processes. Before industrialization, traditional women spent
several hours a day boiling dried corn then grinding them on a metate to
make the dough for tortillas, cooking them one-by-one on a comal griddle.
In some areas, tortillas are still made this way. Sauces and salsas were
also ground in a mortar called a molcajete. Today, blenders are more often
used although the texture is a bit different. Most people in Mexico would
say that those made with a molcajete taste better but few can do this

The most important food for festivals and other special occasions is mole,
especially mole poblano in the center of the country.²³ Mole is served at
Christmas, Easter, Day of the Dead and at birthdays, baptisms, weddings and
funerals, and tends to be eaten only for special occasions because it is
such as complex and time-consuming dish.²⁴ While still dominant in this
way, other foods have become acceptable for these occasions such as
barbacoa, carnitas and mixiotes, especially since the 1980s. This may have
been because of economic crises at that time, allowing for the substitution
of these cheaper foods, or the fact that they can be bought ready-made or
may already be made as part of the family business.²⁵

Another important festive food is the tamal or "tamale", as it is known in
English. This is a filled cornmeal dumpling, steamed in a wrapping (usually
corn husk or banana leaf) and one of the basic staples in most regions of
Mexico. It has its origins in the pre-Hispanic era and today is found in
many varieties in all of Mexico. Like mole it is complicated to prepare,
and best done in large amounts.²⁶ Tamales are associated with certain
celebrations such as Candlemas.²⁷ They are wrapped in corn husks in the
highlands and desert areas of Mexico and in banana leaves in the tropics.²⁸

Street food

Main article: Mexican street food

Mexican street food is one of the most varied parts of the cuisine. It can
include tacos, quesadillas, pambazos, tamales, huaraches, alambres and food
not suitable to cook at home including barbacoa, carnitas and, since many
homes in Mexico do not have or make use of ovens, roasted chicken.²⁹ One
attraction of street food in Mexico is the satisfaction of hunger or
craving without all the social and emotional connotation of eating at home,
although longtime customers can have something of a friendship/familial
relationship with a chosen vendor.³⁰

The best known of Mexico's street foods is the taco, whose origin is based
on the pre-Hispanic custom of picking up other foods with tortillas as
utensils were not used.⁸ The origin of the word is in dispute, with some
saying it is derived from Nahuatl and others from various Spanish
phrases.³¹ Tacos are not eaten as the main meal; they are generally eaten
before midday or late in the evening. Just about any other foodstuff can be
wrapped in a tortilla and in Mexico it varies from rice, to meat (plain or
in sauce) to cream, to vegetables and cheese, or simply with plain chili
peppers or fresh salsa. Preferred fillings vary from region to region with
pork generally found more often in the center and south, beef in the north,
seafood along the coasts, and chicken and lamb in most of the country.³²

Another popular street food, especially in Mexico City and the surrounding
area is the torta. It consists of a roll of some type, stuffed with several
ingredients. This has its origins in the 19th century, when the French
introduced a number of new kinds of bread. The torta began by splitting the
roll and adding beans. Today, refried beans can still be found on many
kinds of tortas. In Mexico City, the most common roll used for tortas is
called telera, a relatively flat roll with two splits on the upper surface.
In Puebla, the preferred bread is called a cemita, as is the sandwich. In
both areas, the bread is stuffed with various fillings, especially if it is
a hot sandwich, with beans, cream (mayonnaise is rare) and some kind of hot
chili pepper.³³

The influence of American fast food on Mexican street food grew during the
late 20th century. One example of this is the craving of the hot dog, but
prepared Mexican style. They are usually boiled then wrapped in bacon and
fried together. They are served in the usual bun, but the condiments are
typically a combination of diced tomatoes, onions and jalapeño peppers.³³

Besides food, street vendors also sell various kinds of drinks (including
aguas frescas, tejuino, and tepache) and treats (such as bionicos,
tostilocos, and raspados). Most tamale stands will sell atole as a standard


Pre-Hispanic period

Around 7000 BCE, the indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central America
hunted game and gathered plants, including wild chili peppers. Corn was not
yet cultivated, so one main source of calories was roasted agave hearts. By
1200 BCE corn was domesticated and a process called Nixtamalization, or
treatment with lye, was developed to soften corn for grinding and improve
its nutritional value. This allowed the creation of tortillas and other
kinds of flat breads.³⁴ The indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica had numerous
stories about the origin of corn, usually related to being a gift of one or
more gods such as Quetzalcoatl.³⁵

The other staple was beans, eaten with corn as a complimentary protein.
Despite this, studies of bones have shown problems with the lack of protein
in the indigenous diet, as meat was difficult to obtain. Other protein
sources included amaranth, domesticated turkey, insects such as
grasshoppers and ant larvae, iguanas, and turtle eggs on the coastlines.³⁶
Vegetables included squash and their seeds; chilacayote; jicama, a kind of
sweet potato; and edible flowers, especially those of squash. The chili
pepper was used as food, ritual and as medicine.³⁶

When the Spanish arrived, the Aztecs had sophisticated agricultural
techniques and an abundance of food, which was the base of their economy.
It allowed them to expand an empire, bringing in tribute which consisted
mostly of foods the Aztecs could not grow themselves.⁷ According to
Bernardino de Sahagún, the Nahua peoples of central Mexico ate corn, beans,
turkey, fish, small game, insects and a wide variety of fruits, vegetables,
pulses, seeds, tubers, wild mushrooms, plants and herbs that they collected
or cultivated.³⁷

Post conquest

Mexican educator Justo Sierra said that "the grocer, not the conquistador,
is the real Spanish father of Mexican society."¹³

After the Conquest, the Spanish introduced a variety of foodstuffs and
cooking techniques from Europe. Spanish cooking at that time was already a
mixture of ingredients because of eight centuries of Arab influence.⁶ The
original aim of the introduction was to reproduce their home cuisine, but
over time, it was incorporated with native ingredients and cooking
techniques.³⁷ Introduced foods included olive oil, rice, onions, garlic,
oregano, coriander, cinnamon, cloves and many other herbs and spices.⁶ More
importantly, they introduced domesticated animals such as pigs, cows,
chickens, goats and sheep for meat and milk, raising the consumption of
protein. Cheese became the most important dairy product.⁶ ¹³ The most
important cooking technique introduced by the Spanish was frying.⁶

Despite the domination of Spanish culture, Mexican cuisine has maintained
its base of corn, beans and chili peppers.⁶ One reason for this was the
overwhelming population of indigenous people in the earlier colonial
period, and the fact that many ingredients for Spanish cooking were not
available or very expensive in Mexico. One of the main avenues for the
mixing of the two cuisines was in convents.⁶ For example, the Spanish
brought rice to Mexico and it has since grown well in Veracruz. However,
New World tomatoes eventually replaced the use of expensive Spanish saffron
as well as other local ingredients.⁹ Sugar cane was brought to the country
and grew as well, leading to the creation of many kinds of sweets,
especially local fruits in syrup. A sugar-based candy craft called
alfeñique was adapted, but often with indigenous themes, especially today
for Day of the Dead.³⁸

During the 19th century Mexico experienced an influx of various immigrants
including French, Lebanese, German, Mennonite and Italian, which have had
some effect on the food.⁶ During the French intervention in Mexico, French
food became popular with the upper classes. An influence on these new
trends came from chef Tudor, who was brought to Mexico by the Emperor
Maximilian of Habsburg.³⁹ One lasting evidence of this is the variety of
breads and sweet breads such as bolillos, conchas and more which can be
found in Mexican bakeries.⁴⁰ The Germans brought beer brewing techniques
and the Chinese added their cuisine to certain areas of the country.⁴¹ This
led to Mexico characterizing its cuisine more by its relation to popular
traditions rather than on particular cooking techniques.⁴²

Since the 20th century, there has been an interchange of food influences
between Mexico and the United States. Mexican cooking was of course still
practiced in what is now the Southwest United States after the
Mexican–American War, but Diana Kennedy, in her book The Cuisines of Mexico
(published in 1972), drew a sharp distinction between Mexican food and
Tex-Mex.³⁴ Tex-Mex food was developed from Mexican and Anglo influences,
and was traced to the late 19th century in Texas. It still continues to
develop with flour tortillas becoming popular north of the border only in
the latter 20th century.³⁴ From north to south, much of the influence has
been related to food industrialization, as well as the greater availability
overall of food, especially after the Mexican Revolution. One other very
visible sign of influence from the United States is the appearance of fast
foods such as hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza.⁴³

In the latter 20th century, international influence in Mexico has led to
interest and development of haute cuisine. In Mexico, many professional
chefs are trained in French and/or international cuisine but the use of
Mexican staples and flavors is still favored, including the "simple" foods
of traditional markets. It is not unusual to see some quesadillas or small
tacos among the other hors d'oeuvres at fancy dinner parties in the
country. Professional cookery in the country is growing but it still
includes an emphasis on traditional methods and ingredients. In the cities,
there is interest in publishing and preserving what is "authentic" Mexican
food. This movement is traceable to 1982 with the Mexican Culinary Circle
of Mexico City. It was created by a group of women chefs and other culinary
experts as a reaction to the fear of traditions being lost with the
increasing introduction of foreign techniques and foods.⁴ In 2010, Mexico's
cuisine was recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of


See also: Mexican wine and Beer in Mexico

Corn in Mexico is not only eaten but also drank. Corn is the base of the
hot drink called atole, which is then flavored with fruit, chocolate, rice
and other flavors. Fermented corn is the base of a cold drink as well which
goes by different names and varieties such as tejuino, pozol and others.
Aguas frescas are flavored drinks usually made of fruit, water and sugar.
Beverages also include hibiscus iced tea, one made from tamarind and one
from rice called "horchata." One variant of coffee is café de olla, which
is coffee brewed with cinnamon and raw sugar.⁴⁴ Many of the most popular
beverages can be found sold by street vendors and juice bars in Mexico.

Chocolate played an important part in the history of Mexican cuisine. The
word "chocolate" originated from Mexico's Aztec cuisine, derived from the
Nahuatl word xocolatl. Chocolate was first drunk rather than eaten. It was
also used for religious rituals. The Maya civilization grew cacao trees⁴⁵
and used the cacao seeds it produced to make a frothy, bitter drink.⁴⁶ The
drink, called xocoatl, was often flavored with vanilla, chili pepper, and

Alcoholic beverages from Mexico include tequila, pulque, aguardiente and
mezcal, with brandy, wine, beer and rum also produced.⁴⁸ The most common
alcoholic beverage consumed with food in Mexico is beer, followed by

Regional cuisines

See also: List of Mexican dishes

Northern Mexico

The foods eaten in what is now the north of Mexico have differed from those
in the south since the pre-Hispanic era. Here, the indigenous people were
hunter-gatherers with limited agriculture and settlements because of the
arid land.⁴⁹ ⁵⁰

When the Europeans arrived, they found much of the land in this area
suitable for raising cattle, goats and sheep. This led to the dominance of
meat, especially beef, in the region, and some of the most popular dishes
include machaca, arrachera and cabrito.⁴⁹ ⁵⁰ The region's distinctive
cooking technique is grilling, as ranch culture has promoted outdoor
cooking done by men.⁵⁰ The ranch culture has also prompted cheese
production and the north produces the widest varieties of cheese in Mexico.
These include queso fresco (fresh farmer's cheese), ranchero (similar to
Monterey Jack), cuajada (a mildly sweet, creamy curd of fresh milk),
requesón (similar to cottage cheese or riccotta), Chihuahua's creamy
semi-soft queso menonita and fifty-six varieties of asadero (smoked

Another important aspect of northern cuisine is the presence of wheat,
especially in the use of flour tortillas. The area has at least forty
different types of flour tortillas.⁴⁹ The main reason for this is that much
of the land supports wheat production, introduced by the Spanish. These
large tortillas allowed for the creation of burritos, usually filled with
machaca in Sonora, which eventually gained popularity in the Southwest
United States.⁵⁰

The variety of foodstuffs in the north is not as varied as in the south of
Mexico because of the mostly desert climate. Much of the cuisine of this
area is dependent on food preservation techniques, namely dehydration and
canning. Dried foods include meat, chili peppers, squash, peas, corn,
lentils, beans and dried fruit. A number of these are also canned.
Preservation techniques change the flavor of foods; for example, many chili
peppers are less hot after drying.⁴⁹

In northeastern Mexico, during the Spanish colonial period, Nuevo León was
founded and settled by Spanish families of Jewish origin (Crypto-Jews).
They contributed significantly to the regional cuisine, and introduced
dishes like Pan de Semita or Semitic Bread (a type of bread without
leavening), the capirotada dessert and Cabrito or baby goat, which is the
typical food of Monterrey and the state of Nuevo León, as well as some
regions of Coahuila.⁵¹ ⁵²

The north has seen waves of immigration by Chinese, Mormons, and
Mennonites, who have influenced the cuisines in areas such as Chihuahua and
Baja California.⁵⁰ Most recently, Baja Med cuisine has emerged in Tijuana
and elsewhere in Baja California, combining Mexican and Mediterranean


Main article: Oaxacan cuisine

The cooking of Oaxaca remained more intact after the Conquest, as the
Spanish took the area with less fighting and less disruption of the economy
and food production systems. However, it was the first area to experience
the mixing of foods and cooking styles, while central Mexico was still
recuperating. Despite its size, the state has a wide variety of ecosystems
and a wide variety of native foods. Vegetables are grown in the central
valley, seafood is abundant on the coast and the area bordering Veracruz
grows tropical fruits.

Much of the state's cooking is influenced by that of the Mixtec and, to a
lesser extent, the Zapotec. Later in the colonial period, Oaxaca lost its
position as a major food supplier and the area's cooking returned to a more
indigenous style, keeping only a small number of foodstuffs such as chicken
and pork. It also adapted mozzarella, brought by the Spanish, and modified
it to what is known now as Oaxaca cheese.⁵³ ⁵⁴

One major feature of Oaxacan cuisine is its seven mole varieties, second
only to mole poblano in importance. The seven are Negro (black), Amarillo
(yellow), Coloradito (little red), Mancha Manteles (table cloth stainer),
Chichilo (smoky stew), Rojo (red), and Verde (green).⁵⁴

Corn is the staple food in the region. Tortillas are called blandas and
part of every meal. Corn is also used to make empanadas, tamales and more.
Black beans are favored, often served in soup and as a sauce for
enfrijoladas. Oaxaca's regional chili peppers include pasilla oaxaqueña
(red, hot and smoky), along with amarillos (yellow), chilhuacles,
chilcostles and costeños. These, along with herbs such as hoja santa, give
the food its unique taste.⁵⁴

Another important aspect to Oaxacan cuisine is chocolate, generally
consumed as a beverage. It is frequently hand ground and combined with
almonds, cinnamon and other ingredients.⁵⁴


The food of the Yucatán peninsula is distinct from the rest of the country.
It is based primarily on Mayan food with influences from the Caribbean,
central Mexico, European (especially French) and Middle Eastern cultures.⁵⁵
⁵⁶ As in other areas of Mexico, corn is the basic staple, as both a liquid
and a solid food. One common way of consuming corn, especially by the poor,
is a thin drink or gruel of white corn called by such names as pozol or

One of the main spices in the region is the annatto seed, called achiote in
Spanish. It gives food a reddish color and a slightly peppery smell with a
hint of nutmeg.⁵⁵ Recados are seasoning pastes, based on achiote - Recado
rojo - or a Mixture of habanero and charcoal called Chirmole⁵⁷ both used on
chicken and pork. Recado rojo is used for the area's best-known dish,
cochinita pibil. Pibil refers to the cooking method (from the mayan word
p'ib, meaning "buried") in which foods are wrapped, generally in banana
leaves, and cooked in a pit oven. Various meats are cooked this way.
Habaneros are another distinctive ingredient, but they are generally served
as (or part of) condiments on the side rather than integrated into the

One prominent feature of Yucatán cooking is tropical fruits such as
tamarind, plums, mamey, avocados and bitter oranges, the last often used in
the region's distinctive salsas. Honey was used long before the arrival of
the Spanish to sweeten foods and to make a ritual alcoholic drink called
balché. Today a honey liquor called xtabentun is still made and consumed in
the region. The coastal areas feature several seafood dishes, based on fish
like the Mero, a variety of grunt and esmedregal which is fried and served
with a spicy salsa based on the x'catic pepper and achiote paste.⁵⁶ Other
dishes include conch fillet (usually served raw, just marinated in lime
juice), cocount flavored shrimp and lagoon snails.⁵⁸

Traditionally, some dishes are served as entrées, such as the brazo de
reina (a type of tamale made from chaya) and papadzules (egg tacos seasoned
in a pumpkin seed gravy).⁵⁶

Street food in the area usually consists of Cochinita Pibil Tacos,
Lebanese-based Kibbeh, Shawarma Tacos, snacks made of hardened corn dough
called piedras and fruit-flavored ices.

Mexico City

The main feature of Mexico City cooking is that it has been influenced by
those of the other regions of Mexico as well as a number of foreign
influences.⁵⁵ ⁵⁹ This is because Mexico City has been a center for
migration of people from all over Mexico since pre-Hispanic times. Many of
the ingredients of this area's cooking are not grown here, such as tropical

Street cuisine is very popular, with taco stands, torta (sandwich) shops,
and lunch counters on every street. Popular foods in the city include
barbacoa (a specialty of the central highlands), birria (from western
Mexico), cabrito (from the north), carnitas (originally from Michoacán),
moles (from Puebla and central Mexico), tacos with many different fillings
and large sub-like sandwiches called tortas. There are eateries that
specialize in pre-Hispanic food including dishes with insects. This is also
the area where most of Mexico's haute cuisine can be found.⁵⁹

Western Mexico

West of Mexico City are the states of Michoacán, Jalisco and Colima as well
as the Pacific coast. The cuisine of Michoacan is based on the Purepecha
culture, which still dominates most of the state. The area has a large
network of rivers and lakes which provide fish. Its use of corn is perhaps
the most varied. While atole is drunk in most parts of Mexico, it is made
with more different flavors in Michoacán, including blackberry, cascabel
chili and more. Tamales come in different shapes, wrapped in corn husks.
These include those folded into polyhedrons called corundas and can vary in
name if the filling is different. In the Bajío area, tamales are often
served with a meat stew called churipo, which is flavored with cactus
fruit.⁶⁰ ⁶¹

The main Spanish contributions to Michoacán cuisine are rice, pork and
spices. One of the best-known dishes from the state is morisquesta, which
is a sausage and rice dish, closely followed by carnitas, which is
deep-fried pork. The latter can be found in many parts of Mexico, often
claimed to be authentically Michoacán. Other important ingredients in the
cuisine include wheat (where bread symbolizes fertility) found in breads
and pastries. Another is sugar, giving rise to a wide variety of desserts
and sweets such as fruit jellies and ice cream, mostly associated with the
town of Tocumba. The town of Cotija has a cheese named after it. The local
alcoholic beverage is charanda, which is made with fermented corn.⁶⁰

The cuisine of the states of Jalisco and Colima is noted for dishes such as
birria, chilayo, menudo and pork dishes.⁶² Jalisco's cuisine is known for
tequila with the liquor produced only in certain areas allowed to use the
name. The cultural and gastronomic center of the area is Guadalajara, an
area where both agriculture and cattle raising have thrived. The best-known
dish from the area is birria, a stew of beef, mutton or pork with chili
peppers and spices. One important street food is tortas ahogadas, where the
torta (sandwich) is "drowned" in a chile sauce. Near Guadalajara is the
town of Tonalá, known for its pozole, a hominy stew said to have been
originally created with human flesh. The area which makes tequila surrounds
the city. A popular local drink is tejuino, made from fermented corn.
Bionico is also a popular dessert in the Guadalajara area.⁶³

On the Pacific coast seafood is common, generally cooked with European
spices along with chili peppers, and is often served with a spicy salsa.
Favored fish varieties include marlin, swordfish, snapper, tuna, shrimp and
octopus. Tropical fruits are also important.⁵⁵ ⁶³ The cuisine of the Baja
California peninsula is especially heavy on seafood, with the widest
variety. It also features a mild green chili pepper as well as dates,
especially in sweets.⁶⁴


Main article: Cuisine of Veracruz

The cuisine of Veracruz is a mix of indigenous, Afro-Mexican and Spanish.
The indigenous contribution is in the use of corn as a staple as well as
vanilla (native to the state), and herbs called acuyo and hoja santa. It is
also supplemented by a wide variety of tropical fruits such as papaya,
mamey and zapote along with the introduction of citrus fruit and pineapple
by the Spanish. The Spanish also introduced European herbs such as parsley,
thyme, marjoram, bay laurel, cilantro and others which characterize much of
the state's cooking. They are found in the best known dish of the region
Huachinango a la veracruzana, a red snapper dish.

The African influence is from the importation of slaves through the
Caribbean, who brought the peanut with them, which had earlier been
introduced to Africa by the Portuguese. This influence can be seen in
dishes such as pollo encacahuatado or chicken in peanut sauce. Other
African ingredients often found in the state include plantains, yucca and
sweet potatoes. As it borders the Gulf coast, seafood figures prominently
in most of the state. The state's role as a gateway to Mexico has meant
that the dietary staple of corn is less evident than in other parts of
Mexico, with rice as a heavy favorite. However corn dishes such as
garnachas, a kind of corn cake, are readily available, especially in the
mountain areas where indigenous influence is strongest.⁶⁵


Main article: Cuisine of Chiapas

Like elsewhere in Mexico, corn is the dietary staple and indigenous
elements are still strong in the cuisine. Along with a chili pepper called
simojovel, used nowhere else in the country, the cuisine is also
distinguished by the use of herbs such as chipilín and hierba santa.⁶⁶ ⁶⁷
Like in Oaxaca, tamales are usually wrapped in banana leaves (or sometimes
with the leaves of hoja santa), but often chipilín is incorporated into the
dough. As in the Yucatán, fermented corn is drunk as a beverage called
pozol, but here it is usually flavored with chocolate. The favored meats
are beef, pork and chicken (introduced by the Spanish), especially in the
highlands, which favors the raising of livestock. The livestock industry
has also prompted the making of cheese, mostly done on ranches and in small
cooperatives, with the best known from Ocosingo, Rayón, Chiapas and
Pijijiapan. Meat and cheese dishes are frequently accompanied by vegetables
such as squash, chayote and carrots.⁶⁷

Mexican food outside of Mexico

Most Mexican food found outside of Mexico is limited, generally based on
the food of far northern Mexico and the Southwest US. Nachos, burritos,
fajitas, chili con carne and chimichangas are examples of Mexican-origin
food in the US.² However, with the growing ethnic Mexican population in the
United States, more authentic Mexican food is appearing slowly in the US.
One reason is that Mexican immigrants use food as a means of combating
homesickness, and for their descendants, it is a symbol of ethnicity.²⁶
Alternatively, with more Americans experiencing Mexican food in Mexico,
there is a growing demand for more authentic flavors.²⁶ ⁶⁸

See also

- Latin American cuisine
- Pan dulce (sweet bread)
- List of Mexican dishes
- List of Mexican restaurants


[1] MacNeil-Fife, Karen (September 2000). "Beyond beer: Wine with Mexican
  food". Sunset 205 (3): 194.
[2] Malat, R. p. 88
[3] "Traditional Mexican cuisine - ancestral, ongoing community culture,
  the Michoacán paradigm". UNESCO. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
[4] Adapon, Joy p. 11
[5] Malat, R. p. 89
[6] Adapon, Joy p. 10
[7] Adapon, Joy p. 8
[8] Iturriaga , José N. p.43
[9] Karen Hursh Graber (January 1, 2003). "Rice: The Gift Of The Other
  Gods". Mexconnect newsletter. ISSN 1028-9089. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
[10] Adapon, Joy p. 7
[11] Adapon, Joy p. 114
[12] Malat, R. p. 88-89
[13] Karen Hursh Graber (October 1, 2000). "A guide to Mexican cheese: Los
  quesos mexicanos". Mexconnect newsletter. ISSN 1028-9089. Retrieved
  October 24, 2012.
[14] Adapon, Joy p. 3
[15] Adapon, Joy p. 71
[16] Adapon, Joy p. 75
[17] Adapon, Joy p. 93
[18] Adapon, Joy p. 20
[19] Adapon, Joy p. 117
[20] Abarca, Meredith p. 62
[21] Adapon, Joy p. 89
[22] Adapon, Joy p. 15
[23] Adapon, Joy p. 89,97
[24] Adapon, Joy p. 89, 99
[25] Adapon, Joy p. 101, 107
[26] Knepp, Mark Dustin (2010). Tamaladas and the role of food in
  Mexican-immigrant and Mexican-American cultures in Texas (PhD). State
  University of New York at Albany. Docket 3412031.
[27] Adapon, Joy p. 101
[28] Iturriaga , José N. p.84-89
[29] Adapon, Joy p. 123
[30] Adapon, Joy p. 126
[31] Iturriaga , José N. p.43-44
[32] Iturriaga , José N. p.44
[33] Iturriaga , José N. p.130-133
[34] Sharpe, Patricia (December 2004). "More Mexican—It's About Time;
  Mexican food through the ages.". Texas Monthly 32 (12): 1.
[35] Luengas, Arnulfo p. 27-28
[36] Luengas, Arnulfo p. 30
[37] Adapon, Joy p. 9
[38] Luengas, Arnulfo p. 37
[39] Adela Fernández (1985). Tradicional cocina mexicana y sus mejores
  recetas. Panorama Editorial. pp. 33–. ISBN 978-968-38-0131-9.
[40] Luengas, Arnulfo p. 47-48
[41] Hill, Owen (6 September 2007–12). "Mexican food". Caterer &
  Hotelkeeper 197 (4492): 13. Check date values in: |date= (help)
[42] Adapon, Joy p. 12
[43] Luengas, Arnulfo p. 80-85
[44] Malat, R. p. 89-90
[45] "Chocolate: A Mesoamerican Luxury 250–900 C.E. (A.D.) – Obtaining
  Cacao". Field Museum. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
[46] "Chocolate: A Mesoamerican Luxury 250–900 C.E. (A.D.) – Making
  Chocolate". Field Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
[47] "Achiote (Annatto) Cooking". las Culturas. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
[48] Malat, R. p. 90
[49] Perez, Ramona Lee (2009). Tasting culture: Food, family and flavor in
  Greater Mexico (PhD). New York University. Docket 3365727.
[50] Karen Hursh Graber (January 1, 2006). "The cuisines of Northern
  Mexico: La cocina norteña". Mexconnect newsletter. ISSN 1028-9089.
  Retrieved October 24, 2012.
[51] "Traditional food of Nuevo León". Gobierno del Estado de Nuevo León.
  Retrieved 16 March 2012.
[52] Jewish Encyclopedia: Carabajal. Accessed Mar 5, 2011.
[53] Cocina Estado por estado Oaxaca [State by state cuisine: Oaxaca] (in
  Spanish) 1. Mexico City: El Universal /Radar Editores. 2007.
[54] Karen Hursh Graber (January 1, 2006). "The Cuisine of Oaxaca, Land of
  the Seven Moles". Mexconnect newsletter. ISSN 1028-9089. Retrieved
  October 24, 2012.
[55] "Regional Foods of Mexico". University of Michigan. April 10, 2008.
  Retrieved October 24, 2012.
[56] Karen Hursh Graber (January 1, 2006). "The cuisine of the Yucatan: a
  gastronomical tour of the Maya heartland". Mexconnect newsletter. ISSN
  1028-9089. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
[59] Karen Hursh Graber (January 1, 2004). "Dining in the DF: food and
  drink in Mexico's capital". Mexconnect newsletter. ISSN 1028-9089.
  Retrieved October 24, 2012.
[60] Karen Hursh Graber (January 1, 2004). "The Cuisine of Michoacán:
  Mexican Soul Food". Mexconnect newsletter. ISSN 1028-9089. Retrieved
  October 24, 2012.
[61] Cocina Estado por estado Michoacán [State by state cuisine: Michoacán]
  (in Spanish) 5. Mexico City: El Universal /Radar Editores. 2007.
[62] Cocina Estado por estado Colima Jalisco [State by state cuisine:
  Colima Jalisco] (in Spanish) 12. Mexico City: El Universal /Radar
  Editores. 2007.
[63] Karen Hursh Graber (January 1, 2007). "The cuisine of Jalisco: la
  cocina tapatia". Mexconnect newsletter. ISSN 1028-9089. Retrieved October
  24, 2012.
[64] Cocina Estado por estado Baja California Baja California Sur [State by
  state cuisine: Baja California Baja California Sur] (in Spanish) 11.
  Mexico City: El Universal /Radar Editores. 2007.
[65] Karen Hursh Graber (January 1, 2006). "The cuisine of Veracruz: a
  tasty blend of cultures". Mexconnect newsletter. ISSN 1028-9089.
  Retrieved October 24, 2012.
[66] Cocina Estado por estado Chiapas [State by state cuisine: Chiapas] (in
  Spanish) 7. Mexico City: El Universal /Radar Editores. 2007.
[67] Karen Hursh Graber (January 1, 2003). "The cuisine of Chiapas: Dining
  in Mexico's last frontier". Mexconnect newsletter. ISSN 1028-9089.
  Retrieved October 24, 2012.
[68] Xiong, Mao (2009). Affective testing on the seven moles of Oaxaca
  (PhD). California State University, Fresno. Docket 1484546.


- Abarca, Meredith E. (2006). Rio Grande/Río Bravo: Borderlands Culture, 9
  : Voices in the Kitchen : Views of Food and the World from Working-Class
  Mexican and Mexican American Women. College Station, TX, USA: Texas A&M
  University Press. ISBN 9781585445318.
- Adapon, Joy (2008). Culinary Art and Anthropology. Oxford: Berg
  Publishers. ISBN 978-1847882134.
- Iturriaga, José N. (1993). La Cultura del Antojito [The Culture of
  Snack/Street Food] (in Spanish). Mexico City: Editorial Diana. ISBN 968
  13 2527 3.
- Luengas, Arnulfo (2000). La Cocina del Banco Nacional de México [The
  Cuisine of the National Bank of Mexico] (in Spanish). Mexico City:
  Fomento Cultural Banamex. ISBN 968 7009 94 2.
- Malat, Randy, ed. (2008). Passport Mexico : Your Pocket Guide to Mexican
  Business, Customs and Etiquette. Barbara Szerlip. Petaluma, CA, USA:
  World Trade Press. ISBN 978-1885073914.
- Pilcher, Jeffrey M. Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food (Oxford
  University Press, 2012) online review
- Pilcher, Jeffrey M. Que Vivan Los Tamales! Food and the Making of Mexican
  National Identity (1998)

External links

- from UNESCO


This article is about the country in North America. For other uses, see
Mexico (disambiguation).

Mexico (ⁱ/ˈmɛksɨkoʊ/; Spanish: México [ˈmexiko] ( )), officially the United
Mexican States (Spanish:  Estados Unidos Mexicanos ),¹⁰ ¹¹ ¹² ¹³ is a
federal republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the
United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast
by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of
Mexico.¹⁴ Covering almost two million square kilometres (over 760,000 sq
mi),¹³ Mexico is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area
and the 13th largest independent nation in the world. With an estimated
population of over 113 million,¹⁵ it is the eleventh most populous and the
most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world and the second most
populous country in Latin America. Mexico is a federation comprising
thirty-one states and a Federal District, its capital and largest city.

In pre-Columbian Mexico many cultures matured into advanced civilizations
such as the Olmec, the Toltec, the Teotihuacan, the Zapotec, the Maya and
the Aztec before first contact with Europeans. In 1521, the Spanish Empire
conquered and colonized the territory from its base in Mexico-Tenochtitlan,
which was administered as the Viceroyalty of New Spain. This territory
would eventually become Mexico following recognition of the colony's
independence in 1821. The post-independence period was characterized by
economic instability, the Mexican-American War that led to the territorial
cession to the United States, the Pastry War, the Franco-Mexican War, a
civil war, two empires and a domestic dictatorship. The latter led to the
Mexican Revolution in 1910, which culminated with the promulgation of the
1917 Constitution and the emergence of the country's current political
system. In March 1938, through the Mexican oil expropriation private U.S.
and Anglo-Dutch oil companies were nationalized to create the state-owned
Pemex oil company.

Mexico has one of the world's largest economies, it is the tenth largest
oil producer in the world, the largest silver producer in the world and is
considered both a regional power and middle power.¹⁶ ¹⁷ ¹⁸ ¹⁹ In addition,
Mexico was the first Latin American member of the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development OECD (since 1994), and considered an
upper-middle income country by the World Bank.²⁰ Mexico is considered a
newly industrialized country²¹ ²² ²³ ²⁴ and an emerging power.²⁵ It has the
fifteenth largest nominal GDP and the tenth largest GDP by purchasing power
parity. The economy is strongly linked to those of its North American Free
Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, especially the United States.²⁶ ²⁷ Mexico
ranks sixth in the world and first in the Americas by number of UNESCO
World Heritage Sites with 32,²⁸ ²⁹ ³⁰ and in 2010 was the tenth most
visited country in the world with 22.5 million international arrivals per
year.³¹ According to Goldman Sachs, by 2050 Mexico is expected to become
the world's fifth largest economy.³² PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) estimated
in January 2013 that by 2050 Mexico could be the world's seventh largest
economy.³³ Mexico has membership in prominent institutions such as the UN,
the WTO, the G20 and the Uniting for Consensus.


Main article: Name of Mexico

After New Spain won independence from Spain, it was decided that the new
country would be named after its capital, Mexico City, which was founded in
1524 on top of the ancient Aztec capital of Mexico-Tenochtitlan. The name
comes from the Nahuatl language, but its meaning is unknown.

Mēxihco was the Nahuatl term for the heartland of the Aztec Empire, namely,
the Valley of Mexico, and its people, the Mexica, and surrounding
territories which became the future State of Mexico as a division of New
Spain prior to independence (compare Latium). It is generally considered to
be a toponym for the valley which became the primary ethnonym for the Aztec
Triple Alliance as a result, or vice versa.

The suffix -co is the Nahuatl locative, making the word a place name.
Beyond that, the etymology is uncertain. It has been suggested that it is
derived from Mextli or Mēxihtli, a secret name for the god of war and
patron of the Aztecs, Huitzilopochtli, in which case Mēxihco means "Place
where Huitzilopochtli lives".³⁴ Another hypothesis³⁵ suggests that Mēxihco
derives from a portmanteau of the Nahuatl words for "Moon" (Mētztli) and
navel (xīctli). This meaning ("Place at the Center of the Moon") might then
refer to Tenochtitlan's position in the middle of Lake Texcoco. The system
of interconnected lakes, of which Texcoco formed the center, had the form
of a rabbit, which the Mesoamericans pareidolically associated with the
Moon. Still another hypothesis suggests that it is derived from Mēctli, the
goddess of maguey.³⁵

The name of the city-state was transliterated to Spanish as México with the
phonetic value of the letter  in Medieval Spanish, which represented the
voiceless postalveolar fricative [ʃ]. This sound, as well as the voiced
postalveolar fricative [ʒ], represented by a , evolved into a voiceless
velar fricative [x] during the 16th century. This led to the use of the
variant Méjico in many publications in Spanish, most notably in Spain,
whereas in Mexico and most other Spanish–speaking countries México was the
preferred spelling. In recent years the Real Academia Española, which
regulates the Spanish language, determined that both variants are
acceptable in Spanish but that the normative recommended spelling is
México.³⁶ The majority of publications in all Spanish-speaking countries
now adhere to the new norm, even though the alternative variant is still
occasionally used. In English, the  in Mexico represents neither the
original nor the current sound, but the consonant cluster [ks].

The official name of the country has changed as the form of government has
changed. On two occasions (1821–1823 and 1863–1867), the country was known
as Imperio Mexicano (Mexican Empire). All three federal constitutions
(1824, 1857 and 1917, the current constitution) used the name Estados
Unidos Mexicanos³⁷ —or the variant Estados-Unidos Mexicanos,³⁸ all of which
have been translated as "United Mexican States". The phrase República
Mexicana, "Mexican Republic", was used in the 1836 Constitutional Laws.³⁹
On 22 November 2012, president Felipe Calderón sent to the Mexican Congress
a piece of legislation to change the country's name officially to simply
Mexico. To go into effect, the bill would need to be passed by both houses
of Congress, as well as a majority of Mexico's 31 State legislatures. As
this legislation was proposed just a week before Calderón turned power over
to Enrique Peña Nieto, Calderón's critics saw this as a symbolic gesture.⁴⁰


Main article: History of Mexico

Ancient cultures

Main article: Pre-Columbian Mexico

Archaic period

The earliest human remains in Mexico are chips of stone tools found near
campfire remains in the Valley of Mexico and radiocarbon-dated to circa
23,000 years ago.⁴¹ Mexico is the site of the domestication of maize and
beans which caused a transition from paleo-Indian hunter-gatherers to
sedentary agricultural villages beginning around 7000 BCE.

Classic periods (1500 BC–700 AD)

In the subsequent formative eras, maize cultivation and cultural traits
such as a complex mythological and religious complex, a vigesimal numeric
system, were diffused from the Mexican cultures to the rest of the
Mesoamerican culture area.⁴² In this period villages began to become
socially stratified and develop into chiefdoms, and large ceremonial
centers developed.⁴³

Among the earliest complex civilizations in Mexico was the Olmec culture
which flourished on the Gulf Coast from around 1500 BCE. Olmec cultural
traits diffused through Mexico into other formative-era cultures in
Chiapas, Oaxaca and the Valley of Mexico. The formative period saw the
spread of distinct religious and symbolic traditions, as well as artistic
and architectural complexes.⁴⁴

In the subsequent pre-classical period, the Maya and Zapotec civilizations
developed complex centers at Calakmul and Monte Albán respectively. During
this period the first true Mesoamerican writing systems were developed in
the Epi-Olmec and the Zapotec cultures, and the Mesoamerican writing
tradition reached its height in the Classic Maya Hieroglyphic script.⁴⁵

In Central Mexico, the height of the classic period saw the ascendancy of
Teotihuacan, which formed a military and commercial empire whose political
influence stretched south into the Maya area as well as north. Teotihuacan,
with a population of more than 150,000 people, had some of the largest
pyramidal structures in the pre-Columbian Americas.⁴⁶ After the collapse of
Teotihuacán around 600 CE, competition ensued between several important
political centers in central Mexico such as Xochicalco and Cholula. At this
time, during the Epi-Classic, Nahua peoples began moving south into
Mesoamerica from the North, and became politically and culturally dominant
in central Mexico, as they displaced speakers of Oto-Manguean languages.

Post-classic period (700–1519 AD)

During the early post-classic Central Mexico was dominated by the Toltec
culture, Oaxaca by the Mixtec and the lowland Maya area had important
centers at Chichén Itzá and Mayapán. Towards the end of the post-Classic
period the Aztecs of Central Mexico built a tributary empire covering most
of central Mexico.⁴⁷ The Aztecs were noted for practicing human sacrifice
on a large scale.⁴⁸ The distinct Mesoamerican cultural tradition ended with
the Spanish conquest in the 16th century, and over the next centuries
Mexican indigenous cultures were gradually subjected to Spanish colonial

Conquest (1519)

The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire began in February 1519 when Hernán
Cortés arrived at the port in Veracruz with ca. 500 conquistadores, and
later moved on to the Aztec capital. On his search for gold and other
riches, Cortés decided to invade and conquer the Aztec empire.⁵⁰

The ruler of the Aztec empire upon the arrival of the Spaniards was
Moctezuma II, who was later killed; his successor and brother Cuitláhuac
took control of the Aztec empire, but was among the first to fall from the
smallpox epidemic a short time later.⁵¹ Unintentionally introduced by
Spanish conquerors, smallpox ravaged Mesoamerica in the 1520s, killing more
than 3 million Aztecs.⁵² Other sources, however, mentioned that the death
toll of the Aztecs might have reached up to 15 million (out of a population
of less than 30 million).⁵³ Severely weakened, the Aztec empire was easily
defeated by Cortés and his forces on his second return.⁵⁴

Smallpox was a devastating and selective disease—it generally killed Aztecs
but not Spaniards, who as Europeans had already been exposed to it for
centuries and were therefore much more immune to it.⁵⁵ The deaths caused by
smallpox are believed to have triggered a rapid growth of Christianity in
Mexico and the Americas. At first, the Aztecs believed the epidemic was a
punishment from an angry god, but they later accepted their fate and no
longer resisted the Spanish rule.⁵⁶ Many of the surviving Aztecs blamed the
cause of smallpox to the superiority of the Christian god, which resulted
in the acceptance of Catholicism and yielding to the Spanish rule
throughout Mexico.⁵⁷

The territory became part of the Spanish Empire under the name of New
Spain. Mexico City was systematically rebuilt by Cortés following the Fall
of Tenochtitlan in 1521. Much of the identity, traditions and architecture
of Mexico were created during the colonial period.⁵⁸

Colonial period (1519–1821)

The capture of Tenochtitlan marked the beginning of a 300-year-long
colonial period, during which Mexico was known as "New Spain".

Period of the conquest (1521–1650)

Contrary to a widespread misconception, Spain did not conquer all of the
Aztec Empire when Cortes took Tenochtitlan. It required another two
centuries to complete the conquest: rebellions broke out within the old
Empire and wars continued with other native peoples.

After the fall of Tenochtitlan, it took decades of sporadic warfare to
subdue the rest of Mesoamerica. Particularly fierce was the Chichimeca War
(1576–1606) in the north.

Economics. The Council of Indies and the mendicant establishments, which
arose in Mesoamerica as early as 1524, labored to generate capital for the
crown of Spain and convert the Indian populations to Catholicism. During
this period and the following Colonial periods the sponsorship of mendicant
friars and a process of religious syncretism combined the Pre-Hispanic
cultures with Spanish socio-religious tradition.

The resulting hodgepodge of culture was a pluriethnic State that relied on
the "repartimiento", a system of peasant "Republic of Indians" labor that
carried out any necessary work. Thus, the existing feudal system of
pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican culture was replaced by the encomienda
feudal-style system of Spain, probably adapted to the pre-Hispanic
tradition. This in turn was finally replaced by a debt-based inscription of
labor that led to widespread revitalization movements and prompted the
revolution that ended colonial New Spain.

Evolution of the Race. During the three centuries of colonial rule, less
than 700,000 Spaniards, most of them men, settled in Mexico. The settlers
intermarried with indigenous women, fathering the mixed race (mestizo)
descendents who today constitute the majority of Mexico's population.

The colonial period (1650–1821)

During this period, Mexico was part of the much larger Viceroyalty of New
Spain, which included Cuba, Puerto Rico, Central America as far south as
Costa Rica, Florida, the southwestern United States and the Philippines.
Spain during the 16th century focused its energies on areas with dense
populations that had produced Pre-Columbian civilizations, since these
areas could provide the settlers with a disciplined labor force and a
population to catechize.

Territories populated by nomadic peoples were harder to conquer, and though
the Spanish did explore a good part of North America, seeking the fabled
"El Dorado", they made no concerted effort to settle the northern desert
regions in what is now the United States until the end of 16th century
(Santa Fe, 1598).

Colonial law with Spanish roots but native originalities was introduced,
creating a balance between local jurisdiction (the Cabildos) and the
Crown's, whereby upper administrative offices were closed to the natives,
even those of pure Spanish blood. Administration was based on the racial
separation of the population between the Republics of Spaniards, Indians
and Mestizos, autonomous and directly dependent on the king himself.

From an economic point of view, New Spain was administered principally for
the benefit of the Empire and its military and defensive efforts (Mexico
provided more than half of the Empire taxes and supported the
administration of all North and Central America). Competition with the
metropolis was discouraged, and for instance the cultivation of grapes and
olives, introduced by Cortez himself, was banned out of fear that these
crops would compete with Spain's.

In order to protect the country from the attacks of English, French and
Dutch pirates, as well as the Crown's revenue, only two ports were open to
foreign trade—Veracruz on the Atlantic and Acapulco on the Pacific. The
pirates attacked, plundered and ravaged several cities like Campeche
(1557), Veracruz (1568) and Alvarado (1667).

Education was encouraged by the Crown from the very beginning, and Mexico
boasts the first primary school (Texcoco, 1523), first university (1551)
and the first printing house (1524) of the Americas. Indigenous languages
were studied mainly by the religious orders during the first centuries, and
became official languages in the so-called Republic of Indians, only to be
outlawed and ignored after independence by the prevailing Spanish-speaking

Mexico produced important cultural achievements during the colonial period,
like the literature of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and Ruiz de Alarcón, as
well as cathedrals, civil monuments, forts and colonial cities such as
Puebla, Mexico City, Querétaro, Zacatecas and others, today part of
Unesco's World Heritage.

The syncretism between indigenous and Spanish cultures in New Spain gave
birth to many of today's Mexican cultural traits like tequila (first
distilled in the 16th century), mariachi (18th), jarabe (17th), charros
(17th) and Mexican cuisine - a mixture of European and indigenous
ingredients and techniques.

Independence from Spain (1821)

Main article: Mexican War of Independence

On September 16, 1810, a "loyalist revolt" against the ruling Junta was
declared by priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, in the small town of Dolores,
Guanajuato.⁵⁹ The first insurgent group was formed by Hidalgo, the Spanish
viceregal army captain Ignacio Allende, the militia captain Juan Aldama and
"La Corregidora" Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez. Hidalgo and some of his
soldiers were captured and executed by firing squad in Chihuahua, on July
31, 1811. Following his death, the leadership was assumed by priest José
María Morelos, who occupied key southern cities.

In 1813 the Congress of Chilpancingo was convened and, on November 6,
signed the "Solemn Act of the Declaration of Independence of Northern
America". Morelos was captured and executed on December 22, 1815.

In subsequent years, the insurgency was near collapse, but in 1820 Viceroy
Juan Ruiz de Apodaca sent an army under the criollo general Agustín de
Iturbide against the troops of Vicente Guerrero. Instead, Iturbide
approached Guerrero to join forces, and on August 24, 1821 representatives
of the Spanish Crown and Iturbide signed the "Treaty of Córdoba" and the
"Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire", which recognized the
independence of Mexico under the terms of the "Plan of Iguala".

Birth of the country

Territorial losses and Juárez reforms

Agustín de Iturbide immediately proclaimed himself emperor of the First
Mexican Empire. A revolt against him in 1823 established the United Mexican
States. In 1824, a Republican Constitution was drafted and Guadalupe
Victoria became the first president of the newly born country. In 1829
president Guerrero abolished slavery.⁶⁰ The first decades of the
post-independence period were marked by economic instability, which led to
the Pastry War in 1836, and a constant strife between liberales, supporters
of a federal form of government, and conservadores, proposals of a
hierarchical form of government.

General Antonio López de Santa Anna, a centralist and two-time dictator,
approved the Siete Leyes in 1836, a radical amendment that
institutionalized the centralized form of government. When he suspended the
1824 Constitution, civil war spread across the country, and three new
governments declared independence: the Republic of Texas, the Republic of
the Rio Grande and the Republic of Yucatán.

Texas successfully achieved independence and joined the United States. A
border dispute led to the Mexican-American War, which began in 1846 and
lasted for two years; the War was settled via the Treaty of Guadalupe
Hidalgo, which forced Mexico to give up over half of its land to the U.S.,
including Alta California, New Mexico, and the disputed parts of Texas. A
much smaller transfer of territory in what is today southern Arizona and
southwestern New Mexico — the Gadsden Purchase — occurred in 1854.⁶¹ The
Caste War of Yucatán, the Mayan uprising that began in 1847,⁶² was one of
the most successful modern Native American revolts.⁶³ Maya rebels, or
Cruzob,⁶⁴ maintained relatively independent enclaves until the 1930s.

Dissatisfaction with Santa Anna's return to power led to the liberal "Plan
of Ayutla", initiating an era known as La Reforma, after which a new
Constitution was drafted in 1857 that established a secular state,
federalism as the form of government, and several freedoms. As the
conservadores refused to recognize it, the Reform War began in 1858, during
which both groups had their own governments. The war ended in 1861 with
victory by the Liberals, led by the Amerindian president Benito Juárez. In
the 1860s Mexico underwent a military occupation by France, which
established the Second Mexican Empire under the rule of the Habsburg
Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria with support from the Roman
Catholic clergy and the conservadores, who later switched sides and joined
the liberales. Maximilian surrendered, was tried on June 14 and was
executed on June 19, 1867.

Porfiriato (1876–1910)

Porfirio Díaz, a republican general during the French intervention, ruled
Mexico from 1876 to 1880 and then from 1884 to 1911 in five consecutive
reelections, period known as the Porfiriato, characterized by remarkable
economic achievements, investments in the arts and sciences, but also of
economic inequality and political repression.

Mexican Revolution (1910–1929)

President Díaz announced in 1908 that he would retire in 1911, resulting in
the development of new coalitions. But then he ran for reelection anyway
and in a show of U.S. support, Díaz and William Howard Taft planned a
summit in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, for October 16, 1909,
an historic first meeting between a Mexican and a U.S. president and also
the first time an American president would cross the boarder into Mexico.⁶⁵
Both sides agreed that the disputed Chamizal strip connecting El Paso to
Ciudad Juárez would be considered neutral territory with no flags present
during the summit, but the meeting focused attention on this territory and
resulted in assassination threats and other serious security concerns.⁶⁵ On
the day of the summit, Frederick Russell Burnham, the celebrated scout, and
Private C.R. Moore, a Texas Ranger, discovered a man holding a concealed
palm pistol standing at the El Paso Chamber of Commerce building along the
procession route, and they disarmed the assassin within only a few feet of
Díaz and Taft.⁶⁵ Both presidents were unharmed and the summit was held.⁶⁵
Díaz was re-elected in 1910, but alleged electoral fraud forced him into
exile in France and sparked the 1910 Mexican Revolution, initially led by
Francisco I. Madero.

Madero was elected president but overthrown and murdered in a coup d'état
two years later directed by conservative general Victoriano Huerta. That
event re-ignited the civil war, involving figures such as Francisco Villa
and Emiliano Zapata, who formed their own forces. A third force, the
constitutional army led by Venustiano Carranza managed to bring an end to
the war, and radically amended the 1857 Constitution to include many of the
social premises and demands of the revolutionaries into what was eventually
called the 1917 Constitution. It is estimated that the war killed 900,000
of the 1910 population of 15 million.⁶⁶ ⁶⁷ Assassinated in 1920, Carranza
was succeeded by another revolutionary hero, Álvaro Obregón, who in turn
was succeeded by Plutarco Elías Calles. Obregón was reelected in 1928 but
assassinated before he could assume power. Although this period is usually
referred to as the Mexican Revolution, it might also be termed a civil war
since president Díaz (1909) narrowly escaped assassination and presidents
Francisco I. Madero (1913), Venustiano Carranza (1920), Álvaro Obregón
(1928), and former revolutionary leaders Emiliano Zapata (1919) and Pancho
Villa (1923) all were assassinated during this period.

One-party rule (1929–2000)

In 1929, Calles founded the National Revolutionary Party (PNR), later
renamed the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and started a period
known as the Maximato, which ended with the election of Lázaro Cárdenas,
who implemented many economic and social reforms. This included the Mexican
oil expropriation in March 1938, which nationalized the U.S. and
Anglo-Dutch oil company known as the Mexican Eagle Petroleum Company. This
movement would result in the creation of the state-owned Mexican oil
company known as Pemex. This sparked a diplomatic crisis with the countries
whose citizens had lost businesses by Cárdenas' radical measure, but since
then the company has played an important role in the economic development
of Mexico.

Between 1940 and 1980, Mexico remained a poor country but experienced
substantial economic growth that some historians call the "Mexican
miracle".⁶⁸ Although the economy continued to flourish, social inequality
remained a factor of discontent. Moreover, the PRI rule became increasingly
authoritarian and at times oppressive⁶⁹ (see the 1968 Tlatelolco
massacre,⁷⁰ which claimed the life of around 30–800 protesters).⁷¹

Electoral reforms and high oil prices followed the administration of Luis
Echeverría,⁷² ⁷³ mismanagement of these revenues led to inflation and
exacerbated the 1982 Crisis. That year, oil prices plunged, interest rates
soared, and the government defaulted on its debt. President Miguel de la
Madrid resorted to currency devaluations which in turn sparked inflation.

In the 1980s the first cracks emerged in PRI's monopolistic position. In
Baja California, Ernesto Ruffo Appel was elected as governor. In 1988,
alleged electoral fraud prevented the leftist candidate Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas
from winning the national presidential elections, giving Carlos Salinas de
Gortari the presidency and leading to massive protests in Mexico City.⁷⁴

Salinas embarked on a program of neoliberal reforms which fixed the
exchange rate, controlled inflation and culminated with the signing of the
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which came into effect on
January 1, 1994. The same day, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
(EZLN) started a two-week-long armed rebellion against the federal
government, and has continued as a non-violent opposition movement against
neoliberalism and globalization.

End of one-party rule (2000–)

In December 1994, a month after Salinas was succeeded by Ernesto Zedillo,
the Mexican economy collapsed, with a rapid rescue package authorized by
the U.S. President, Bill Clinton, and major macroeconomic reforms started
by President Zedillo, the economy rapidly recovered and growth peaked at
almost 7% by the end of 1999.⁷⁵

In 2000, after 71 years, the PRI lost a presidential election to Vicente
Fox of the opposition National Action Party (PAN). In the 2006 presidential
election, Felipe Calderón from the PAN was declared the winner, with a very
narrow margin over leftist politician Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the
Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). López Obrador, however, contested
the election and pledged to create an "alternative government".⁷⁶

Administrative divisions

Main articles: Political divisions of Mexico and List of Mexican states by

The United Mexican States are a federation of 31 free and sovereign states,
which form a union that exercises a degree of jurisdiction over the Federal
District and other territories.

Each state has its own constitution, congress, and a judiciary, and its
citizens elect by direct voting a governor for a six-year term, and
representatives to their respective unicameral state congresses for
three-year terms.⁷⁷

The Federal District is a special political division that belongs to the
federation as a whole and not to a particular state, and as such, has more
limited local rule than the nation's states.⁷⁸

The states are divided into municipalities, the smallest administrative
political entity in the country, governed by a mayor or municipal president
(presidente municipal), elected by its residents by plurality.⁷⁹

Gulf of
United States
-  Federal District
-  Aguascalientes
-  Baja California
-  Baja California Sur
-  Campeche
-  Chiapas
-  Chihuahua
-  Coahuila
-  Colima
-  Durango
-  Guanajuato
-  Guerrero
-  Hidalgo
-  Jalisco
-  México
-  Michoacán
-  Morelos
-  Nayarit
-  Nuevo León
-  Oaxaca
-  Puebla
-  Querétaro
-  Quintana Roo
-  San Luis Potosí
-  Sinaloa
-  Sonora
-  Tabasco
-  Tamaulipas
-  Tlaxcala
-  Veracruz
-  Yucatán
-  Zacatecas

Government and politics


Main articles: Federal government of Mexico and State governments of Mexico

The United Mexican States are a federation whose government is
representative, democratic and republican based on a presidential system
according to the 1917 Constitution. The constitution establishes three
levels of government: the federal Union, the state governments and the
municipal governments. According to the constitution, all constituent
states of the federation must have a republican form of government composed
of three branches: the executive, represented by a governor and an
appointed cabinet, the legislative branch constituted by a unicameral
congress and the judiciary, which will include called state Supreme Court
of Justice. They also have their own civil and judicial codes.

The bicameral Congress, composed of a Senate and a Chamber of Deputies,
makes federal law, declares war, imposes taxes, approves the national
budget and international treaties, and ratifies diplomatic appointments.⁸⁰
Seats to federal and state legislatures are elected by a system of parallel
voting that includes plurality and proportional representation.⁸¹

The Chamber of Deputies of the Congress of the Union is conformed by 300
deputies elected by plurality and 200 deputies by proportional
representation with closed party lists⁸² for which the country is divided
into 5 electoral constituencies or circumscriptions.⁸³ The Senate is
conformed by a total of 128 senators: 64 senators, two for each state and
two for the Federal District, elected by plurality in pairs; 32 senators
assigned to the first minority or first-runner up (one for each state and
one for the Federal District), and 32 are assigned by proportional
representation with closed party lists for which the country conforms a
single electoral constituency.⁸²

The Executive, is the President of the United Mexican States, who is the
head of state and government, as well as the commander-in-chief of the
Mexican military forces. The President also appoints the Cabinet and other
officers. The President is responsible for executing and enforcing the law,
and has the authority of vetoing bills.⁸⁴

The Judiciary branch of government is the Supreme Court of Justice,
comprising eleven judges appointed by the President with Senate approval,
who interpret laws and judge cases of federal competency. Other
institutions of the judiciary are the Electoral Tribunal, collegiate,
unitary and district tribunals, and the Council of the Federal Judiciary.⁸⁵


Main articles: Politics of Mexico and Elections in Mexico

Three parties have historically been the dominant parties in Mexican
politics: the National Action Party: a right-wing conservative party
founded in 1939 and belonging to the Christian Democrat Organization of
America;⁸⁶ the Institutional Revolutionary Party, a center-left party and
member of Socialist International⁸⁷ that was founded in 1929 to unite all
the factions of the Mexican Revolution and held an almost hegemonic power
in Mexican politics since then; the Party of the Democratic Revolution: a
left-wing party,⁸⁸ founded in 1989 as the successor of the coalition of
socialists and liberal parties.

Law enforcement

Main article: Law enforcement in Mexico
See also: Law of Mexico

Public security is enacted at the three levels of government, each of which
has different prerogatives and responsibilities. Local and state police
departments are primarily in charge of law enforcement, whereas the Mexican
Federal Police are in charge of specialized duties. All levels report to
the Secretaría de Seguridad Pública (Secretary of Public Security). The
General Attorney's Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) is
the executive power's agency in charge of investigating and prosecuting
crimes at the federal level, mainly those related to drug and arms
trafficking,⁸⁹ espionage, and bank robberies.⁹⁰ The PGR operates the
Federal Investigations Agency (Agencia Federal de Investigación, AFI) an
investigative and preventive agency.⁹¹

While the government generally respects the human rights of its citizens,
serious abuses of power have been reported in security operations in the
southern part of the country and in indigenous communities and poor urban
neighborhoods.⁹² The National Human Rights Commission has had little impact
in reversing this trend, engaging mostly in documentation but failing to
use its powers to issue public condemnations to the officials who ignore
its recommendations.⁹³ By law, all defendants have the rights that assure
them fair trials and human treatment; however, the system is overburdened
and overwhelmed with several problems.⁹²

Despite the efforts of the authorities to fight crime and fraud, few
Mexicans have strong confidence in the police or the judicial system, and
therefore, few crimes are actually reported by the citizens.⁹² The Global
Integrity Index which measures the existence and effectiveness of national
anti-corruption mechanisms rated Mexico 31st behind Kenya, Thailand, and
Russia.⁹⁴ In 2008, president Calderón proposed a major reform of the
judicial system, which was approved by the Congress of the Union, which
included oral trials, the presumption of innocence for defendants, the
authority of local police to investigate crime—until then a prerogative of
special police units—and several other changes intended to speed up


Main articles: Crime in Mexico and Mexican Drug War

According to an OECD study in 2012, 15% of Mexicans report having been a
victim of crime in the past year, a figure which among OECD countries is
only higher in South Africa.⁹⁶ In 2010 Mexico's homicide rate was 18 per
100,000 inhabitants;⁹⁷ the world average is 6.9 per 100,000 inhabitants.⁹⁸
Drug-traffic and narco-related activities are a major concern in Mexico.⁹⁹
Mexico's drug war has left over 60,000 dead and perhaps another 20,000
missing.¹⁰⁰ The Mexican drug cartels have as many as 100,000 members.¹⁰¹
The Mexican government's National Geography and Statistics Institute
estimated that there were 41, 563 crimes per 100,000 residents in 2012.¹⁰²

President Felipe Calderón made abating organized crime one of the top
priorities of his administration by deploying military personnel to cities
where drug cartels operate. This move was criticized by the opposition
parties and the National Human Rights Commission for escalating the
violence, but its effects have been positively evaluated by the Bureau for
International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs as having obtained
"unprecedented results" with "many important successes".¹⁰³

Since President Felipe Calderón launched a crackdown against cartels in
2006, more than 28,000 alleged criminals have been killed.¹⁰⁴ ¹⁰⁵ Of the
total drug-related violence 4% are innocent people,¹⁰⁶ mostly by-passers
and people trapped in between shootings; 90% accounts for criminals and 6%
for military personnel and police officers.¹⁰⁶ In October 2007, President
Calderón and US president George W. Bush announced the Mérida Initiative, a
plan of law enforcement cooperation between the two countries.¹⁰⁷

Foreign relations

Main article: Foreign relations of Mexico

The foreign relations of Mexico are directed by the President of Mexico¹⁰⁸
and managed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.¹⁰⁹ The principles of
the foreign policy are constitutionally recognized in the Article 89,
Section 10, which include: respect for international law and legal equality
of states, their sovereignty and independence, non-intervention in the
domestic affairs of other countries, peaceful resolution of conflicts, and
promotion of collective security through active participation in
international organizations.¹⁰⁸ Since the 1930s, the Estrada Doctrine has
served as a crucial complement to these principles.¹¹⁰

Mexico is one of the founding members of several international
organizations, most notably the United Nations,¹¹¹ the Organization of
American States,¹¹² the Organization of Ibero-American States,¹¹³ the
OPANAL¹¹⁴ and the Rio Group.¹¹⁵ In 2008, Mexico contributed over 40 million
dollars to the United Nations regular budget.¹¹⁶ In addition, it was the
only Latin American member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development since it joined in 1994 until Chile gained full membership
in 2010.¹¹⁷ ¹¹⁸

Mexico is considered as a regional power¹¹⁹ ¹²⁰ hence its presence in major
economic groups such as the G8+5 and the G-20. In addition, since the 1990s
Mexico has sought a reform of the United Nations Security Council and its
working methods¹²¹ with the support of Canada, Italy, Pakistan and other
nine countries, which form a group informally called the Coffee Club.¹²²

After the War of Independence, the relations of Mexico were focused
primarily on the United States, its northern neighbor, largest trading
partner,¹²³ and the most powerful actor in hemispheric and world
affairs.¹²⁴ Mexico supported the Cuban government since its establishment
in the early 1960s,¹²⁵ the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua during the
late 1970s,¹²⁶ and leftist revolutionary groups in El Salvador during the
1980s.¹²⁷ Felipe Calderón's administration put a greater emphasis on
relations with Latin America and the Caribbean.¹²⁸


Main article: Mexican Armed Forces

The Mexican Armed Forces have two branches: the Mexican Army (which
includes the Mexican Air Force), and the Mexican Navy. The Mexican Armed
Forces maintain significant infrastructure, including facilities for
design, research, and testing of weapons, vehicles, aircraft, naval
vessels, defense systems and electronics;¹²⁹ ¹³⁰ military industry
manufacturing centers for building such systems, and advanced naval
dockyards that build heavy military vessels and advanced missile

In recent years, Mexico has improved its training techniques, military
command and information structures and has taken steps to becoming more
self-reliant in supplying its military by designing as well as
manufacturing its own arms,¹³² missiles,¹³⁰ aircraft,¹³³ vehicles, heavy
weaponry, electronics,¹²⁹ defense systems,¹²⁹ armor, heavy military
industrial equipment and heavy naval vessels.¹³⁴ Since the 1990s, when the
military escalated its role in the war on drugs, increasing importance has
been placed on acquiring airborne surveillance platforms, aircraft,
helicopters, digital war-fighting technologies,¹²⁹ urban warfare equipment
and rapid troop transport.¹³⁵

Mexico has the capabilities to manufacture nuclear weapons, but abandonded
this possibility with the Treaty of Tlatelolco in 1968 and pledged to only
use its nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.¹³⁶ In 1970, Mexico's
national institute for nuclear research successfully refined weapons grade
uranium¹³⁷ which is used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons but in April
2010, Mexico agreed to turn over its weapons grade uranium to the United
States.¹³⁸ ¹³⁹

Historically, Mexico has remained neutral in international conflicts,¹⁴⁰
with the exception of World War II. However, in recent years some political
parties have proposed an amendment of the Constitution in order to allow
the Mexican Army, Air Force or Navy to collaborate with the United Nations
in peacekeeping missions, or to provide military help to countries that
officially ask for it.¹⁴¹


Main article: Geography of Mexico

Mexico is located between latitudes 14° and 33°N, and longitudes 86° and
119°W in the southern portion of North America. Almost all of Mexico lies
in the North American Plate, with small parts of the Baja California
peninsula on the Pacific and Cocos Plates. Geophysically, some geographers
include the territory east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (around 12% of the
total) within Central America.¹⁴² Geopolitically, however, Mexico is
entirely considered part of North America, along with Canada and the United

Mexico's total area is 1,972,550 km² (761,606 sq mi), making it the world's
14th largest country by total area, and includes approximately 6,000 km²
(2,317 sq mi) of islands in the Pacific Ocean (including the remote
Guadalupe Island and the Revillagigedo Islands), Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean,
and Gulf of California. From its farthest land points, Mexico is a little
over 2,000 mi (3,219 km) in length.

On its north, Mexico shares a 3,141 km (1,952 mi) border with the United
States. The meandering Río Bravo del Norte (known as the Rio Grande in the
United States) defines the border from Ciudad Juárez east to the Gulf of
Mexico. A series of natural and artificial markers delineate the United
States-Mexican border west from Ciudad Juárez to the Pacific Ocean. On its
south, Mexico shares an 871 km (541 mi) border with Guatemala and a 251 km
(156 mi) border with Belize.

Mexico is crossed from north to south by two mountain ranges known as
Sierra Madre Oriental and Sierra Madre Occidental, which are the extension
of the Rocky Mountains from northern North America. From east to west at
the center, the country is crossed by the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt also
known as the Sierra Nevada. A fourth mountain range, the Sierra Madre del
Sur, runs from Michoacán to Oaxaca.¹⁴⁴

As such, the majority of the Mexican central and northern territories are
located at high altitudes, and the highest elevations are found at the
Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt: Pico de Orizaba (5,700 m or 18,701 ft),
Popocatepetl (5,462 m or 17,920 ft) and Iztaccihuatl (5,286 m or 17,343 ft)
and the Nevado de Toluca (4,577 m or 15,016 ft). Three major urban
agglomerations are located in the valleys between these four elevations:
Toluca, Greater Mexico City and Puebla.¹⁴⁴


Main article: Climate of Mexico

The Tropic of Cancer effectively divides the country into temperate and
tropical zones. Land north of the twenty-fourth parallel experiences cooler
temperatures during the winter months. South of the twenty-fourth parallel,
temperatures are fairly constant year round and vary solely as a function
of elevation. This gives Mexico one of the world's most diverse weather

Areas south of the 24th parallel with elevations up to 1,000 m (3,281 ft)
(the southern parts of both coastal plains as well as the Yucatán
Peninsula), have a yearly median temperature between 24 to 28 °C (75.2 to
82.4 °F). Temperatures here remain high throughout the year, with only a 5
°C (9 °F) difference between winter and summer median temperatures. Both
Mexican coasts, except for the south coast of the Bay of Campeche and
northern Baja, are also vulnerable to serious hurricanes during the summer
and fall. Although low-lying areas north of the 24th parallel are hot and
humid during the summer, they generally have lower yearly temperature
averages (from 20 to 24 °C or 68.0 to 75.2 °F) because of more moderate
conditions during the winter.

Many large cities in Mexico are located in the Valley of Mexico or in
adjacent valleys with altitudes generally above 2,000 m (6,562 ft). This
gives them a year-round temperate climate with yearly temperature averages
(from 16 to 18 °C or 60.8 to 64.4 °F) and cool nighttime temperatures
throughout the year.

Many parts of Mexico, particularly the north, have a dry climate with
sporadic rainfall while parts of the tropical lowlands in the south average
more than 2,000 mm (78.7 in) of annual precipitation. For example, many
cities in the north like Monterrey, Hermosillo, and Mexicali experience
temperatures of 40 °C (104 °F) or more in summer. In the Sonoran Desert
temperatures reach 50 °C (122 °F) or more.

In 2012, Mexico passed a comprehensive climate change bill, a first in the
developing world, that has set a goal for the country to generate 35% of
its energy from clean energy sources by 2024, and to cut emissions by 50%
by 2050, from the level found in 2000.¹⁴⁵ ¹⁴⁶


Mexico is one of the 18 megadiverse countries of the world. With over
200,000 different species, Mexico is home of 10–12% of the world's
biodiversity.¹⁴⁷ Mexico ranks first in biodiversity in reptiles with 707
known species, second in mammals with 438 species, fourth in amphibians
with 290 species, and fourth in flora, with 26,000 different species.¹⁴⁸
Mexico is also considered the second country in the world in ecosystems and
fourth in overall species.¹⁴⁹ Approximately 2,500 species are protected by
Mexican legislations.¹⁴⁹

In 2002, Mexico had the second fastest rate of deforestation in the world,
second only to Brazil.¹⁵⁰ The government has taken another initiative in
the late 1990s to broaden the people's knowledge, interest and use of the
country's esteemed biodiversity, through the Comisión Nacional para el
Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad.

In Mexico, 170,000 square kilometres (65,637 sq mi) are considered
"Protected Natural Areas." These include 34 biosphere reserves (unaltered
ecosystems), 67 national parks, 4 natural monuments (protected in
perpetuity for their aesthetic, scientific or historical value), 26 areas
of protected flora and fauna, 4 areas for natural resource protection
(conservation of soil, hydrological basins and forests) and 17 sanctuaries
(zones rich in diverse species).¹⁴⁷

The discovery of the Americas brought to the rest of the world many widely
used food crops and edible plants. Some of Mexico's native culinary
ingredients include: chocolate, avocado, tomato, maize, vanilla, guava,
chayote, epazote, camote, jícama, nopal, zucchini, tejocote, huitlacoche,
sapote, mamey sapote, many varieties of beans, and an even greater variety
of chiles, such as the habanero and the jalapeño. Most of these names come
from indigenous languages like Nahuatl.

Because of its high biodiversity Mexico has also been a frequent site of
bioprospecting by international research bodies.¹⁵¹ The first highly
successful instance being the discovery in 1947 of the tuber "Barbasco"
(Dioscorea composita) which has a high content of diosgenin,
revolutionizing the production of synthetic hormones in the 1950s and 1960s
and eventually leading to the invention of combined oral contraceptive


Main articles: Economy of Mexico and Economic history of Mexico

Mexico has the 14th largest nominal GDP and the 10th largest by purchasing
power parity. GDP annual average growth for the period of 1995–2002 was
5.1%.⁷³ Mexico's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in purchasing power parity
(PPP) was estimated at US $1,748.908 billion in 2012, and $1,231.642
billion in nominal exchange rates.¹⁵³ As such, its standard of living, as
measured in GDP in PPP per capita was US $15,782.897. The World Bank
reported in 2009 that the country's Gross National Income in market
exchange rates was the second highest in Latin America, after Brazil at US
$1,830.392 billion,¹⁵⁴ which lead to the highest income per capita in the
region at $14,400.¹⁵⁵ As such, Mexico is now firmly established as an upper
middle-income country. After the slowdown of 2001 the country has recovered
and has grown 4.2, 3.0 and 4.8 percent in 2004, 2005 and 2006,¹⁵⁶ even
though it is considered to be well below Mexico's potential growth.¹⁵⁷

From the late 1990s onwards, the majority of the population has been part
of the growing middle class.¹⁵⁸ But from 2004 to 2008 the portion of the
population who received less than half of the median income has risen from
17% to 21% and the absolute levels of poverty have risen considerably from
2006 to 2010, with a rise in persons living in extreme or moderate poverty
rising from 35 to 46% (52 million persons).⁹⁶ ¹⁵⁹ This is also reflected by
the fact that infant mortality in Mexico is three times higher than the
average among OECD nations, and the literacy levels are in the median range
of OECD nations. According to Goldman Sachs, by 2050 Mexico will have the
5th largest economy in the world.¹⁶⁰

Among the OECD countries, Mexico has the second highest degree of economic
disparity between the extremely poor and extremely rich, after Chile –
although it has been falling over the last decade.¹⁶¹ The bottom ten
percent in the income hierarchy disposes of 1.36% of the country's
resources, whereas the upper ten percent dispose of almost 36%. OECD also
notes that Mexico's budgeted expenses for poverty alleviation and social
development is only about a third of the OECD average – both in absolute
and relative numbers.⁹⁶

According to a 2008 UN report the average income in a typical urbanized
area of Mexico was $26,654, while the average income in rural areas just
miles away was only $8,403.¹⁶² Daily minimum wages are set annually by law
and determined by zone; $67.29 Mexican pesos ($5.13 USD) in Zone A and
$63.77 Mexican pesos ($4.86 USD) in Zone B.¹⁶³

The electronics industry of Mexico has grown enormously within the last
decade. Mexico has the sixth largest electronics industry in the world
after China, United States, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Mexico is the
second largest exporter of electronics to the United States where it
exported $71.4 billion worth of electronics in 2011.¹⁶⁴ The Mexican
electronics industry is dominated by the manufacture and OEM design of
televisions, displays, computers, mobile phones, circuit boards,
semiconductors, electronic appliances, communications equipment and LCD
modules. The Mexican electronics industry grew 20% between 2010 and 2011,
up from its constant growth rate of 17% between 2003 and 2009.¹⁶⁴ Currently
electronics represent 30% of Mexico's exports.¹⁶⁴

Mexico produces the most automobiles of any North American nation.¹⁶⁵ The
industry produces technologically complex components and engages in some
research and development activities.¹⁶⁶ The "Big Three" (General Motors,
Ford and Chrysler) have been operating in Mexico since the 1930s, while
Volkswagen and Nissan built their plants in the 1960s.¹⁶⁷ In Puebla alone,
70 industrial part-makers cluster around Volkswagen.¹⁶⁶ In the 2010s
expansion of the sector was surging. In 2014 alone, more than $10 billion
in investment was committed. Kia Motors in August 2014 announced plans for
a $1 billion factory in Nuevo León. At the time Mercedes-Benz and Nissan
were already building a $1.4 billion plant near Puebla, while BMW was
planning a $1-billion assembly plant in San Luis Potosí. Additionally, Audi
began building a $1.3 billion factory near Puebla in 2013.¹⁶⁸ The domestic
car industry is represented by DINA S.A., which has built buses and trucks
since 1962,¹⁶⁹ and the new Mastretta company that builds the
high-performance Mastretta MXT sports car.¹⁷⁰ In 2006, trade with the
United States and Canada accounted for almost 50% of Mexico's exports and
45% of its imports.¹³ During the first three quarters of 2010, the United
States had a $46.0 billion trade deficit with Mexico.¹⁷¹ In August 2010
Mexico surpassed France to became the 9th largest holder of US debt.¹⁷² The
commercial and financial dependence on the US is a cause for concern.¹⁷³

The remittances from Mexican citizens working in the United States account
for 0.2% of Mexico's GDP¹⁷⁴ which was equal to US$20 billion per year in
2004 and is the tenth largest source of foreign income after oil,
industrial exports, manufactured goods, electronics, heavy industry,
automobiles, construction, food, banking and financial services.¹⁷⁵
According to Mexico's central bank, remittances in 2008 amounted to

Major players in the broadcasting industry are Televisa, the largest
Spanish media company in the Spanish-speaking world,¹⁷⁷ and TV Azteca.


Main article: Telecommunications in Mexico

The telecommunications industry is mostly dominated by Telmex (Teléfonos de
México), privatized in 1990. By 2006, Telmex had expanded its operations to
Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay and the United States.
Other players in the domestic industry are Axtel and Maxcom. Because of
Mexican orography, providing a landline telephone service at remote
mountainous areas is expensive, and the penetration of line-phones per
capita is low compared to other Latin American countries, at 40 percent;
however, 82% of Mexicans over the age of 14 own a mobile phone. Mobile
telephony has the advantage of reaching all areas at a lower cost, and the
total number of mobile lines is almost two times that of landlines, with an
estimation of 63 million lines.¹⁷⁸ The telecommunication industry is
regulated by the government through Cofetel (Comisión Federal de

The Mexican satellite system is domestic and operates 120 earth stations.
There is also extensive microwave radio relay network and considerable use
of fiber-optic and coaxial cable.¹⁷⁸ Mexican satellites are operated by
Satélites Mexicanos (Satmex), a private company, leader in Latin America
and servicing both North and South America.¹⁷⁹ It offers broadcast,
telephone and telecommunication services to 37 countries in the Americas,
from Canada to Argentina. Through business partnerships Satmex provides
high-speed connectivity to ISPs and Digital Broadcast Services.¹⁸⁰ Satmex
maintains its own satellite fleet with most of the fleet being designed and
built in Mexico.

The use of radio, television, and Internet in Mexico is prevalent.¹⁸¹ There
are approximately 1,410 radio broadcast stations and 236 television
stations (excluding repeaters).¹⁷⁸ Major players in the broadcasting
industry are Televisa—the largest media company in the Spanish-speaking
world¹⁷⁷ —and TV Azteca.


See also: Electricity sector in Mexico

Energy production in Mexico is managed by state-owned companies: the
Federal Commission of Electricity and Pemex.

Pemex, the public company in charge of exploration, extraction,
transportation and marketing of crude oil and natural gas, as well as the
refining and distribution of petroleum products and petrochemicals, is one
of the largest companies in the world by revenue, making US $86 billion in
sales a year.¹⁸² ¹⁸³ ¹⁸⁴ Mexico is the sixth-largest oil producer in the
world, with 3.7 million barrels per day.¹⁸⁵ In 1980 oil exports accounted
for 61.6% of total exports; by 2000 it was only 7.3%.¹⁶⁶

The largest hydro plant in Mexico is the 2,400 MW Manuel Moreno Torres Dam
in Chicoasén, Chiapas, in the Grijalva River. This is the world's fourth
most productive hydroelectric plant.¹⁸⁶

Mexico is the country with the world's third largest solar potential.¹⁸⁷
The country's gross solar potential is estimated at 5kWh/m2 daily, which
corresponds to 50 times national electricity generation.¹⁸⁸ Currently,
there is over 1 million square meters of solar thermal panels¹⁸⁹ installed
in Mexico, while in 2005, there were 115,000 square meters of solar PV
(photo-voltaic). It is expected that in 2012 there will be 1,8 million
square meters of installed solar thermal panels.¹⁸⁹

The project named SEGH-CFE 1, located in Puerto Libertad, Sonora, Northwest
of Mexico, will have capacity of 46.8 MW from an array of 187,200 solar
panels when complete in 2013.¹⁹⁰ All of the electricity will be sold
directly to the CFE and absorbed into the utility's transmission system for
distribution throughout their existing network. At an installed capacity of
46.8 MWp, when complete in 2013, the project will be the first utility
scale project of its kind in Mexico and the largest solar project of any
kind in Latin America.

Science and technology

Main article: History of science and technology in Mexico

The National Autonomous University of Mexico was officially established in
1910,¹⁹¹ and the university become one of the most important institutes of
higher learning in Mexico.¹⁹² UNAM provides world class education in
science, medicine, and engineering.¹⁹³ Many scientific institutes and new
institutes of higher learning, such as National Polytechnic Institute
(founded in 1936),¹⁹⁴ were established during the first half of the 20th
century. Most of the new research institutes were created within UNAM.
Twelve institutes were integrated into UNAM from 1929 to 1973.¹⁹⁵ In 1959,
the Mexican Academy of Sciences was created to coordinate scientific
efforts between academics.

In 1995 the Mexican chemist Mario J. Molina shared the Nobel Prize in
Chemistry with Paul J. Crutzen and F. Sherwood Rowland for their work in
atmospheric chemistry, particularly concerning the formation and
decomposition of ozone.¹⁹⁶ Molina, an alumnus of UNAM, became the first
Mexican citizen to win the Nobel Prize in science.¹⁹⁷

In recent years, the largest scientific project being developed in Mexico
was the construction of the Large Millimeter Telescope (Gran Telescopio
Milimétrico, GMT), the world's largest and most sensitive single-aperture
telescope in its frequency range.¹⁹⁸ It was designed to observe regions of
space obscured by stellar dust.


Main article: Tourism in Mexico

Mexico has been traditionally among the most visited countries in the world
according to the World Tourism Organization and it is the most visited
country in the Americas, after the United States. The most notable
attractions are the Meso-American ruins, cultural festivals, colonial
cities, nature reserves and the beach resorts. The nation's temperate
climate and unique culture – a fusion of the European and the Meso-American
– make Mexico an attractive destination. The peak tourism seasons in the
country are during December and the mid-Summer, with brief surges during
the week before Easter and Spring break, when many of the beach resort
sites become popular destinations for college students from the United

Mexico has the 23rd highest income from tourism in the world, and the
highest in Latin America.¹⁹⁹ The vast majority of tourists come to Mexico
from the United States and Canada followed by Europe and Asia. A smaller
number also come from other Latin American countries.²⁰⁰ In the 2011 Travel
and Tourism Competitiveness Index report, Mexico was ranked 43rd in the
world, which was 4th in the Americas .²⁰¹

The coastlines of Mexico harbor many stretches of beaches that are
frequented by sun bathers and other visitors. On the Yucatán peninsula, one
of the most popular beach destinations is the resort town of Cancún,
especially among university students during spring break. Just offshore is
the beach island of Isla Mujeres, and to the east is the Isla Holbox. To
the south of Cancun is the coastal strip called Riviera Maya which includes
the beach town of Playa del Carmen and the ecological parks of Xcaret and
Xel-Há. A day trip to the south of Cancún is the historic port of Tulum. In
addition to its beaches, the town of Tulum is notable for its cliff-side
Mayan ruins.

On the Pacific coast is the notable tourist destination of Acapulco. Once
the destination for the rich and famous, the beaches have become crowded
and the shores are now home to many multi-story hotels and vendors.
Acapulco is home to renowned cliff divers: trained divers who leap from the
side of a vertical cliff into the surf below.

At the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula is the resort town of
Cabo San Lucas, a town noted for its beaches and marlin fishing.²⁰² Further
north along the Sea of Cortés is the Bahía de La Concepción, another beach
town known for its sports fishing. Closer to the United States border is
the weekend draw of San Felipe, Baja California.


Main article: Transportation in Mexico

The roadway network in Mexico is extensive and all areas in the country are
covered by it.²⁰³ The roadway network in Mexico has an extent of 366,095 km
(227,481 mi),²⁰⁴ of which 116,802 km (72,577 mi) are paved,²⁰⁴ making it
the largest paved-roadway network in Latin America.²⁰⁵ Of these, 10,474 km
(6,508 mi) are multi-lane expressways: 9,544 km (5,930 mi) are four-lane
highways and the rest have 6 or more lanes.²⁰⁴

Mexico was one of the first Latin American countries to promote railway
development,⁹² and the network covers 30,952 km (19,233 mi).¹⁸¹ The
Secretary of Communications and Transport of Mexico proposed a high-speed
rail link that will transport its passengers from Mexico City to
Guadalajara, Jalisco.²⁰⁶ ²⁰⁷ The train, which will travel at 300 kilometers
per hour,²⁰⁸ will allow passengers to travel from Mexico City to
Guadalajara in just 2 hours.²⁰⁸ The whole project was projected to cost 240
billion pesos, or about 25 billion US$²⁰⁶ and is being paid for jointly by
the Mexican government and the local private sector including the
wealthiest man in the world, Mexico's billionaire business tycoon Carlos
Slim.²⁰⁹ The government of the state of Yucatán is also funding the
construction of a high speed line connecting the cities of Cozumel to
Mérida and Chichen Itza and Cancún.²¹⁰

Mexico has 233 airports with paved runways; of these, 35 carry 97% of the
passenger traffic.¹⁸¹ The Mexico City International Airport remains the
largest in Latin America and the 44th largest in the world²¹¹ transporting
21 million passengers a year.²¹²


Main articles: Demographics of Mexico and Mexican people

The recently conducted 2010 Census²¹⁴ showed a population of 112,336,538,
making it the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world.²¹⁵
Between 2005 and 2010, the Mexican population grew at an average of 1.70%
per year, up from 1.16% per year between 2000 and 2005.

Mexico is ethnically diverse; the various indigenous peoples and European
immigrants are united under a single national identity.²¹⁶ The core part of
Mexican national identity is formed on the basis of a synthesis of European
culture with Indigenous cultures in a process known as mestizaje, alluding
to the mixed biological origins of the majority of Mexicans.²¹⁶ ²¹⁷ Mexican
politicians and reformers such as José Vasconcelos and Manuel Gamio were
instrumental in building a Mexican national identity on the concept of

Since the mestizo identity promoted by the government is more of a cultural
identity than a biological one it has achieved a strong influence in the
country, with a good number of biologically white people identifiyng with
it, leading to being considered mestizos in Mexico's demographic
investigations and censuses due the ethnic criteria having its base on
cultural traits rather than biological ones.²¹⁹ A similar situation occurs
regarding the distinctions between indigenous peoples and mestizos: while
the term mestizo is sometimes used in English with the meaning of a person
with mixed indigenous and European blood, this usage does not conform to
the Mexican social reality where a person of pure indigenous genetic
heritage would be considered Mestizo either by rejecting his indigenous
culture or by not speaking an indigenous language,²²⁰ and a person with a
very low percentage of indigenous genetic heritage would be considered
fully indigenous either by speaking an indigenous language or by
identifying with a particular indigenous cultural heritage.²²¹ ²²² ²²³

The term mestizo itself, albeit often used in literature about Mexican
social identities, carries a variety of socio-cultural, economic, racial
and biological meanings. For this reason it has been deemed too imprecise
to be used for ethnic classification and has been abandoned in Mexican
censuses.⁹² ²²⁴

The category of indígena (indigenous) can be defined narrowly according to
linguistic criteria including only speakers of one of Mexico's 62
indigenous languages or people who self-identify as having an indigenous
cultural background. According to the National Commission for the
Development of Indigenous Peoples, in 2005 there were 10.1 million Mexicans
who spoke an indigenous language and claimed indigenous heritage,
representing 9.8% of the total population.²²⁵ Another source, the 2010
census, found that 14.86% of the population self-identified as

Mexico is home to the largest number of U.S. citizens abroad (estimated at
one million in 1999).²²⁷ The Argentine community is considered to be the
second-largest foreign community in the country (estimated somewhere
between 30,000 and 150,000).²²⁸ ²²⁹ Mexico also has a large Lebanese
community, now numbering around 400,000.²³⁰ In October 2008, Mexico agreed
to deport Cubans using the country as an entry point to the US.²³¹ Large
numbers of Central American migrants who have crossed Guatemala's western
border into Mexico are deported every year.²³² ²³³ Small numbers of illegal
immigrants come from Ecuador, Cuba, China, South Africa, and Pakistan.²³⁴

Most immigrants to the United States originate in Mexico.²³⁵ 11.6 million
Americans listed their ancestry as Mexican as of 2014.²³⁶


The large majority of Mexicans can be classified as "Mestizos", meaning in
modern Mexican usage that they identify fully neither with any indigenous
culture nor with a particular non-Mexican heritage, but rather identify as
having cultural traits and heritage incorporating elements from indigenous
and European traditions. By the deliberate efforts of post-revolutionary
governments the "Mestizo identity" was constructed as the base of the
modern Mexican national identity, through a process of cultural synthesis
referred to as mestizaje. Mexican politicians and reformers such as José
Vasconcelos and Manuel Gamio were instrumental in building a Mexican
national identity on the concept of mestizaje.²³⁷ ²³⁸ Cultural policies in
early post-revolutionary Mexico were paternalistic towards the indigenous
people, with efforts designed to "help" indigenous peoples achieve the same
level of progress as the rest of society, eventually assimilating
indigenous peoples completely to Mestizo Mexican culture, working toward
the goal of eventually solving the "Indian problem" by transforming
indigenous communities into mestizo communities.²³⁹

The term "Mestizo" is not in wide use in Mexican society today and has been
dropped as a category in population censuses; it is, however, still used in
social and cultural studies when referring to the non-indigenous part of
the Mexican population. The word has somewhat pejorative connotations and
most of the Mexican citizens who would be defined as mestizos in the
sociological literature would probably self-identify primarily as Mexicans.
In the Yucatán peninsula the word Mestizo is even used about Maya-speaking
populations living in traditional communities, because during the caste war
of the late 19th century those Maya who did not join the rebellion were
classified as mestizos.²⁴⁰ In Chiapas the word "Ladino" is used instead of

Mexicans of European descent

Main article: Mexicans of European descent

White Mexicans are Mexican citizens of full European descent.²⁴² Although
Mexico does not have a racial census, some international organizations
believe that Mexican people of Spanish or predominantly European descent
make up approximately one-sixth (16.5%) of the country's population.²¹³
Another group in Mexico, the "mestizos", also include people with varying
amounts of European ancestry, with some having a European admixture
superior to 90%.²⁴³ Because of this, the line between whites and mestizos
has become rather blurry, and the Mexican government decided to abandon
racial classifications.²⁴²

Despite that extra-official sources estimate the modern white population of
Mexico to be only 9-16%, in genetic studies Mexico consistently shows a
European admixture comparable to countries that report white populations of
52% - 77% (in the case of Chile and Costa Rica, who average 51%²⁴⁴ & 60%²⁴⁵
European admixture respectively, while studies in the general Mexican
population have found European ancestry ranging from 56%²⁴⁶ going to
60%,²⁴⁷ 64%²⁴⁸ and up to 78%²⁴⁹ ). The differences between genetic ancestry
and reported numbers could be attributed to the influence of the concept
known as "mestizaje", which was promoted by the post-revolutionary
government in an effort to create a united Mexican cultural identity with
no racial distinctions.²⁵⁰

Europeans began arriving in Mexico with the Spanish conquest of the Aztec
Empire, with the descendents of the conquistadors, along with new arrivals
from Spain formed an elite but never a majority of the population.
Intermixing would produce a mestizo group which would become the majority
by the time of Independence, but power remained firmly in the hands of the
elite, called "criollo."

While most of European or Caucasian migration into Mexico was Spanish
during the colonial period, in the 19th and 20th centuries European and
European derived populations from North and South America did immigrate to
the country. However, at its height, the total immigrant population in
Mexico never exceeded twenty percent of the total.²⁵¹ Many of these
immigrants came with money to invest and/or ties to allow them to become
prominent in business and other aspects of Mexican society. However, due to
government restrictions many of them left the country in the early 20th

Mexico's northern regions have the greatest European population and
admixture. In the northwest, the majority of the relatively small
indigenous communities remain isolated from the rest of the population, and
as for the northeast, the indigenous population was eliminated by early
European settlers, becoming the region with the highest proportion of
whites during the Spanish colonial period. However, recent immigrants from
southern Mexico have been changing, to some degree, its demographic

Indigenous peoples

Main article: Indigenous peoples of Mexico

According to the National Commission for the Development of the Indigenous
Peoples (CDI) there were 9,854,301 indigenous people reported in Mexico in
2000, which constituted 9.54% of the population in the country. The
absolute indigenous population is growing, but at a slower rate than the
rest of the population so that the percentage of indigenous peoples is
nonetheless falling.²⁵³ ²⁵⁴ ²⁵⁵

The majority of the indigenous population is concentrated in the central
and southern states. These states are generally the least developed, and
the majority of the indigenous population live in rural areas. Some
indigenous communities have a degree of autonomy under the legislation of
"usos y costumbres", which allows them to regulate some internal issues
under customary law.

According to the CDI, the states with the greatest proportion of indigenous
residents are:²⁵⁶ Yucatán, at 59%, Quintana Roo 39% and Campeche 27%,
chiefly Maya; Oaxaca with 48% of the population, the most numerous groups
being the Mixtec and Zapotec peoples; Chiapas at 28%, the majority being
Tzeltal and Tzotzil Maya; Hidalgo 24%, the majority being Otomi; Puebla
19%, and Guerrero 17%, mostly Nahua people and the states of San Luis
Potosí and Veracruz both home to a population that is 15% indigenous,
mostly from the Totonac, Nahua and Teenek (Huastec) groups.²⁵⁷

All of the indices of social development for the indigenous population are
considerably lower than the national average. In all states indigenous
people have higher infant mortality, in some states almost double of the
non-indigenous populations. Literacy rates are also much lower, with 27% of
indigenous children between 6 and 14 being illiterate compared to a
national average of 12%. The indigenous population participate in the
workforce longer than the national average, starting earlier and continuing
longer. However, 55% of the indigenous population receive less than a
minimum salary, compared to 20% for the national average. Many practice
subsistence agriculture and receive no salaries. Indigenous people also
have less access to health care and a lower quality of housing.²⁵⁷

Population genetics

A 2012 study published by the Journal of Human Genetics found the ancestry
of the Mexican mestizo population to be predominately European (65%),
followed by Native American (31%) and African (4%). The European ancestry
was prevalent in the north and west (66.7-95%) and Native American ancestry
increased in the center and southeast (37-50%), the African ancestry was
low and relatively homogeneous (0-8.8%).²⁴⁸ The states that participated in
this study were Aguascalientes, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Durango, Guerrero,
Jalisco, Oaxaca, Sinaloa, Veracruz and Yucatan.²⁵⁸ The largest amount of
chromosomes found were identified as belonging to the haplogroups from
Western Europe, East Europe and Euroasia, Siberia and the Americas and
Northern Europe with relatively smaller traces of haplogroups from Central
Asia, South-east Asia, South-central Asia, Western Asia, The Caucasus,
North Africa, Near East, East Asia, North-east Asia, South-west Asia and
The Middle East.²⁵⁹

A study by the National Institute of Genomic Medicine, Mexico reported that
Mestizo Mexicans are 58.96% European, 31.05% "Asian" (Amerindian), and
10.03% African. Sonora shows the highest European contribution (70.63%) and
Guerrero the lowest (51.98%) which also has the highest Asian contribution
(37.17%). African contribution ranges from 2.8% in Sonora to 11.13% in
Veracruz. 80% of the Mexican population was classed as mestizo (defined as
"being racially mixed in some degree").²⁶⁰

In May 2009, Mexico's National Institute of Genomic Medicine issued a
report on a genomic study of 300 mestizos from the states of Guerrero,
Sonora, Veracruz, Yucatán, Zacatecas, and Guanajuato. The study found that
the Mestizo population of these Mexican states were on average 55% of
indigenous ancestry followed by 41.8% of European, 1.8% of African, and
1.2% of East Asian ancestry.²⁶¹

The study also noted that whereas Mestizo individuals from the southern
state of Guerrero showed on average 66% of indigenous ancestry, those from
the northern state of Sonora displayed about 61.6% European ancestry. The
study found that there was an increase in indigenous ancestry as one
traveled towards to the Southern states in Mexico, while the indigenous
ancestry declined as one traveled to the Northern states in the country,
such as Sonora.²⁶¹


Main article: Languages of Mexico
See also: Mexican Spanish and List of endangered languages in Mexico

The country has the largest Spanish-speaking population in the world with
almost a third of all Spanish native speakers.²¹⁵ ²⁶²

Mexico is home to a large number of indigenous languages, spoken by some
5.4% of the population – 1.2% of the population are monolingual speakers of
an indigenous language.²⁶³ The indigenous languages with most speakers are
Nahuatl, spoken by approximately 1.45 million people,²⁶⁴ Yukatek Maya
spoken by some 750,000 people and the Mixtec²⁶⁵ and Zapotec languages²⁶⁶
each spoken by more than 400,000 people.

The National Institute of Indigenous Languages INALI recognizes 68
linguistic groups and some 364 different specific varieties of indigenous
languages.²⁶⁷ Since the promulgation of the Law of Indigenous Linguistic
Rights in 2003, these languages have had status as national languages, with
equal validity with Spanish in all the areas and contexts in which they are

In addition to the indigenous languages, other minority languages are
spoken by immigrant populations, such as the 80,000 German-speaking
Mennonites in Mexico,²⁶⁹ and 5,000 the Chipilo dialect of the Venetian
language spoken in Chipilo, Puebla.


See also: Religion in Mexico and Our Lady of Guadalupe

The 2010 census by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía
(National Institute of Statistics and Geography) gave Roman Catholicism as
the main religion, with 83% of the population, while 10% (10,924,103)
belong to other Christian denominations, including Evangelicals (5%);
Pentecostals (1.6%); other Protestant or Reformed (0.7%); Jehovah's
Witnesses (1.4%); Seventh-day Adventists (0.6%); and members of The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (0.3%).²⁷⁰ 172,891 (or less than 0.2%
of the total) belonged to other, non-Christian religions; 4.7% declared
having no religion; 2.7% were unspecified.²⁷⁰

The 92,924,489²⁷⁰ Catholics of Mexico constitute in absolute terms the
second largest Catholic community in the world, after Brazil's.²⁷¹ 47%
percent of them attend church services weekly.²⁷² The feast day of Our Lady
of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, is celebrated on December 12 and
is regarded by many Mexicans as the most important religious holiday of
their country.²⁷³

The 2010 census reported 314,932 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints,²⁷⁰ though the church in 2009 claimed to have over one
million registered members.²⁷⁴ About 25% of registered members attend a
weekly sacrament service although this can fluctuate up and down.²⁷⁵

The presence of Jews in Mexico dates back to 1521, when Hernán Cortés
conquered the Aztecs, accompanied by several Conversos.²⁷⁶ According to the
2010 census, there are 67,476 Jews in Mexico.²⁷⁰ Islam in Mexico is
practiced by a small population in the city of Torreón, Coahuila, and there
are an estimated 300 Muslims in the San Cristóbal de las Casas area in
Chiapas.²⁷⁷ ²⁷⁸ In the 2010 census 18,185 Mexicans reported belonging to an
Eastern religion,²⁷⁰ a category which includes a tiny Buddhist population.

Gender equality

The World Economic Forum 2011 Global Gender Gap Report ranked Mexico 89th
out of 135 countries for gender parity, making it one of the least gender
balanced countries in the North American region, particularly to the
disadvantage of women, who have a below average degree of political
participation and labor equality. Education and health indicators for
Mexican women were however better than the average in the study.²⁷⁹

Metropolitan areas

Main article: Metropolitan areas of Mexico

Metropolitan areas in Mexico have been traditionally defined as the group
of municipalities that heavily interact with each other, usually around a
core city.²⁸⁰ In 2004, a joint effort between CONAPO, INEGI and the
Ministry of Social Development (SEDESOL) agreed to define metropolitan
areas as either:²⁸⁰

- the group of two or more municipalities in which a city with a population
  of at least 50,000 is located whose urban area extends over the limit of
  the municipality that originally contained the core city incorporating
  either physically or under its area of direct influence other adjacent
  predominantly urban municipalities all of which have a high degree of
  social and economic integration or are relevant for urban politics and
  administration; or
- a single municipality in which a city of a population of at least one
  million is located and fully contained, (that is, it does not transcend
  the limits of a single municipality); or
- a city with a population of at least 250,000 which forms a conurbation
  with other cities in the United States.


Main article: Culture of Mexico

Mexican culture reflects the complexity of the country's history through
the blending of indigenous cultures and the culture of Spain, imparted
during Spain's 300-year colonization of Mexico. Exogenous cultural elements
have been incorporated into Mexican culture as time has passed.

The Porfirian era (el Porfiriato), in the last quarter of the 19th century
and the first decade of the 20th century, was marked by economic progress
and peace. After four decades of civil unrest and war, Mexico saw the
development of philosophy and the arts, promoted by President Díaz himself.
Since that time, as accentuated during the Mexican Revolution, cultural
identity has had its foundation in the mestizaje, of which the indigenous
(i.e. Amerindian) element is the core. In light of the various ethnicities
that formed the Mexican people, José Vasconcelos in his publication La Raza
Cósmica (The Cosmic Race) (1925) defined Mexico to be the melting pot of
all races (thus extending the definition of the mestizo) not only
biologically but culturally as well.²⁸¹


Main articles: Mexican literature and Mesoamerican literature

The literature of Mexico has its antecedents in the literatures of the
indigenous settlements of Mesoamerica. The most well known prehispanic poet
is Nezahualcoyotl. Modern Mexican literature was influenced by the concepts
of the Spanish colonialization of Mesoamerica. Outstanding colonial writers
and poets include Juan Ruiz de Alarcón and Juana Inés de la Cruz.

Other writers include Alfonso Reyes, José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi,
Ignacio Manuel Altamirano, Carlos Fuentes, Octavio Paz (Nobel Laureate),
Renato Leduc, Carlos Monsiváis, Elena Poniatowska, Mariano Azuela ("Los de
abajo") and Juan Rulfo ("Pedro Páramo"). Bruno Traven wrote "Canasta de
cuentos mexicanos" (Mexican tales basket), "El tesoro de la Sierra Madre"
(Treasure of the Sierra Madre).

Visual arts

See also: Mexican art

Post-revolutionary art in Mexico had its expression in the works of
renowned artists such as David Alfaro Siqueiros, Federico Cantú Garza,
Frida Kahlo, Juan O'Gorman, José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and Rufino
Tamayo. Diego Rivera, the most well-known figure of Mexican muralism,
painted the Man at the Crossroads at the Rockefeller Center in New York
City, a huge mural that was destroyed the next year because of the
inclusion of a portrait of Russian communist leader Lenin.²⁸² Some of
Rivera's murals are displayed at the Mexican National Palace and the Palace
of Fine Arts.

Mesoamerican architecture is mostly noted for its pyramids which are the
largest such structures outside of Ancient Egypt. Spanish Colonial
architecture is marked by the contrast between the simple, solid
construction demanded by the new environment and the Baroque ornamentation
exported from Spain. Mexico, as the center of New Spain has some of the
most renowned buildings built in this style.

Cinema and media

Main article: Cinema of Mexico
Further information: List of newspapers in Mexico

Mexican films from the Golden Age in the 1940s and 1950s are the greatest
examples of Latin American cinema, with a huge industry comparable to the
Hollywood of those years. Mexican films were exported and exhibited in all
of Latin America and Europe. Maria Candelaria (1944) by Emilio Fernández,
was one of the first films awarded a Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival
in 1946, the first time the event was held after World War II. The famous
Spanish-born director Luis Buñuel realized in Mexico, between 1947 to 1965
some of him master pieces like Los Olvidados (1949), Viridiana (1961) and
El angel exterminador (1963). Famous actors and actresses from this period
include María Félix, Pedro Infante, Dolores del Río, Jorge Negrete and the
comedian Cantinflas.

More recently, films such as Como agua para chocolate (1992), Cronos
(1993), Y tu mamá también (2001), and Pan's Labyrinth (2006) have been
successful in creating universal stories about contemporary subjects, and
were internationally recognised, as in the prestigious Cannes Film
Festival. Mexican directors Alejandro González Iñárritu (Amores perros,
Babel), Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of
Azkaban), Guillermo del Toro, Carlos Carrera (The Crime of Father Amaro),
and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga are some of the most known present-day
film makers.

Two of the major television networks based in Mexico are Televisa and TV
Azteca. Televisa is also the largest producer of Spanish-language content
in the world and also the world's largest Spanish-language media
network.²⁸³ Grupo Multimedios is another media conglomerate with
Spanish-language broadcasting in Mexico, Spain, and the United States. The
telenovelas are very traditional in Mexico and are translated to many
languages and seen all over the world with renowned names like Verónica
Castro, Lucía Méndez, Lucero, and Thalía.


Main article: Music of Mexico
See also: List of Mexican composers of classical music

Mexican society enjoys a vast array of music genres, showing the diversity
of Mexican culture. Traditional music includes Mariachi, Banda, Norteño,
Ranchera and Corridos; on an every-day basis most Mexicans listen to
contemporary music such as pop, rock, etc. in both English and Spanish.
Mexico has the largest media industry in Latin America, producing Mexican
artists who are famous in Central and South America and parts of Europe,
especially Spain.

Some well-known Mexican singers are Thalía, Luis Miguel, Alejandro
Fernández, Julieta Venegas and Paulina Rubio. Mexican singers of
traditional music are: Lila Downs, Susana Harp, Jaramar, GEO Meneses and
Alejandra Robles. Popular groups are Café Tacuba, Molotov and Maná, among
others. Since the early years of the 2000s (decade), Mexican rock has seen
widespread growth both domesticly and internationally.

According to the Sistema Nacional de Fomento Musical, there are between 120
and 140 youth orchestras affiliated to this federal agency from all federal
states. Some states, through their state agencies in charge of culture and
the arts—Ministry or Secretary or Institute or Council of Culture, in some
cases Secretary of Education or the State University—sponsor the activities
of a professional Symphony Orchestra or Philharmonic Orchestra so all
citizens can have access to this artistic expression from the field of
classical music. Mexico City is the most intense hub of this activity
hosting 12 professional orchestras sponsored by different agencies such as
the National Institute of Fine Arts, the Secretary of Culture of the
Federal District, The National University, the National Polytechnic
Institute, a Delegación Política (Coyoacán) and very few are a kind of
private ventures.


Main article: Mexican cuisine

Mexican cuisine is known for its intense and varied flavors, colorful
decoration, and variety of spices. Most of today's Mexican food is based on
pre-Columbian traditions, including Aztec and Maya, combined with culinary
trends introduced by Spanish colonists.

The conquistadores eventually combined their imported diet of rice, beef,
pork, chicken, wine, garlic and onions with the native pre-Columbian food,
including maize, tomato, vanilla, avocado, guava, papaya, pineapple, chili
pepper, beans, squash, sweet potato, peanut, and turkey.

Mexican food varies by region, because of local climate and geography and
ethnic differences among the indigenous inhabitants and because these
different populations were influenced by the Spaniards in varying degrees.
The north of Mexico is known for its beef, goat and ostrich production and
meat dishes, in particular the well-known Arrachera cut.

Central Mexico's cuisine is largely made up of influences from the rest of
the country, but also has its authentics, such as barbacoa, pozole, menudo,
tamales, and carnitas.

Southeastern Mexico, on the other hand, is known for its spicy vegetable
and chicken-based dishes. The cuisine of Southeastern Mexico also has quite
a bit of Caribbean influence, given its geographical location. Veal is
common in the Yucatan. Seafood is commonly prepared in the states that
border the Pacific Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, the latter having a famous
reputation for its fish dishes, in particular à la veracruzana.

In modern times, other cuisines of the world have become very popular in
Mexico, thus adopting a Mexican fusion. For example, sushi in Mexico is
often made with a variety of sauces based on mango or tamarind, and very
often served with serrano-chili-blended soy sauce, or complemented with
vinegar, habanero and chipotle peppers

The most internationally recognized dishes include chocolate, tacos,
quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos, tamales and mole among others. Regional
dishes include mole poblano, chiles en nogada and chalupas from Puebla;
cabrito and machaca from Monterrey, cochinita pibil from Yucatán, Tlayudas
from Oaxaca, as well as barbacoa, chilaquiles, milanesas, and many others.


Main article: Sport in Mexico

Mexico City hosted the XIX Olympic Games in 1968, making it the first Latin
American city to do so.²⁸⁵ The country has also hosted the FIFA World Cup
twice, in 1970 and 1986.²⁸⁶

Mexico's most popular sport is association football (soccer). It is
commonly believed that football was introduced in Mexico by Cornish miners
at the end of the 19th century. By 1902 a five-team league had emerged with
a strong British influence.²⁸⁷ ²⁸⁸ Mexico's top clubs are Guadalajara with
11 championships, América with 11 and Toluca with 10.²⁸⁹ Antonio Carbajal
was the first player to appear in five World Cups,²⁹⁰ and Hugo Sánchez was
named best CONCACAF player of the 20th century by IFFHS.²⁹¹

The Mexican professional baseball league is named the Liga Mexicana de
Beisbol. While usually not as strong as the United States, the Caribbean
countries and Japan, Mexico has nonetheless achieved several international
baseball titles. Mexico has had several players signed by Major League
teams, the most famous of them being Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela.

In 2013, Mexico's basketball team won the Americas Basketball Championship
and qualified for the 2014 Basketball World Cup where it reached the
playoffs. Because of these achievements the country earned the hosting
rights for the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship.²⁹²

Bullfighting is a popular sport in the country, and almost all large cities
have bullrings. Plaza México in Mexico City, is the largest bullring in the
world, which seats 55,000 people. Professional wrestling (or Lucha libre in
Spanish) is a major crowd draw with national promotions such as AAA, LLL,
CMLL and others.

Mexico is an international power in professional boxing (at the amateur
level, several Olympic boxing medals have also been won by Mexico). Vicente
Saldivar, Rubén Olivares, Salvador Sánchez, Julio César Chávez, Ricardo
Lopez and Erik Morales are but a few Mexican fighters who have been ranked
among the best of all time.²⁹³

Notable Mexican athletes include golfer Lorena Ochoa, who was ranked first
in the LPGA world rankings prior to her retirement,²⁹⁴ Ana Guevara, former
world champion of the 400 metres (1,300 ft) and Olympic subchampion in
Athens 2004, and Fernando Platas, a numerous Olympic medal winning diver.

Health care

Main article: Health care in Mexico

Since the early 1990s, Mexico entered a transitional stage in the health of
its population and some indicators such as mortality patterns are identical
to those found in highly developed countries like Germany or Japan.²⁹⁵
Mexico's medical infrastructure is highly rated for the most part and is
usually excellent in major cities,²⁹⁶ ²⁹⁷ but rural communities still lack
equipment for advanced medical procedures, forcing patients in those
locations to travel to the closest urban areas to get specialized medical
care.⁹² Social determinants of health can be used to evaluate the state of
health in Mexico.

State-funded institutions such as Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS)
and the Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers
(ISSSTE) play a major role in health and social security. Private health
services are also very important and account for 13% of all medical units
in the country.²⁹⁸

Medical training is done mostly at public universities with much
specializations done in vocational or internship settings. Some public
universities in Mexico, such as the University of Guadalajara, have signed
agreements with the U.S. to receive and train American students in
Medicine. Health care costs in private institutions and prescription drugs
in Mexico are on average lower than that of its North American economic


Main article: Education in Mexico

In 2004, the literacy rate was at 97%²⁹⁹ for youth under the age of 14 and
91% for people over 15,³⁰⁰ placing Mexico at the 24th place in the world
rank accordingly to UNESCO.³⁰¹

The National Autonomous University of Mexico ranks 190th place in the Top
200 World University Ranking published by The Times Higher Education
Supplement in 2009.³⁰² Private business schools also stand out in
international rankings. IPADE and EGADE, the business schools of
Universidad Panamericana and of Monterrey Institute of Technology and
Higher Education respectively, were ranked in the top 10 in a survey
conducted by The Wall Street Journal among recruiters outside the United

See also

- Index of Mexico-related articles
- Outline of Mexico
- Mexico – Wikipedia book


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- Camp, Roderic A. Politics in Mexico: Democratic Consolidation Or Decline?
  (Oxford University Press, 2014)
- Davis, Diane. Urban leviathan: Mexico City in the twentieth century
  (Temple University Press, 2010)
- Domínguez, Jorge I. "The Scholarly Study of Mexican Politics," Mexican
  Studies / Estudios Mexicanos (2004) 20#2 pp 377–410.
- Edmonds-Poli, Emily, and David Shirk. Contemporary Mexican Politics
  (Rowman and Littlefield 2009)
- Kirkwood, Burton. The History of Mexico (Greenwood, 2000) online edition
- Krauze, Enrique (1998). Mexico: Biography of Power: A history of Modern
  Mexico 1810–1996. New York: Harper Perennial. p. 896. ISBN 0-06-092917-0.
- Meyer, Michael C.; Beezley, William H., eds. (2000). The Oxford History
  of Mexico. Oxford University Press. p. 736. ISBN 0-19-511228-8.
- Levy, Santiago. Good intentions, bad outcomes: Social policy,
  informality, and economic growth in Mexico (Brookings Institution Press,
- Meyer, Michael C., William L. Sherman, and Susan M. Deeds. The Course of
  Mexican History (7th ed. Oxford U.P., 2002) online edition
- Russell, Philip (2010). The history of Mexico: from pre-conquest to
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- Tannenbaum, Frank. Mexico: the struggle for peace and bread (2013)
- Werner, Michael S. ed. Encyclopedia of Mexico: History, Society & Culture
  (2 vol 1997) 1440pp online edition
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    selection of unrevised articles

External links

- The Presidency of Mexico
- Mexico Tourism Official Website | VisitMexico
- Mexico entry at The World Factbook
- Mexico from UCB Libraries GovPubs
- Mexico at DMOZ
- Mexico from the BBC News
- Mexico at Encyclopædia Britannica
- Wikimedia Atlas of Mexico
- Mexico travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Key Development Forecasts for Mexico from International Futures
- Mexico by World Painters.

Mole sauce

Mole (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈmole]; Spanish, from Nahuatl mōlli, "sauce")
is the generic name for a number of sauces originally used in Mexican
cuisine, as well as for dishes based on these sauces. Outside of Mexico, it
often refers specifically to mole poblano. In contemporary Mexico, the term
is used for a number of sauces, some quite dissimilar, including black,
red, yellow, Colorado (another name for red), green, almendrado, and


Three states in Mexico claim to be the origin of mole: Puebla, Oaxaca, and
Tlaxcala.¹ The states with the best known moles are Puebla and Oaxaca, but
other regions in Mexico also make various types of mole sauces.²

Moles come in various flavors and ingredients, with chili peppers as the
common factor. However, the classic mole version is the variety called mole
poblano, which is a dark red or brown sauce served over meat. The dish has
become a culinary symbol of Mexico's mestizaje, or mixed indigenous and
European heritage, both for the types of ingredients it contains as well as
the legends surrounding its origin.²

A common legend of its creation takes place at the Convent of Santa Rosa in
Puebla early in the colonial period. Upon hearing that the archbishop was
going to visit, the convent nuns went into a panic because they were poor
and had almost nothing to prepare. The nuns prayed and brought together the
little bits of what they did have, including chili peppers, spices, day-old
bread, nuts, and a little chocolate. They killed an old turkey, cooked it
and put the sauce on top; the archbishop loved it, when the nun was asked
the name of the dish, she replied, "I made a Mole". Mole was the ancient
word for mix, now this word mostly refers to the dish, and rarely is used
to signify other kinds of mix in Spanish .² ³

A similar version of the story says that monk Fray Pascual invented the
dish, again to serve the archbishop of Puebla. In this version, spices were
knocked over or blown over into pots in which turkeys were cooking.² ⁴
Other versions of the story substitute the viceroy of New Spain, such as
Juan de Palafox y Mendoza in place of the archbishop.⁵

Modern mole is a mixture of ingredients from North America, Europe and
Africa, making it the first international dish created in the Americas.⁶
Its base, however, is indigenous. Nahuatl speakers had a preparation they
called mōlli (/ˈmoːlːi/), meaning sauce, or chīlmōlli (/t͡ʃiːlˈmoːlːi/) for
chili sauce.⁷ ⁸ ⁹ In the book General History of the Things of New Spain,
Bernardino de Sahagún says that mollis were used in a number of dishes
including those for fish, game and vegetables.¹⁰ Theories about the origins
of mole have supposed that it was something imposed upon the natives or
that it was the product of the baroque artistry of Puebla, but there is not
enough evidence for definitive answers.¹¹

While chili pepper sauces existed in pre-Hispanic Mexico, the complicated
moles of today did not. They did not contain chocolate, which was used as a
beverage, and in all of the writings of Sahagún, there is no mention at all
of it being used to flavor food.¹² Most likely what occurred was a gradual
modification of the original molli sauce, adding more and different
ingredients depending on the location. This diversified the resulting
sauces into various types.⁸ ⁹ Ingredients that have been added into moles
include nuts, peanuts, pine nuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, squash
seeds, cilantro, seedless grapes, plantains, garlic, onion, cinnamon,
chocolate. What remained the same was the use of chili peppers, especially
ancho, pasilla, mulato and chipotle, and the consistency of the sauce.⁸ The
true story of how mole developed may never be truly known as the first
recipes did not appear until after the Mexican War of Independence in 1810.
The Nahuatl origin of the name probably defines its Mesoamerican origin.²

Preparation and consumption

All mole preparations begin with one or more types of chili pepper.¹³ The
classic moles of central Mexico and Oaxaca, such as mole poblano and mole
negro, include two or more of the following types: ancho, pasilla, mulato
and chipotle.⁹ Other ingredients can include black pepper, achiote, guaje
(Leucaena leucocephala), cumin, cloves, anise, tomatoes, tomatillos,
garlic, sesame seeds, dried fruit, hoja santa and many others.⁹ ¹⁰ ¹³ Mole
poblano has an average of 20 ingredients; mole almendrado has an average of
26, and Oaxacan moles can have over 30.⁴ ⁸ ¹⁴ Chocolate, if used, is added
at the end of cooking.¹³ According to Rick Bayless, the ingredients of mole
can be grouped into five distinct classes: chiles, sour (tomatillos), sweet
(dried fruits and sugar), spices, and thickeners (nuts and tortillas).¹⁵

The ingredients are roasted and ground into a fine powder or paste. This
roasting and grinding process is extremely laborious and takes at least a
day to accomplish by hand.¹⁶ Traditionally, this work was shared by several
generations of women in the family, but after the arrival of electric
mills, it became more common to take the ingredients to be ground.⁴ ¹⁷ Many
families have their own varieties of mole passed down for generations, with
their preparation reserved for special events in large batches.⁴ ⁹

The resulting powder or paste is mixed with water, or more often broth, and
simmered until it is pungent and very thick.¹³ It is most often prepared in
a cazuela ([kaˈswela]) or a thick heavy clay cauldron and stirred almost
constantly to prevent burning.² The thickness of the sauce has prompted
some, such as Mexican-food authority Patricia Quintana, to claim it is too
substantial to be called a sauce. However, like a sauce, it is always
served over something and never eaten alone. Mole poblano is most
traditionally served with turkey, but it and many others are served with
chicken and some with pork.² ³ ⁴

A number of mole powders and pastes can be prepared ahead of time and sold,
such as mole poblano, mole negro and mole colorado.² Many markets in Mexico
sell mole pastes and powders in packages or by the kilogram.¹⁶ These mole
mixes are heavy with a strong odor,³ so much so that security agents at the
Mexico City airport once admitted that mole can register a positive when
they check for explosives.¹

Prepared mole sauce will keep for about three days in the refrigerator and
it freezes well. The paste will keep six months in the refrigerator and
about a year in the freezer. However, leftover sauce is often used for the
making of tamales and enchiladas (often called enmoladas) or over eggs at
brunch.² ¹¹

The term mole is most often associated with thick, dark, brownish-red
sauces, but the term is really more general than that. Mole can be anything
from dark and thick to soup-like and bright green, with red, yellow and
black moles each claiming fans in different regions.²



Mole poblano is the best known of all mole varieties and has been ranked as
number one of "typical" Mexican dishes.¹⁴ It has also been called the
"national dish" of Mexico.² The state of Puebla is identified with mole
poblano.¹⁸ Mole poblano has been described as an ancient dish.¹⁹

Mole poblano contains about 20 ingredients, including chili peppers and
chocolate, which works to counteract the heat of the chili peppers,¹⁴ but
the chocolate does not dominate. It helps give the sauce its dark color,
but this is also provided by the mulato peppers.³ This sauce is most often
served over turkey at weddings, birthdays and baptisms, or at Christmas
with romero over shrimp cakes.¹⁴ Another time when the sauce is prominent
is Cinco de Mayo. While this holiday is not celebrated much in the rest of
Mexico, it is a major celebration in Puebla.²


The state of Oaxaca is large and very mountainous with various indigenous
ethnicities and microclimates, making for a number of regional variations
in the food. The state is called "the land of the seven moles", with these
being named mole negro, colorado, amarillo, verde, chichilo, coloradito,
and mancha manteles (or tablecloth stainer), all differently colored and
flavored, based on the use of distinctive chilis and herbs.²⁰ The last,
mancha manteles, is really a chicken and fruit stew, and although Oaxaca
claims its as the seventh mole, some, such as Susan Trilling in her book My
Search for the Seventh Mole: A Story with Recipes from Oaxaca, Mexico,
question whether it is a true mole.⁴ In addition, those from Puebla claim
this dish as their own.²

The best known of Oaxaca's moles is mole negro, which is darker than mole
poblano and just as thick and rich. It also includes chocolate, as well as
chili peppers, onions, garlic and more, but what makes it distinct is the
addition of a plant called hoja santa. It is the most complex and difficult
to make of the sauces. Mole coloradito is another popular preparation,
often simplified and sold as an enchilada sauce.¹⁶ Mole verde is always
made fresh with herbs native to the region.²

San Pedro Atocpan

Until the mid-20th century, San Pedro Atocpan, located in the mountains
south of Mexico City proper (but still part of the Federal District) was
similar to the other agricultural communities surrounding it, growing corn,
fava beans and nopales (prickly pear cactus). Electricity and other modern
conveniences arrived late, allowing the community to retain more of its
traditions later.¹¹ In 1940, Father Damian Sartes San Roman came to the
parish of San Pedro Atocpan and saw the potential in marketing the product
to raise living standards in the area.¹⁰ At that time, only four
neighborhoods prepared mole for town festivals: Panchimalco, Ocotitla,
Nuztla and Tula, but those who prepared it were generally prominent women
in their communities. In the 1940s, one family made the long trek to Mexico
City proper to sell some of their mole at the La Merced Market. It was
successful, but they brought with them only two kilograms since it was made
by hand grinding the ingredients on a metate.²¹ The arrival of electricity
in the late 1940s made the use of a powered mill possible, and better roads
made the trek to the city easier.¹¹ ²¹ Some of these mills were bought or
financed by Father Sartes, but the mole was still cooked in a clay pot over
a wood fire. In the 1970s, he was part of a small group which became a
cooperative, which constructed the Las Cazuelas restaurant. This is where
the first Mole Exhibition was held in 1978.¹⁰

The care and tradition that went into the moles from there made them
popular and made the town famous in the Mexico City area. Today, San Pedro
Atocpan produces 60% of the moles consumed in Mexico and 89% of the moles
consumed in Mexico City,¹¹ with a total estimated production of between
28,000 and 30,000 tons each year.⁵ Ninety-two percent of the town's
population makes a living preparing mole powders and pastes, all in family
businesses. Prices for mole run between 80 and 160 pesos per kilogram,
depending on the maker and the type. A number of moles are made in the
town, but mole almendrado (mole with almonds) is signature to the area.⁸
Producers in Atocpan have their own versions of the various types of mole,
often keeping recipes strictly secret.⁸ The production in the town has
become very competitive, especially in quality. Twenty two brands are
permitted to print "Made in San Pedro Atocpan" on their labels.¹⁰


Various types of mole sauces can be found throughout the center of Mexico
toward the south.²² There is the mole amarillito of the southeast, the mole
coloradito of the Valley of Mexico (as opposed to the mole of the same name
in Oaxaca), the mole prieto of Tlaxcala, mole ranchero from Morelos, and
more.⁹ Taxco has a pink version of mole, called mole rosa. The spiciness of
this version is very mild.²³ The word guacamole (avocado sauce) is derived
from "guaca" (from "aguacate" or avocado) and the word mole.²⁴

Pipian is a type of mole which mostly consists of ground squash seeds. It
does not contain chocolate, but generally contains tomatillos, hoja santa,
chili peppers, garlic and onion to give it a green hue. There is also a red
version which combines the squash seeds with peanuts, red jalapeños or
chipotle and sesame seeds.¹ ²⁰ Like other moles, it is cooked with broth
and then served with poultry and pork, and sometimes with fish or

Mole verde can refer to a number of different sauces that all finished with
a green color. Most of these must be made fresh and not from a mix, as they
require a number of fresh herbs and other ingredients.² Another version
comes from Veracruz, where pork is covered in a sauce made from ground
peanuts, tomatillos and cilantro, with the last two giving the sauce its
green color.²⁵

While not moles in the classic sense, there are some dishes that use the
term in their name. Mole de olla is a stew made with beef and vegetables
which contains guajillo and ancho chiles as well as number of other
ingredients found in moles.¹¹ ²⁶ Huatzmole is a mole sauce variation which
is soupy, often served over goat meat (cabrito).¹

In Guatemala, mole is a dessert sauce made with chocolate, dried chillis,
tomatoes and pumpkin seeds. It is often poured over fried plantains, and is
served with sesame seeds on top.


Mole is one of the most representative dishes of Mexico, especially for
major celebrations.⁵ ²⁷ Ninety-nine percent of Mexicans have tried at least
one type of mole.¹⁴ The dish enjoys its greatest popularity in central and
southern Mexico, but simpler versions of mole poblano did make their way
north. However, northern versions are far less complex and generally used
to make enchiladas.²²

The consumption of mole is strongly associated with celebrations. In
Mexico, to say "to go to a mole" (ir a un mole) means to go to a wedding.¹
Mole has a strong flavor, especially the dark ones and is considered to be
an acquired taste for most.¹ ²⁰ This has spawned another saying, "en su
mero mole", which means something like "one's cup of tea".¹

To promote their regional versions of the sauce, a number of places host
festivals dedicated to it. The Feria Nacional del Mole (National Festival
of Mole) was begun in 1977 in San Pedro Atocpan, and is held each year in
October. It began outside the town, in the small community of
Yenhuitlalpan, in May. The four restaurants there decided to take advantage
of the festival of the Señor de las Misericordias (Lord of the Mercies) to
promote their moles. Despite their success, a number in the village did not
like that they were using a religious festival for commercial ends, so a
separate mole festival was created for October.⁵ Today, 37 restaurants and
mole producers participate in the event. The most popular variety is the
mole almendrado. Originally, the October version of the fair was held in
the town proper, but after it became too big, it was moved to prepared
fairgrounds outside along the highway.¹⁰

The city of Puebla also holds an annual mole festival, whose proceeds are
shared among the Santa Rosa, Santa Inés and Santa Catarina convents.²⁰ The
world's record for largest pot of mole was broken at the city's 2005
festival. The pot was 1.4 meters in diameter at the base, 1.9 meters high,
with a diameter of 2.5 meters at the top. Four hundred people participated
in its preparation, using 800 kilos of mole paste, 2,500 kilos of chicken,
500 kilos of tortillas and 1,600 kilos of broth. The resulting food fed
11,000 people.¹⁸

The women of Santa María Magdalena in Querétaro have been locally known for
their mole for about 100 years. In 1993, they decided to hold a contest for
the best mole. This was the beginning of the Feria del Mole y Tortilla
(Mole and Tortilla Festival), which has been held every year since then. It
still features a mole cook-off and attracts hundreds of visitors from the
state.¹⁷ The community of Coatepec de Morelos in the municipality of
Zitácuaro, Michoacán holds an annual Feria de Mole in April.²⁸

Despite its popularity within Mexico, mole is relatively unknown outside
the country, even in the United States, where Mexican food is readily
available.¹¹ ²⁷ ²⁹ Chicago has an annual mole festival for Mexican
immigrants at the Universidad Popular community center. The event is a
cooking contest which had over 40 entries, with the winner taking away
US$500.³⁰ Several brands of mole paste are available in the United States
and can be found online.¹¹

While mole has traditionally been eaten by all levels of Mexican society,
especially at celebrations, the upper classes have begun to stop preparing
and consuming the dish. According to one survey of upper-class housewives
between 30 and 50 years of age, 95% had never cooked it from scratch. They
had only eaten it at home at their children's requests after hearing about
it. This is in contrast to their mothers and grandmothers for whom mole
symbolized being Mexican. The dish is being less seen in the traditional
celebrations, as well. The problem is that those in this stratum of society
have come to prefer foreign foods.⁶ The owners of La California, a mole
producer in Guanajuato, state it is harder to market regional mole in
Mexico than in the exterior. They say that many in Mexico do not consider
it a gourmet product, or something that can be consumed with wine.³¹ In
Mexico, the preferences of the upper classes often eventually are copied in
the lower classes. Some people, such as Lula Bertrán of the Círculo
Mexicano de Arte Culinario, see this as a warning sign for the dish.⁶


[1] Manuela Astasio (August 18, 2010). "Mole: platillo mexicano con mucha
  historia" [Mole:Mexican dish with much history] (in Spanish). Impresiones
  Latinas. Retrieved August 20, 2010.
[2] Karen Hursh Graber (January 1, 2003). "Demystifying Mole, México's
  National Dish". MexConnect. Retrieved August 20, 2010.
[3] Hall, Phil (March 19, 2008). "Holy Mole". The Guardian (London).
  Retrieved August 20, 2010.
[4] "Mole Poblano: Mexico's National Food Dish". MexOnline. Retrieved
  August 20, 2010.
[5] Bautista S., Karla (2008-03-12). "Mole de San Pedro Atocpan tradición
  ancestral de México" (in Spanish). Cuautla, Morelos: El Sol de Cuautla.
  Retrieved May 30, 2009.
[6] "El mole, en peligro" [Mole in danger]. El Siglo de Torreón (in
  Spanish) (Torreon, Mexico). November 7, 2004. Retrieved August 20, 2010.
[7] Nahuatl Dictionary. (1997). Wired Humanities Project. University of
  Oregon. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from link
[8] Quintero M., Josefina (2007-09-23). "92% de la población se dedica a la
  preparación y venta del mole" (in Spanish). Mexico City: La Jornada.
  Retrieved May 30, 2009.
[9] "Mil y un maneras de saborear el mole" [1001 ways to savor mole] (in
  Spanish). Mexico: Terra. Retrieved August 20, 2010.
[10] Adriana Duran (October 4, 2002). "Llega la Feria del Mole" [Festival
  of Mole arrives]. Reforma (in Spanish) (Mexico City). p. 10.
[11] Karen Hursh Graber (October 1, 2008). "October in Actopan: Mexico's
  National Mole Festival". MexConnect. Retrieved August 20, 2010.
[12] Coe, Sophie D.; Michael D. Coe (1996). The True History of Chocolate.
  London: Thames and Hudson. pp. 216–217. ISBN 978-0-500-01693-0.
[13] "Fare of the County; Blending the flavors of Mexican history". New
  York Times (New York, NY). March 28, 1982. p. A16.
[14] "El mole poblano...platillo típico de México" [Mole poblano, typical
  dish of Mexico]. El Siglo de Torreon (in Spanish) (Torreon, Mexico).
  December 23, 2006. Retrieved August 20, 2010.
[15] "Holy Mole: Mexico City". Mexico: One Plate at a Time with Rick
  Bayless (22)
[16] Nate Cavalieri (August 10, 2010). "Mexico's ultimate secret sauce".
  Lonely Planet. Retrieved August 20, 2010.
[17] Leticia Bravo Zavala (July 23, 2010). "En Querétaro, cientos
  disfrutaron de la Feria del Mole y la Tortilla" [In Queretaro, hundreds
  enjoy the Festival of Mole and Tortillas]. Diario Rotativo (in Spanish)
  (Queretero). Retrieved August 20, 2010.
[18] Cristina Ruiz (May 13, 2005). "Cazuela de mole para récord Guiness"
  [Pot of mole for the Guinness record]. Noticieros Televisa (in Spanish)
  (Mexico City). Retrieved August 20, 2010.
[19] Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery, 1986. p. 99.
[20] Greg Britt (July 2005). "Perfect Mole in Puebla". The Herald Mexico
  (Banderas News).
[21] "Mole almendrado un platillo que transformó la vida de un pueblo." (in
  Spanish). Retrieved May 30, 2009.
[22] Jamison, Cheryl Alters; Bill Jamison (1995). The Border Cookbook.
  Boston, MA: Harvard Common Press. p. 294. ISBN 1-55832-102-0.
[23] "Mole rosa y agua de bugambilia" [Pink Mole and Bouganvilla Water] (in
  Spanish). Univision. May 11, 2010. Retrieved August 20, 2010.
[24] Sauers, Diza. "Holy Mole". Tucson Weekly. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
[25] Kennedy, Diana (1990). Mexican Regional Cooking. New York: Harper
  Perennial. pp. 49–50. ISBN 0-06-092069-6.
[26] "Prepara un rico 'mole de olla'" [Prepare a delicious mole de olla]
  (in Spanish). Mexico City: Terra. July 7, 2010. Retrieved August 20,
[27] Howard LaFranchi (February 2, 1995). "Salsa Is Hot, but Mexicans Say
  Ole to Mole – The most-celebrated dish south of the border is virtually
  unknown in the states; [All 02/02/95 Edition]". Christian Science Monitor
  (Boston, MA). p. 14.
[28] "11va. Feria Del Mole San Pancho" [11th Festival of Mole San Pancho]
  (in Spanish). Michoacan: Government of Michoacàn. Retrieved August 20,
[29] Tim Johnson. "Holy mole! The sauce Mexicans love (you may, too)".
  McClatchy DC (Washington DC). Retrieved May 14, 2014.
[30] "Feria del Mole lleva el sabor de México a hispanos de Chicago"
  [Festival of Mole brings taste of Mexico to Hispanics of Chicago]. El
  Universal (in Spanish) (Mexico City). August 3, 2009. Retrieved August
  20, 2010.
[31] "Las mujeres y el mole" [Women and mole]. El Universal (in Spanish)
  (Mexico City). June 7, 2010. Retrieved August 20, 2010.

Mulato pepper

The mulato pepper (Capsicum annuum) is a mild to medium chili pepper,
closely related to the poblano (ancho), and usually sold dried. Mexican
mulato chiles are part of the famous "trinity" used in mole, as well as
other Mexican sauces and stews. The mulato's color while growing is dark
green, maturing to red or brown. The dried mulato is flat and wrinkled, and
always brownish-black in color. The average length and width of the mulato
is 10 cm and 5 cm, respectively. Its shape is wide at the top, tapering to
a blunt point.

The mulato has been described as tasting somewhat like chocolate or
licorice, with undertones of cherry and tobacco. Its heat rating is 2,500
to 3,000 on the Scoville scale.

External links

- Chilli Pantry


This article is about the spice. For other uses, see Paprika

Paprika is a spice made from air-dried fruits of the chili pepper family of
the species Capsicum annuum. Although paprika is often associated with
Hungarian cuisine, the chilies from which it is made are native to the New
World. Spain and Portugal introduced C. annuum to the Old World from the
Americas.¹ Spanish pimentón, as it is known there, is often smoked, giving
it a unique, earthy flavor.² ³ The seasoning is also used to add color and
flavor to many types of dishes in the cuisines of Turkey, Spain, Portugal,
Greece, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Morocco,
and South Africa.

The use of paprika expanded from Iberia throughout Africa and Asia,⁴ and
ultimately reached Central Europe through the Balkans, which were under
Ottoman rule, explaining the Hungarian origin of the modern English term.
In Spanish, paprika has been known as pimentón since the 1500s, when it
became a typical ingredient of the western region of Extremadura.⁵ Despite
its presence in Central Europe since the beginning of Ottoman conquests, it
did not become popular in Hungary until the late 19th century.⁶

Central European paprika was hot until the 1920s, when a Szeged breeder
found one plant that produced sweet fruit. This was grafted onto other
plants.⁷ Nowadays, paprika can range from mild to hot, and flavors also
vary from country to country, but almost all the plants grown produce the
sweet variety.⁷ The sweet paprika is mostly pericarp with more than half of
the seeds removed, whereas hot paprika contains some seeds, placentas,
calyces, and stalks.⁵

In many European languages, the word paprika also or only refers to the
Capsicum fruit itself.

Etymology and history

The plant that makes the Hungarian version of the spice was grown from 1529
by the Turks at Buda⁸ (now part of the capital of Hungary, Budapest). The
first recorded use of the word "paprika" in English is from 1896.⁸ It came
from the Hungarian word paprika, which was a diminutive of the Serbian and
Croatian word papar (meaning "pepper"),⁹ which in turn came from the Latin
piper or modern Greek piperi.⁸ Similar words, peperke, piperke, and
paparka, are used in various other Slavic languages in the Balkans for bell

The two Spanish varieties of paprika, known in Spain as pimentón come from
the Comarca de La Vera in Cáceres province and a variety from Murcia
region, both of which were introduced from the Americas, where they
originated, by local monks some time in the 1500s.

The word "paprika" entered a large number of languages, in many cases
probably via German.¹⁰ Many European languages use a similar word, while
examples from other languages include the Hebrew paprika [פפריקה] and the
Japanese papurika [パプリカ].¹⁰


Paprika is produced in places including Hungary, Serbia, Spain, Macedonia,
and some regions of the United States.¹¹ It is used as an ingredient in a
broad variety of dishes throughout the world. It is principally used to
season and color rices, stews, and soups, such as goulash, and in the
preparation of sausages as an ingredient mixed with meats and other spices.
In the United States, paprika is frequently sprinkled on foods as a
garnish, but the flavor is more effectively produced by heating it gently
in oil.¹²

Spanish paprika (pimentón) is available in three versions — mild (pimentón
dulce), moderately spicy (pimentón agridulce), and very spicy (pimentón
picante). Some Spanish paprika, including pimentón de la Vera has a
distinct smoky flavor and aroma, as it is dried by smoking, typically using
oak wood.¹³

Hungary is a major source of commonly used paprika. It is available in
grades ranging as:

- Special quality (különleges) the mildest, very sweet with a deep bright
  red color
- Delicate (csípősmentes csemege) – color from light to dark red, a mild
  paprika with a rich flavor
- Exquisite delicate (csemegepaprika) – similar to delicate, but more
- Pungent exquisite delicate (csípős csemege, pikáns) – an even more
  pungent version of delicate
- Rose (rózsa) – pale red in color with strong aroma and mild pungency
- Noble sweet (Édesnemes) – the most commonly exported paprika; bright red
  and slightly pungent
- Half-sweet (félédes) – a blend of mild and pungent paprikas; medium
- Strong (erős) – light brown in color, the spiciest paprika¹⁴

Hungarian paprika is often specified in recipes, because it is unique. It
is bright red and said to be sweeter than the same paprika grown in other
soils and climates. Other paprika types have their unique niche, so it is
important to use the type of paprika specified in recipes (if specified),
unless it is used in small quantities. In "paprikash" (paprika gravy, a
combination of broth, paprika, and sour cream), paprika is used by the
tablespoonful. In such instances, Hungarian paprika is preferred.

"The Hungarian varieties are more robust and considered superior. The
Spanish varieties are sweeter and milder. Most tables in Hungary are set
with salt and hot paprika (not black pepper) shakers. One particular
variety, the 'rose', known for its sweet aroma and brilliant color, is
prized above all others. Hungarian agricultural authorities fiercely guard
their plants and seeds and twice as much acreage is devoted to peppers as
any other crop."¹⁵

"Due to the favourable climate and geographical conditions, Hungarian
paprika has a bright red colour and a distinctive rich flavour that allowed
Hungary to became one of the leading paprika producers in the world ...
Kalocsa and Szeged in the southern part of Hungary are the heart of paprika
production in Hungary. These regions have the highest amount of sunny hours
a year and paprika plants need lots of sunshine to get ripe and sweet."¹⁶

The Netherlands is a major production and distribution source of paprika,
as well, especially grown in greenhouses.

In Moroccan cuisine, paprika (tahmira) is usually found augmented by the
addition of a small amount of olive oil blended into it.

Paprika can also be used with henna to bring a reddish tint to hair when
coloring it. Paprika powder can be added to henna powder when prepared at

The color of paprika is primarily due to the xanthophyll carotenoid


According to the USDA, 1 tbsp (6.8 g) of paprika has this nutritional

- Calories: 19
- Fat: 0.88 g
- Carbohydrates: 3.67 g
- Fiber: 2.4 g
- Protein: 0.96 g

See also

- Ajvar
- Cayenne pepper
- Crushed red pepper
- List of Capsicum cultivars
- List of smoked foods
- Paprika Tap de Cortí
- Pimento


[1] Emmons, Didi, Vegetarian Planet: 350 Big-Flavor Recipes for
  Out-Of-This-World Food Every Day, p. 437
[2] Simply Bill - Bill Granger. p. 49.
[3] Raising the Bar: Better Drinks Better Entertaining - Nick Mautone. p.
[4] Peppers: The Domesticated Capsicums - Google Books.
  Retrieved on September 20, 2013.
[5] Peppers: The Domesticated Capsicums, pp. 5 and 73
[6] The Glutton's Glossary: A Dictionary of Food and Drink Terms, p. 205
[7] Paprika: A Spicy Memoir from Hungary, p. 202
[8] "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved November 4,
[9] A Magyar Nyelv Történeti-Etimológiai Szótára (Historical-Etymological
  Dictionary of the Hungarian Language) (1976, Budapest, Akadémiai Kiadó),
  3:93. "paprika 1748...Szerb-horvát eredetű...Ez a szb.-hv. pàpar
  'bors'..." (paprika 1748...Serbo-Croatian originally...This is the
  Serbo-Croatian pàpar 'pepper'...[followed by an explanation of the
  Hungarian suffix -ka]).
[10] Katzer, Gernot (May 27, 2008). "Paprika (Capsicum annuum L.)".
  Retrieved December 1, 2012.
[11] "Paprika — Food Facts". Food Reference. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
[12] Hyde, Brenda. "Classic Spice Blends: Paprika".
  Retrieved November 4, 2011.
[13] "Spanish Paprika — Pimentón". March 2, 2011.
  Retrieved November 4, 2011.
[14] Tom (October 31, 2008). "Grades of Paprika | The Spice House Blog".
  Retrieved November 4, 2011.
[15] Chefs Corner | Red Cat Restaurants | New York City. Red Cat
  Restaurants. Retrieved on September 20, 2013.
[16] Hungarian Paprika-Facts, History & Recipes. Retrieved on September 20, 2013.
[17] NDL/FNIC Food Composition Database Home Page. Retrieved
  on September 20, 2013.

External links

- Nutrition Facts and Analysis from
- The dictionary definition of paprika at Wiktionary


Pasilla (pronounced pah-SEE-yah; literally "little raisin") refers to more
than one variety of chili pepper in the species Capsicum annuum.¹ A true
pasilla is the dried form of the long and narrow chilaca pepper.² In the
United States, though, producers and grocers often incorrectly use
'pasilla' to describe the poblano, a different, wider variety of pepper,
the dried form of which is called an ancho.³ ⁴

Pasillas are used especially in sauces. They are sold whole or powdered in
Mexico, the United States, and the United Kingdom.⁵

Chile negro or chilaca

The pasilla chile or chile negro is the dried form of a variety of C.
annuum named for its dark, wrinkled skin. In its fresh form, it is called
the chilaca. It is a mild to medium-hot, rich-flavored chile. It is
generally 6 to 8 in (15 to 20 cm) long and 1.0 to 1.5 in (2.5 to 4 cm) in
diameter. The fresh narrow chilaca can measure up to 9.0 in (22 cm) long
and often has a twisted shape, which is seldom apparent after drying. It
turns from dark green to dark brown when fully mature.⁶

Pasilla de Oaxaca is a variety of smoked pasilla chile from Oaxaca used in
mole negro.⁷

Pasilla peppers are often combined with fruits and are excellent served
with duck, seafood, lamb, mushrooms, garlic, fennel, honey, or oregano.⁸


[1] Rombauer, I, et al. (1997). The Joy of Cooking, pp. 399–402, New York:
  Scribner. ISBN 0-684-81870-1
[2] Jean Andrews (January 1995). Peppers: the domesticated Capsicums.
  University of Texas Press. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-292-70467-1. Retrieved 9
  March 2010.
[3] Pasilla vs. Poblano.
[4] Pepper, chili. CHOW. CBS Interactive.
[5] Chilli Pantry
[6] Andrews, Jean (2005). The peppers cookbook: 200 recipes from the pepper
  lady's kitchen. Denton, Tex: University of North Texas Press. p. 16. ISBN
  1-57441-193-4. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
[7] DeWitt, Dave; Evans, Chuck (1997). The Pepper Pantry: Chipotle.
  Berkley, CA: Celestial Arts, an imprint of Ten Speed Press. ISBN
  9780307824363. Retrieved 2012-10-08. "Pasilla de Oaxaca: a variety of
  pasilla chile that is smoked in Oaxaca and is used in the famous mole
[8] Chile Pasilla. Chilli Pantry.

Further reading

- Kennedy, Diana. The Cuisines of Mexico (revised edition) New York: Harper
  & Row, 1986.
- Kennedy, Diana. From My Mexican Kitchen: Techniques and Ingredients. New
  York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2003.
- McMahan, Jacqueline Higuera. Red & Green Chile Cookbook. Lake Hughes, CA:
  The Olive Press, 1992.


Not to be confused with Pepperoni.

Peperoncini (or pepperoncini) are a variety of the species Capsicum annuum.
While called peperoncini in American English, peppers of this particular
kind, in Italy, are called peperone (plural peperoni) like other sweet
varieties of peppers, while the term peperoncini (singular peperoncino) is
used for hotter varieties of chili peppers.¹ The Greek varieties are
sweeter and less bitter than the Italian varieties grown in Tuscany.
Peperoncini are mild with a slight heat and a hint of bitterness, and are
commonly pickled and sold packaged in jars.


Peperoncini grow on a bushy plant that reaches 30 inches (77 cm) in height
and produces sweet green peppers that turn red when mature. Usually picked
at 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) long, these bright green, wrinkled peppers
taper to a blunt, lobed end.


Peperoncini are typically used in sandwiches, salads, tossed salads served
in pizzerias, antipasto platters, and as a garnish to lend dishes a crunchy
texture and a salty taste. They are also often served with kebab, such as
İskender kebap. Peperoncini are sometimes briefly rinsed in cold water
before serving to reduce the effects of the pickling brine on the taste.
Pickled peperoncini can vary in color from bright yellow to bright
yellow-green. Sometimes coloring is added.


Peperoncini, or peperoni, in a Swedish kebab restaurant

See also

- Aglio e olio
- Banana pepper
- List of Capsicum cultivars


[1] redazione, Maria Cristina Bareggi. (2001), Oxford Paravia Italian
  Dictionary: English-Italian / Italian-English, Turin, Italy: Paravia
  Bruno Mondadori Editori and Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-860437-8


This article is about a type of pepper. For the winery and Peppadew farm in
New Jersey, see Peppadew Fresh Vineyards.

Peppadew is the trade marked brand name of sweet piquanté peppers (a
cultivar of Capsicum baccatum) grown in the Limpopo province of South


This type of piquante pepper was first discovered in early 1993¹ and
introduced to market later that same decade. The name is a portmanteaux of
'pepper' and 'dew'. Although the pepper is sometimes described as a cross
between a pepper and a tomato, this description is not botanically
accurate, and refers only to the resemblance in color and size between
peppadew and cherry tomatoes.

Applications have been made by the various owners of the brand to secure
international breeders' right by application to the UPOV.² ³

In 2000, South African mushroom producer, Denny Mushrooms, acquired the
Peppadew brand and business.⁴ ⁵ Denny has in turn since been acquired by


The fruit is processed for removal of the seeds and reduction of the heat
of the pepper to more pleasant levels. It is then pickled and bottled.


The flavour of the Peppadew fruit is sweet, with mild heat of around 1,177
on the Scoville scale.¹


[1] "US PVP Application Number 9800051 - Solanaceae Capsicum Annuum Pepper
  (Chili) "Juanita"" (in English). United States Department of Agriculture.
  1997-12-30. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
[2] "'Peppadew' syn Steenkam". Plant Varieties Journal 10 (3): 17–18. 1997.
  ISSN 1188-1534. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
[3] "Government Gazette No 32004". South African Government. 2009-03-13. p.
  13. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
[4] Myriam Velia; Imraan Valodia (2003). Assessing some Core
  Characteristics of the DTP. Research Report No 56. University of Natal.
  p. 28. ISBN 1-86840-495-1.
[5] "Wie is die pappa van Peppadews?" (in Afrikaans). News24. 2004-02-10.
  Retrieved 2009-04-26.
[6] "Audited results for the year ended 30 June 2005". AVI. 2005-09-07. p.
  2. Retrieved 2009-04-26.

External links

- Brand homepage

Pequin pepper

Pequin (or Piquin) pepper (pronunciation: pee/puh-KEEN) is a hot chili
pepper cultivar commonly used as a spice. Taxonomically, it is classified
within variety glabriusculum of the species Capsicum annuum.¹

Pequin has a compact habit growing typically 0.3–0.6 meters tall, with
bright green, ovate leaves and small fruits that rarely exceed 2 cm in
length. Like most chiles, fruits start out green, ripening to brilliant red
at maturity. Pequin peppers are very hot, often 13–40 times hotter than
jalapeños on the Scoville scale (100,000–140,000 units). Flavor is
described as citrusy, smoky (if dried with wood smoke), and nutty.²

Common uses include pickling, salsas and sauces, soups, and vinegars. The
popular Cholula brand hot sauce lists piquin peppers and arbol peppers
among its ingredients.³

See also

- List of Capsicum cultivars


[1] Marco Antonio Alvarado Vázquez, Alejandra Rocha Estrada, Sergio Mereno
  Limón, ed. (2010). De la Lechuguilla a las Biopelículas Vegetales: Las
  Plantas Útiles de Nuevo León. Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León.
[2] Miller, Mark (1991). The Great Chile Book. Berkeley, California: Ten
  Speed Press. pp. 124–125. ISBN 0-89815-428-6.
[3] "Nutrition Information", Cholula Website, Last accessed 02 Jul 2009

Perennial plant

"Perennial" redirects here. For other uses, see Perennial (disambiguation).

A perennial plant or simply perennial (from Latin per, meaning "through",
and annus, meaning "year") is a plant that lives for more than two years.¹
The term is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter-lived annuals
and biennials. The term is also widely used to distinguish plants with
little or no woody growth from trees and shrubs, which are also technically

Perennials, especially small flowering plants, that grow and bloom over the
spring and summer, die back every autumn and winter, and then return in the
spring from their root-stock, are known as herbaceous perennials. However,
depending on the rigors of local climate, a plant that is a perennial in
its native habitat, or in a milder garden, may be treated by a gardener as
an annual and planted out every year, from seed, from cuttings or from
divisions. Tomato vines, for example, live several years in their natural
tropical/subtropical habitat but are grown as annuals in temperate regions
because they don't survive the winter.

There is also a class of evergreen, or non-herbaceous, perennials,
including plants like Bergenia which retain a mantle of leaves throughout
the year. An intermediate class of plants is known as subshrubs, which
retain a vestigial woody structure in winter, e.g. Penstemon. The local
climate may dictate whether plants are treated as shrubs or perennials. For
instance, in colder temperate climates, many shrubby varieties of Fuchsia
are cut to the ground to protect them from winter frosts.²

The symbol for a perennial plant, based on Species Plantarum by Linnaeus,
is , which is also the astronomical symbol for the planet Jupiter.³

Life cycle and structure

Perennial plants can be short-lived (only a few years) or they can be
long-lived, as are some woody plants like trees. They include a wide
assortment of plant groups from ferns and liverworts to the highly diverse
flowering plants like orchids and grasses.

Plants that flower and fruit only once and then die are termed monocarpic
or semelparous. However, most perennials are polycarpic (or iteroparous),
flowering over many seasons in their lifetime.

Perennials typically grow structures that allow them to adapt to living
from one year to the next through a form of vegetative reproduction rather
than seeding. These structures include bulbs, tubers, woody crowns,
rhizomes plus others. They might have specialized stems or crowns that
allow them to survive periods of dormancy over cold or dry seasons during
the year. Annuals produce seeds to continue the species as a new generation
while the growing season is suitable, and the seeds survive over the cold
or dry period to begin growth when the conditions are again suitable.

Many perennials have developed specialized features that allow them to
survive extreme climatic and environmental conditions. Some have adapted to
survive hot and dry conditions or cold temperatures. Those plants tend to
invest a lot of resource into their adaptations and often do not flower and
set seed until after a few years of growth. Many perennials produce
relatively large seeds, which can have an advantage, with larger seedlings
produced after germination that can better compete with other plants. Some
annuals produce many more seeds per plant in one season, while some
(polycarpic) perennials are not under the same pressure to produce large
numbers of seeds but can produce seeds over many years.


In warmer and more favorable climates, perennials grow continuously. In
seasonal climates, their growth is limited to the growing season.

In some species, perennials retain their foliage all year round; these are
evergreen perennials. Other plants are deciduous perennials, for example,
in temperate regions a perennial plant may grow and bloom during the warm
part of the year, with the foliage dying back in the winter. In many parts
of the world, seasonality is expressed as wet and dry periods rather than
warm and cold periods, and deciduous perennials lose their leaves in the
dry season.

With their roots protected below ground in the soil layer, perennial plants
are notably tolerant of wildfire. Herbaceous perennials are also able to
tolerate the extremes of cold in temperate and Arctic winters, with less
sensitivity than trees or shrubs.

Benefits in agriculture

Although most of humanity is fed by seeds from annual grain crops,
perennial crops provide numerous benefits.⁴ Perennial plants often have
deep, extensive root systems which can hold soil to prevent erosion,
capture dissolved nitrogen before it can contaminate ground and surface
water, and outcompete weeds (reducing the need for herbicides). These
potential benefits of perennials have resulted in new attempts to increase
the seed yield of perennial species,⁵ which could result in the creation of
new perennial grain crops.⁶ Some examples of new perennial crops being
developed are perennial rice and intermediate wheatgrass. The Land
Institute estimates that profitable, productive perennial grain crops will
take at least 25 years to achieve.⁷


Perennial plants dominate many natural ecosystems on land and in fresh
water, with only a very few (e.g. Zostera) occurring in shallow sea water.
Herbaceous perennial plants are particularly dominant in conditions too
fire-prone for trees and shrubs, e.g., most plants on prairies and steppes
are perennials; they are also dominant on tundra too cold for tree growth.
Nearly all forest plants are perennials, including the trees and shrubs.

Perennial plants are usually better competitors than annual plants,
especially under stable, resource-poor conditions. This is due to the
development of larger root systems which can access water and soil
nutrients deeper in the soil and to earlier emergence in the spring.


- Examples of evergreen perennials include Begonia and banana.
- Examples of deciduous perennials include goldenrod and mint.
- Examples of monocarpic perennials include Agave and some species of
- Examples of woody perennials include maple, pine, and apple trees.
- Examples of herbaceous perennials used in agriculture include alfalfa,
  Thinopyrum intermedium, and Red clover.

List of Perennials

Perennial fruits

- Apple
- Apricot
- Avocado
- Banana
- Blackcurrant
- Blueberry
- Currant
- Feijoa
- Grape
- Kiwi Fruit
- Japanese Wineberry
- Pear
- Persimmon
- Pineapple
- Plum
- Raspberries
- Strawberry
- Strawberry Tree
- Tomato

Perennial herbs

The following perennial plants are used as herbs:

- Agastache
- Alfalfa
- Althaea officinalis (marshmallow)
- Basil, many varieties: African Blue, East Indian
- Chives
- Fennel
- Ferula
- Garlic
- Ginger
- Hops - Humulus
- Hyssop
- Horseradish
- Lavender
- Lemon Balm
- Mint
- Onions, many varieties: Potato onions, Shallots, Egyptian onions,
  Japanese bunching onions, Welsh onions, Chinese leeks
- Oregano
- Piper nigrum (black pepper)
- Rosemary
- Sage
- Thyme
- Valerian
- White Horehound - Marrubium vulgare
- Yarrow - Achillea millefolium

Perennial vegetables

Many vegetable plants can grow as perennials in tropical climates, but die
in cold weather. Some of the more completely perennial vegetables are:

- Allium tricoccum
- Asparagus
- Broccoli: Nine Star
- Chives
- Colocasia esculenta
- Globe artichoke
- Apios americana ground Nut
- Jerusalem Artichoke
- Konjac
- Leek
- Milkweed (Asclepias)
- New Zealand Spinach
- Potato
- Radicchio or a.k.a. Italian Chicory
- Rhubarb
- Siberian Pea Tree (Caragana arborescens)
- Sorrel
- Rakkyo
- Sea Kale
- Sweet potato
- Taro
- Watercress

See also

- Annual plant
- Biennial plant
- Herbaceous
- Herbchronology
- Perennial grain


[1] The Garden Helper. The Difference Between Annual Plants and Perennial
  Plants in the Garden. Retrieved on 2008-06-22.
[2] RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling
  Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
[3] Stearn, William T. "Botanical Latin" (four editions, 1966-92)
[4] Glover et al. Future Farming: A return to roots? Retrieved on
[5] Moffat 1996 Retrieved on 2008-11-14
[6] Cox et al. 2000 Retrieved on 2008-11-14
[7] "Perennial Grain Cropping Research: Frequently Asked Questions". The
  Land Institute. 15 March 2007. Retrieved 17 June 2013.

External links

- USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
- Gardening with Perennials
- Edible Aroids
- Plants for a Future

Peter pepper

This article is about the chili pepper. For the video game character, see

The peter pepper, Capsicum annuum var. annuum, is an heirloom chili pepper
that is best known for its unusual shape. It is a type of Capsicum annuum,
though it is not officially recognized as a cultivar of the species. It
occurs in red and yellow varieties.² The pepper is considered very rare,
and its origin is unknown.² ³

The pepper is most commonly grown in East Texas and Louisiana,² although it
is grown in Mexico, as well.⁴ It was first popularized in the United States
by Frank X. Tolbert in his Dallas Morning News column about obscure local
history, although he saw the pepper only once in his life. It has since
been studied by horticulture experts at the University of Texas at Austin
and Louisiana State University.² Though it is rare, its seeds are available
from some private suppliers.¹ It is adaptable to a variety of growing
conditions.³ The seeds have also been exported to Asian countries,
including South Korea.⁴

The pepper has often been noted for its phallic appearance when fully
grown. The pepper, particularly the red variety, has been described as a
"miniature replica of the circumcised male organ".² The pod of the pepper
is wrinkled and has a round tip with a cleft.⁵ It is approximately 3 to 4
inches in length, and 1 to 1.5 inches wide when fully mature.¹ The pod of
the pepper has also been noted for its pungency.³

As it has a very high Scoville rating,¹ the pepper has been suggested for
ornamental use rather than human consumption.² It is sometimes pickled,

It was described by Frank X. Tolbert, a Texas journalist, historian, and
chili enthusiast in one of his columns called "Tolbert's Texas" he wrote
for the Dallas Morning News. Jean Andrews, in her book Peppers: the
domesticated Capsicums, states the peter pepper did have all the
qualifications "to be honored by the pen" of Mr. Tolbert, who wrote about
"little-known facts about little-known things that occur in little-known
places in Texas".⁶ Ms. Andrews described how hard it was to get the seed of
this "little-known things that occur in little-known places" that she
needed to study, but eventually she got the seeds, and was amused to see
how "resulting pods naturally and consistently contorted themselves into a
miniature replica of the circumcised male organ."⁶


The unusual appearance of some chili peppers, and peter pepper in
particular, causes amusement and provides the reasoning for a descriptive
names, like penis pepper. Some kind of peppers are more predisposed to
produce strange shapes. Jean Andrews, in her book "The Pepper Lady's Pocket
Pepper Primer, explains, "A latent predisposition manifests itself more
often when the plant is grown under unfavorable conditions." Humans use the
seeds of individuals that have some special appeals to them: taste, shape,
color, size, etc., to plant a new generation of the pepper. By repeating
such selections over and over again, humans are able to make desired
characteristics even more distinguished. Peter/Penis pepper is a product of
such repeated selections.⁷

The most pornographic pepper

There is a general belief that eating spicy food and chili pepper in
particular heats up passion, but as Jon Bonné says in an article on MSNBC,
"it's a big leap from heat in the mouth to heat between the sheets."⁸ The
penile shape Bonné signals is confirmed by Michael Albertson and Ellen
Albertson in their book Temptations: Igniting the Pleasure and Power of
Aphrodisiacs: the pepper is what "he looks like....This very hot Latin
lover likes to brag about his size and heat. (What man doesn't?)"⁹ Another
name for peter pepper is "the Chilli Willy peppers". The uniquely shaped
chilis have won a few awards, including the right to be called "The Most
Pornographic Pepper" by Organic Gardening Magazine.¹⁰

Growing peter peppers

In Backwoods Home Magazine, Alice Brantley Yeager describes the process of
growing peter peppers: "The best growing conditions involve a sunny spot in
the garden, moderately rich soil and the same amount of water you'd give
any other pepper plant when drought threatens." It is recommended to use a
seed starter for a better result, but if a seed starter is not available,
the seeds could be planted "in a plastic or clay pot in a sunny window".¹¹

See also

- Unusually shaped vegetable


[1] Miller, Mark Charles; Harrisson, John (1990-12-31). The Great Chile
  Book. Ten Speed Press, Inc. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-89815-428-3. Retrieved
[2] Andrews, Jean (1995). Peppers: the domesticated Capsicums. University
  of Texas Press. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-292-70467-1
[3] Hanson, Beth; Marinelli, Janet (1999). Chile peppers: hot tips and
  tasty picks for gardeners and gourmets. Brooklyn Botanic Garden. p. 90.
  ISBN 978-1-889538-13-6
[4] "`남근 고추` 보셨나요?". Korea Economic Daily. 13 February 2008. Retrieved 22
  July 2011.
[5] Wayne Bethard (2004). Lotions, potions, and deadly elixirs: frontier
  medicine in America. Taylor Trade Publications. p. 138. ISBN
[6] Jean Andrews (1995). Peppers: the domesticated Capsicums. University of
  Texas Press. p. 113. ISBN 0-292-70467-4.
[7] Jean Andrews (1998). The Pepper Lady's pocket pepper primer. University
  of Texas Press. p. 53,54. ISBN 0-292-70483-6.
[8] Jon Bonné (2006-02-14). "Foods of love? Not so fast, Casanova Truths
  about these five edible aphrodisiacs aren't as sexy as myths". Retrieved
[9] Michael Albertson, Ellen Albertson (April 2002). Temptations: Igniting
  the Pleasure and Power of Aphrodisiacs. Fireside Books. p. 126. ISBN
[10] Tim Ecott (February 4, 2009). "CHILLI WILLY WARMS THE COCKLES OF FIND
  ME A GIFT". London. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
[11] Alice Brantley Yeager (1998). "Naughty peppers". Backwoods Home
  Magazine. Retrieved 2011-11-03.

Further reading

- The Complete Chile Pepper Book: A Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing,
  Preserving, and Cooking, Dave DeWitt and Paul W. Bosland, Timber Press,
  Books.Google.Com link, page = 61, isbn=0-88192-920-4
- Peppers: the domesticated Capsicums, Jean Andrews, University of Texas
  Press, Books.Googe.Com link, Page 113, ISBN=0-292-70467-4


For the unincorporated town, see Pimento, Indiana. For the Jamaican use of
the term, see Allspice.
Not to be confused with Pimenta.

A pimiento, pimento, or cherry pepper is a variety of large, red,
heart-shaped chili pepper (Capsicum annuum) that measures 3 to 4 in (7 to
10 cm) long and 2 to 3 in (5 to 7 cm) wide (medium, elongate). The flesh of
the pimiento is sweet, succulent, and more aromatic than that of the red
bell pepper. Some varieties of the pimiento type are hot, including the
'Floral Gem' and 'Santa Fe Grande' varieties. Pimiento is a Spanish
loanword. Pimento or pimentão are Portuguese words for "bell pepper", while
pimenta refers to peppercorns and chili peppers are known as "piri piri" or
malagueta. It is typically used fresh or pickled. The pimento has one of
the lowest Scoville scale ratings of any chili pepper.


"Sweet" (i.e., neither sour nor savory) pimiento peppers are also the
familiar red stuffing found in prepared, Spanish, green olives. Originally,
the pimiento was hand-cut into tiny pieces, then hand-stuffed into each
olive to balance out the olive's otherwise strong, salty flavor. Despite
the popularity of the combination, this production method was very costly
and time-intensive. In the industrial era, the cut pimiento was shot (by a
hydraulic pump) into one end of each olive, simultaneously inserting the
pimento in the center while ejecting the pit (out the other end).

More recently, for ease of production,¹ pimientos are often puréed then
formed into tiny strips, with the help of a natural gum (such as sodium
alginate or guar gum). This allows olive stuffing to be mechanized,
speeding the process and lowering production costs. However, guar (an
annual legume mostly produced in India) may inadvertently make the olives
less accessible to consumers with peanut allergies and legume allergies, as
those individuals may have a reaction to the guar. This leaves sodium
alginate as a more universal choice.

Other uses

Pimientos are commonly used for making pimento cheese, and according to
Paula Deen of the Food Network, are also used in making "black-eyed pea
salsa, "...the caviar of the South" in the Southern United States and the
Philippines.² ³ ⁴ ⁵ It is also used for making pimento loaf, a type of
processed sandwich meat.

See also

- List of Capsicum cultivars


- Webster's Dictionary of the English Language – Unabridged Encyclopedic
  Edition, Publishers International Press, New York, 1977.
[1] Patent description of stuffing manufacturing.
[2] Homemade Cheese Pimiento in a Philippine online recipe database

Piri piri

Not to be confused with the Capsicum baccatum pepper Bishop's crown, also
called peri peri
For a similar Capsicum cultivar found in Asia, see Bird's eye chili. For
the herb, see Justicia pectoralis. For the Kenyan musician, see Pilipili.

Piri piri (/ˌpiːriˈpiːri/ PEE-ree-PEE-ree, also spelled peri peri, pili
pili),¹ also called African bird's eye chili, is a cultivar of Capsicum
frutescens, one of the sources of chili pepper that grows both wild and

It is a small member of the Capsicum genus. It grows in Uganda, Malawi,
South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, the tropical
forests of South Sudan & the highlands of Ethiopia. It was brought to Goa
by the Portuguese.


Piri piri is the Swahili word for 'pepper pepper'.² Other English language
spellings may include pili pili in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or
peri peri in Malawi, deriving from the various pronunciations of the word
in parts of Bantu languages-speaking Africa. Piri piri is the spelling of
the name as used in the Portuguese language, namely in the
Portuguese-speaking Mozambican community.²

The Oxford Dictionary of English records "piri-piri" as a foreign word
meaning "a very hot sauce made with red chilli peppers" and giving its
origin as the Ronga language of southern Mozambique word for "pepper".³

Plant characteristics

Plants are usually very bushy and grow in height to 45–120 centimeters,
with leaves 4–7 cm long and 1.3–1.5 cm wide. The fruits are generally
tapered to a blunt point and measure up to 8 or 10 centimeters long.
Immature pod color is green, mature color is bright red or purple. Some
varieties of birdseye measure up to 175,000 Scoville heat units.


Like all chili peppers, piri piri is descended from South American
cultivars, but Piri piri has grown in the wild in Africa for centuries and
is now cultivated commercially in Zambia, Uganda, Malawi, and Zimbabwe.⁴ It
grows mainly in Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and
Mozambique.¹ It is cultivated for both commercial food processing and the
pharmaceutical industry. Cultivation of piri piri is labor intensive.⁴

Piri piri sauce

Piri piri sauce (used as a seasoning or marinade) is Portuguese in origin
and "especially prevalent in Angola, Namibia, Mozambique and South
Africa".⁵ It is made from crushed chillies, citrus peel, onion, garlic,
pepper, salt, lemon juice, bay leaves, paprika, pimiento, basil, oregano,
and tarragon.⁶

Recipes vary from region to region but the common ingredients will be the
chilli, lemon, oil, red bell peppers and garlic. Today it can be easily
made in a blender.⁷

See also

- Capsicum
- Capsicum frutescens
- List of Capsicum cultivars
- Malagueta pepper (Capsicum frutescens var. malagueta)


[1] "African Bird's Eye Chili". Premium Hot Sauce. Retrieved 27 December
[3] "piri-piri noun", Angus Stevenson (ed.), Oxford Dictionary of English.
  (Oxford University Press, 2010, Oxford Reference Online) accessed 24
  February 2012.
[4] "Fiery Foods and Barbecue SuperSite - Pepper Profile: African
  Birdseye". Retrieved 27 December 2011.
[5] Rowley Leigh, "A Fiery Challenge for Delicate Palates", The Financial
  Times (London, England), 25 September 2004, p. 6.
[6] David A. Bender, ed. (2009). "piri-piri". A Dictionary of Food and
  Nutrition. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
[7] "Piri Piri Sauce Video".

External links

- Piri Piri Sauce Video.
- Pepper Profile: African Birdseye at
- Media related to Piri piri at Wikimedia Commons


For other uses, see Plant (disambiguation).

Plants, also called green plants (Viridiplantae in Latin), are
multicellular eukaryotes of the kingdom Plantae. They form a clade that
includes the flowering plants, conifers and other gymnosperms, ferns,
clubmosses, hornworts, liverworts, mosses and the green algae. Plants
exclude the red and brown algae, animals, the fungi, archaea and bacteria.

Green plants have cell walls with cellulose and characteristically obtain
most of their energy from sunlight via photosynthesis by primary
chloroplasts, derived from endosymbiosis with cyanobacteria. Their
chloroplasts contain chlorophylls a and b which gives them their green
color. Some plants are parasitic and have lost the ability to produce
normal amounts of chlorophyll or to photosynthesize. Plants are also
characterized by sexual reproduction, modular and indeterminate growth, and
an alternation of generations, although asexual reproduction is common.

Precise numbers are difficult to determine, but as of 2010, there are
thought to be 300–315 thousand species of plants, of which the great
majority, some 260–290 thousand, are seed plants (see the table below).¹
Green plants provide most of the world's molecular oxygen² and are the
basis of most of the earth's ecologies, especially on land. Plants that
produce grains, fruits and vegetables form mankind's basic foodstuffs, and
have been domesticated for millennia. Plants are used as ornaments and,
until recently and in great variety, they have served as the source of most
medicines and drugs. The scientific study of plants is known as botany, a
branch of biology.


Plants are one of the two groups into which all living things were
traditionally divided; the other is animals. The division goes back at
least as far as Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) who distinguished between
plants which generally do not move, and animals which often are mobile to
catch their food. Much later, when Linnaeus (1707–1778) created the basis
of the modern system of scientific classification, these two groups became
the kingdoms Vegetabilia (later Metaphyta or Plantae) and Animalia (also
called Metazoa). Since then, it has become clear that the plant kingdom as
originally defined included several unrelated groups, and the fungi and
several groups of algae were removed to new kingdoms. However, these
organisms are still often considered plants, particularly in popular

Outside of formal scientific contexts, the term "plant" implies an
association with certain traits, such as being multicellular, possessing
cellulose, and having the ability to carry out photosynthesis.³ ⁴

Current definitions of Plantae

When the name Plantae or plant is applied to a specific group of organisms
or taxon, it usually refers to one of four concepts. From least to most
inclusive, these four groupings are:

Another way of looking at the relationships between the different groups
which have been called "plants" is through a cladogram, which shows their
evolutionary relationships. The evolutionary history of plants is not yet
completely settled, but one accepted relationship between the three groups
described above is shown below.¹¹ Those which have been called "plants" are
in bold.

The way in which the groups of green algae are combined and named varies
considerably between authors.


Main article: Algae

Algae comprise several different groups of organisms which produce energy
through photosynthesis and for that reason have been included in the plant
kingdom in the past. Most conspicuous among the algae are the seaweeds,
multicellular algae that may roughly resemble land plants, but are
classified among the brown, red and green algae. Each of these algal groups
also includes various microscopic and single-celled organisms. There is
good evidence that some of these algal groups arose independently from
separate non-photosynthetic ancestors, with the result that many groups of
algae are no longer classified within the plant kingdom as it is defined
here.¹² ¹³

The Viridiplantae, the green plants – green algae and land plants – form a
clade, a group consisting of all the descendants of a common ancestor. With
a few exceptions among the green algae, all green plants have many features
in common, including cell walls containing cellulose, chloroplasts
containing chlorophylls a and b, and food stores in the form of starch.
They undergo closed mitosis without centrioles, and typically have
mitochondria with flat cristae. The chloroplasts of green plants are
surrounded by two membranes, suggesting they originated directly from
endosymbiotic cyanobacteria.

Two additional groups, the Rhodophyta (red algae) and Glaucophyta
(glaucophyte algae), also have chloroplasts which appear to be derived
directly from endosymbiotic cyanobacteria, although they differ in the
pigments which are used in photosynthesis and so are different in colour.
All three groups together are generally believed to have a single common
origin, and so are classified together in the taxon Archaeplastida, whose
name implies that the chloroplasts or plastids of all the members of the
taxon were derived from a single ancient endosymbiotic event. This is the
broadest modern definition of the plants.

In contrast, most other algae (e.g. heterokonts, haptophytes,
dinoflagellates, and euglenids) not only have different pigments but also
have chloroplasts with three or four surrounding membranes. They are not
close relatives of the Archaeplastida, presumably having acquired
chloroplasts separately from ingested or symbiotic green and red algae.
They are thus not included in even the broadest modern definition of the
plant kingdom, although they were in the past.

The green plants or Viridiplantae were traditionally divided into the green
algae (including the stoneworts) and the land plants. However, it is now
known that the land plants evolved from within a group of green algae, so
that the green algae by themselves are a paraphyletic group, i.e. a group
which excludes some of the descendants of a common ancestor. Paraphyletic
groups are generally avoided in modern classifications, so that in recent
treatments the Viridiplantae have been divided into two clades, the
Chlorophyta and the Streptophyta (or Charophyta).¹⁴ ¹⁵

The Chlorophyta (a name that has also been used for all green algae) are
the sister group to the group from which the land plants evolved. There are
about 4,300 species¹⁶ of mainly marine organisms, both unicellular and
multicellular. The latter include the sea lettuce, Ulva.

The other group within the Viridiplantae are the mainly freshwater or
terrestrial Streptophyta (or Charophyta), which consist of several groups
of green algae plus the stoneworts and land plants. (The names have been
used differently, e.g. Streptophyta to mean the group which excludes the
land plants and Charophyta for the stoneworts alone or the stoneworts plus
the land plants.) Streptophyte algae are either unicellular or form
multicellular filaments, branched or unbranched.¹⁵ The genus Spirogyra is a
filamentous streptophyte alga familiar to many, as it is often used in
teaching and is one of the organisms responsible for the algal "scum" which
pond-owners so dislike. The freshwater stoneworts strongly resemble land
plants and are believed to be their closest relatives. Growing underwater,
they consist of a central stalk with whorls of branchlets, giving them a
superficial resemblance to horsetails, species of the genus Equisetum,
which are true land plants.


Main article: Fungi

The classification of fungi has been controversial until quite recently in
the history of biology. Linnaeus' original classification placed the fungi
within the Plantae, since they were unquestionably not animals or minerals
and these were the only other alternatives. With later developments in
microbiology, in the 19th century Ernst Haeckel felt that another kingdom
was required to classify newly discovered micro-organisms. The introduction
of the new kingdom Protista in addition to Plantae and Animalia, led to
uncertainty as to whether fungi truly were best placed in the Plantae or
whether they ought to be reclassified as protists. Haeckel himself found it
difficult to decide and it was not until 1969 that a solution was found
whereby Robert Whittaker proposed the creation of the kingdom Fungi.
Molecular evidence has since shown that the most recent common ancestor
(concestor), of the Fungi was probably more similar to that of the Animalia
than to that of Plantae or any other kingdom.¹⁷

Whittaker's original reclassification was based on the fundamental
difference in nutrition between the Fungi and the Plantae. Unlike plants,
which generally gain carbon through photosynthesis, and so are called
autotrophs, fungi generally obtain carbon by breaking down and absorbing
surrounding materials, and so are called heterotrophic saprotrophs. In
addition, the substructure of multicellular fungi is different from that of
plants, taking the form of many chitinous microscopic strands called
hyphae, which may be further subdivided into cells or may form a syncytium
containing many eukaryotic nuclei. Fruiting bodies, of which mushrooms are
the most familiar example, are the reproductive structures of fungi, and
are unlike any structures produced by plants.


The table below shows some species count estimates of different green plant
(Viridiplantae) divisions. It suggests there are about 300,000 species of
living Viridiplantae, of which 85–90% are flowering plants. (Note: as these
are from different sources and different dates, they are not necessarily
comparable, and like all species counts, are subject to a degree of
uncertainty in some cases.)

The naming of plants is governed by the International Code of Nomenclature
for algae, fungi, and plants and International Code of Nomenclature for
Cultivated Plants (see cultivated plant taxonomy).


Further information: Evolutionary history of plants

The evolution of plants has resulted in increasing levels of complexity,
from the earliest algal mats, through bryophytes, lycopods, ferns to the
complex gymnosperms and angiosperms of today. The groups which appeared
earlier continue to thrive, especially in the environments in which they

Evidence suggests that an algal scum formed on the land 1,200 million years
ago, but it was not until the Ordovician Period, around 450 million years
ago, that land plants appeared.²⁸ However, new evidence from the study of
carbon isotope ratios in Precambrian rocks has suggested that complex
photosynthetic plants developed on the earth over 1000 m.y.a.²⁹ These began
to diversify in the late Silurian Period, around 420 million years ago, and
the fruits of their diversification are displayed in remarkable detail in
an early Devonian fossil assemblage from the Rhynie chert. This chert
preserved early plants in cellular detail, petrified in volcanic springs.
By the middle of the Devonian Period most of the features recognised in
plants today are present, including roots, leaves and secondary wood, and
by late Devonian times seeds had evolved.³⁰ Late Devonian plants had
thereby reached a degree of sophistication that allowed them to form
forests of tall trees. Evolutionary innovation continued after the Devonian
period. Most plant groups were relatively unscathed by the Permo-Triassic
extinction event, although the structures of communities changed. This may
have set the scene for the evolution of flowering plants in the Triassic
(~200 million years ago), which exploded in the Cretaceous and Tertiary.
The latest major group of plants to evolve were the grasses, which became
important in the mid Tertiary, from around 40 million years ago. The
grasses, as well as many other groups, evolved new mechanisms of metabolism
to survive the low CO
2 and warm, dry conditions of the tropics over the last 10 million years.

A proposed phylogenetic tree of Plantae, after Kenrick and Crane,³¹ is as
follows, with modification to the Pteridophyta from Smith et al.³² The
Prasinophyceae are a paraphyletic assemblage of early diverging green algal


Main article: Embryophyte

The plants that are likely most familiar to us are the multicellular land
plants, called embryophytes. Embryophytes include the vascular plants, such
as ferns, conifers and flowering plants. They also include the bryophytes,
of which mosses and liverworts are the most common.

All of these plants have eukaryotic cells with cell walls composed of
cellulose, and most obtain their energy through photosynthesis, using
light, water and carbon dioxide to synthesize food. About three hundred
plant species do not photosynthesize but are parasites on other species of
photosynthetic plants. Plants are distinguished from green algae, which
represent a mode of photosynthetic life similar to the kind modern plants
are believed to have evolved from, by having specialized reproductive
organs protected by non-reproductive tissues.

Bryophytes first appeared during the early Paleozoic. They can only survive
where moisture is available for significant periods, although some species
are desiccation-tolerant. Most species of bryophytes remain small
throughout their life-cycle. This involves an alternation between two
generations: a haploid stage, called the gametophyte, and a diploid stage,
called the sporophyte. In bryophytes, the sporophyte is always unbranched
and remains nutritionally dependent on its parent gametophyte. The
bryophytes have the ability to secrete a cuticle on their outer surface, a
waxy layer that confers resistant to desiccation. In the mosses and
hornworts a cuticle is usually only produced on the sporophyte. Stomata are
absent from liverworts, but occur on the sporangia of mosses and hornworts,
allowing gas exchange while controlling water loss.

Vascular plants first appeared during the Silurian period, and by the
Devonian had diversified and spread into many different terrestrial
environments. They developed a number of adaptations that allowed them to
spread into increasingly more arid places, notably the vascular tissues
xylem and phloem, that transport water and food throughout the organism.
Root systems capable of obtaining soil water and nutrients also evolved
during the Devonian. In modern vascular plants, the sporophyte is typically
large, branched, nutritionally independent and long-lived, but there is
increasing evidence that Paleozoic gametophytes were just as complex as the
sporophytes. The gametophytes of all vascular plant groups evolved to
become reduced in size and prominence in the life cycle.

The first seed plants, Pteridosperms (seed ferns), now extinct, appeared in
the Devonian and diversified through the Carboniferous. In these the
microgametophyte is reduced to pollen and the megagametophyte remains
inside the megasporangium, attached to the parent plant. A megasporangium
invested in protective layer called an integument is known as an ovule.
After fertilisation by means of sperm deposited by pollen grains, an embryo
develops inside the ovule. The integument becomes a seed coat, and the
ovule develops into a seed. Seed plants can survive and reproduce in
extremely arid conditions, because they are not dependent on free water for
the movement of sperm, or the development of free living gametophytes.

Early seed plants are gymnosperms, as the ovules and subsequent seeds are
not enclosed in a protective structure (carpels or fruit), but are found
naked, typically on cone scales. Pollen typically lands directly on the
ovule. Four surviving groups remain widespread now, particularly the
conifers, which are dominant trees in several biomes.


Main articles: Paleobotany and Evolutionary history of plants

Plant fossils include roots, wood, leaves, seeds, fruit, pollen, spores,
phytoliths, and amber (the fossilized resin produced by some plants).
Fossil land plants are recorded in terrestrial, lacustrine, fluvial and
nearshore marine sediments. Pollen, spores and algae (dinoflagellates and
acritarchs) are used for dating sedimentary rock sequences. The remains of
fossil plants are not as common as fossil animals, although plant fossils
are locally abundant in many regions worldwide.

The earliest fossils clearly assignable to Kingdom Plantae are fossil green
algae from the Cambrian. These fossils resemble calcified multicellular
members of the Dasycladales. Earlier Precambrian fossils are known which
resemble single-cell green algae, but definitive identity with that group
of algae is uncertain.

The oldest known fossils of embryophytes date from the Ordovician, though
such fossils are fragmentary. By the Silurian, fossils of whole plants are
preserved, including the lycophyte Baragwanathia longifolia. From the
Devonian, detailed fossils of rhyniophytes have been found. Early fossils
of these ancient plants show the individual cells within the plant tissue.
The Devonian period also saw the evolution of what many believe to be the
first modern tree, Archaeopteris. This fern-like tree combined a woody
trunk with the fronds of a fern, but produced no seeds.

The Coal measures are a major source of Paleozoic plant fossils, with many
groups of plants in existence at this time. The spoil heaps of coal mines
are the best places to collect; coal itself is the remains of fossilised
plants, though structural detail of the plant fossils is rarely visible in
coal. In the Fossil Forest at Victoria Park in Glasgow, Scotland, the
stumps of Lepidodendron trees are found in their original growth positions.

The fossilized remains of conifer and angiosperm roots, stems and branches
may be locally abundant in lake and inshore sedimentary rocks from the
Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras. Sequoia and its allies, magnolia, oak, and
palms are often found.

Petrified wood is common in some parts of the world, and is most frequently
found in arid or desert areas where it is more readily exposed by erosion.
Petrified wood is often heavily silicified (the organic material replaced
by silicon dioxide), and the impregnated tissue is often preserved in fine
detail. Such specimens may be cut and polished using lapidary equipment.
Fossil forests of petrified wood have been found in all continents.

Fossils of seed ferns such as Glossopteris are widely distributed
throughout several continents of the Southern Hemisphere, a fact that gave
support to Alfred Wegener's early ideas regarding Continental drift theory.

The earliest fossils attributed to green algae date from the Precambrian
(ca. 1200 mya).³⁴ ³⁵ The resistant outer walls of prasinophyte cysts (known
as phycomata) are well preserved in fossil deposits of the Paleozoic (ca.
250-540 mya). A filamentous fossil (Proterocladus) from middle
Neoproterozoic deposits (ca. 750 mya) has been attributed to the
Cladophorales, while the oldest reliable records of the Bryopsidales,
Dasycladales) and stoneworts are from the Paleozoic.³³ ³⁶

Structure, growth and development

Further information: Plant morphology

Most of the solid material in a plant is taken from the atmosphere. Through
a process known as photosynthesis, most plants use the energy in sunlight
to convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, plus water, into simple
sugars. (Parasitic plants, on the other hand, use the resources of its host
to grow.) These sugars are then used as building blocks and form the main
structural component of the plant. Chlorophyll, a green-colored,
magnesium-containing pigment is essential to this process; it is generally
present in plant leaves, and often in other plant parts as well.

Plants usually rely on soil primarily for support and water (in
quantitative terms), but also obtain compounds of nitrogen, phosphorus,
potassium, magnesium and other elemental nutrients. Epiphytic and
lithophytic plants depend on air and nearby debris for nutrients, and
carnivorous plants supplement their nutrient requirements with insect prey
that they capture. For the majority of plants to grow successfully they
also require oxygen in the atmosphere and around their roots (soil gas) for
respiration. Plants use oxygen and glucose (which may be produced from
stored starch) to provide energy.³⁷ Some plants grow as submerged aquatics,
using oxygen dissolved in the surrounding water, and a few specialized
vascular plants, such as mangroves, can grow with their roots in anoxic

Factors affecting growth

The genotype of a plant affects its growth. For example, selected varieties
of wheat grow rapidly, maturing within 110 days, whereas others, in the
same environmental conditions, grow more slowly and mature within 155

Growth is also determined by environmental factors, such as temperature,
available water, available light, carbon dioxide and available nutrients in
the soil. Any change in the availability of these external conditions will
be reflected in the plant's growth.

Biotic factors are also capable of affecting plant growth. Plants compete
with other plants for space, water, light and nutrients. Plants can be so
crowded that no single individual produces normal growth, causing
etiolation and chlorosis. Optimal plant growth can be hampered by grazing
animals, suboptimal soil composition, lack of mycorrhizal fungi, and
attacks by insects or plant diseases, including those caused by bacteria,
fungi, viruses, and nematodes.³⁸

Simple plants like algae may have short life spans as individuals, but
their populations are commonly seasonal. Other plants may be organized
according to their seasonal growth pattern: annual plants live and
reproduce within one growing season, biennial plants live for two growing
seasons and usually reproduce in second year, and perennial plants live for
many growing seasons and continue to reproduce once they are mature. These
designations often depend on climate and other environmental factors;
plants that are annual in alpine or temperate regions can be biennial or
perennial in warmer climates. Among the vascular plants, perennials include
both evergreens that keep their leaves the entire year, and deciduous
plants which lose their leaves for some part of it. In temperate and boreal
climates, they generally lose their leaves during the winter; many tropical
plants lose their leaves during the dry season.

The growth rate of plants is extremely variable. Some mosses grow less than
0.001 millimeters per hour (mm/h), while most trees grow 0.025-0.250 mm/h.
Some climbing species, such as kudzu, which do not need to produce thick
supportive tissue, may grow up to 12.5 mm/h.

Plants protect themselves from frost and dehydration stress with antifreeze
proteins, heat-shock proteins and sugars (sucrose is common). LEA (Late
Embryogenesis Abundant) protein expression is induced by stresses and
protects other proteins from aggregation as a result of desiccation and

Plant cell

Main article: Plant cell

Plant cells are typically distinguished by their large water-filled central
vacuole, chloroplasts, and rigid cell walls that are made up of cellulose,
hemicellulose, and pectin. Cell division is also characterized by the
development of a phragmoplast for the construction of a cell plate in the
late stages of cytokinesis. Just as in animals, plant cells differentiate
and develop into multiple cell types. Totipotent meristematic cells can
differentiate into vascular, storage, protective (e.g. epidermal layer), or
reproductive tissues, with more primitive plants lacking some tissue


Main article: Plant physiology


Main articles: Photosynthesis and Biological pigment

Plants are photosynthetic, which means that they manufacture their own food
molecules using energy obtained from light. The primary mechanism plants
have for capturing light energy is the pigment chlorophyll. All green
plants contain two forms of chlorophyll, chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b.
The latter of these pigments is not found in red or brown algae.

Immune system

See also: Immune system and Plant disease resistance

By means of cells that behave like nerves, plants receive and distribute
within their systems information about incident light intensity and
quality. Incident light which stimulates a chemical reaction in one leaf,
will cause a chain reaction of signals to the entire plant via a type of
cell termed a bundle sheath cell. Researchers from the Warsaw University of
Life Sciences in Poland, found that plants have a specific memory for
varying light conditions which prepares their immune systems against
seasonal pathogens.⁴¹ Plants use pattern-recognition receptors to recognize
conserved microbial signatures. This recognition triggers an immune
response. The first plant receptors of conserved microbial signatures were
identified in rice (XA21, 1995)⁴² and in Arabidopsis thaliana (FLS2,
2000).⁴³ Plants also carry immune receptors that recognize highly variable
pathogen effectors. These include the NBS-LRR class of proteins.

Internal distribution

Main article: Vascular tissue

Vascular plants differ from other plants in that nutrients are transported
between their different parts through specialized structures, called xylem
and phloem. They also have roots for taking up water and minerals. The
xylem moves water and minerals from the root to the rest of the plant, and
the phloem provides the roots with sugars and other nutrient produced by
the leaves.⁴⁰


Main article: Plant ecology

The photosynthesis conducted by land plants and algae is the ultimate
source of energy and organic material in nearly all ecosystems.
Photosynthesis radically changed the composition of the early Earth's
atmosphere, which as a result is now 21% oxygen. Animals and most other
organisms are aerobic, relying on oxygen; those that do not are confined to
relatively rare anaerobic environments. Plants are the primary producers in
most terrestrial ecosystems and form the basis of the food web in those
ecosystems. Many animals rely on plants for shelter as well as oxygen and

Land plants are key components of the water cycle and several other
biogeochemical cycles. Some plants have coevolved with nitrogen fixing
bacteria, making plants an important part of the nitrogen cycle. Plant
roots play an essential role in soil development and prevention of soil


Plants are distributed worldwide in varying numbers. While they inhabit a
multitude of biomes and ecoregions, few can be found beyond the tundras at
the northernmost regions of continental shelves. At the southern extremes,
plants have adapted tenaciously to the prevailing conditions. (See
Antarctic flora.)

Plants are often the dominant physical and structural component of habitats
where they occur. Many of the Earth's biomes are named for the type of
vegetation because plants are the dominant organisms in those biomes, such
as grasslands and forests.

Ecological relationships

Numerous animals have coevolved with plants. Many animals pollinate flowers
in exchange for food in the form of pollen or nectar. Many animals disperse
seeds, often by eating fruit and passing the seeds in their feces.
Myrmecophytes are plants that have coevolved with ants. The plant provides
a home, and sometimes food, for the ants. In exchange, the ants defend the
plant from herbivores and sometimes competing plants. Ant wastes provide
organic fertilizer.

The majority of plant species have various kinds of fungi associated with
their root systems in a kind of mutualistic symbiosis known as mycorrhiza.
The fungi help the plants gain water and mineral nutrients from the soil,
while the plant gives the fungi carbohydrates manufactured in
photosynthesis. Some plants serve as homes for endophytic fungi that
protect the plant from herbivores by producing toxins. The fungal
endophyte, Neotyphodium coenophialum, in tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea)
does tremendous economic damage to the cattle industry in the U.S.

Various forms of parasitism are also fairly common among plants, from the
semi-parasitic mistletoe that merely takes some nutrients from its host,
but still has photosynthetic leaves, to the fully parasitic broomrape and
toothwort that acquire all their nutrients through connections to the roots
of other plants, and so have no chlorophyll. Some plants, known as
myco-heterotrophs, parasitize mycorrhizal fungi, and hence act as
epiparasites on other plants.

Many plants are epiphytes, meaning they grow on other plants, usually
trees, without parasitizing them. Epiphytes may indirectly harm their host
plant by intercepting mineral nutrients and light that the host would
otherwise receive. The weight of large numbers of epiphytes may break tree
limbs. Hemiepiphytes like the strangler fig begin as epiphytes but
eventually set their own roots and overpower and kill their host. Many
orchids, bromeliads, ferns and mosses often grow as epiphytes. Bromeliad
epiphytes accumulate water in leaf axils to form phytotelmata that may
contain complex aquatic food webs.⁴⁴

Approximately 630 plants are carnivorous, such as the Venus Flytrap
(Dionaea muscipula) and sundew (Drosera species). They trap small animals
and digest them to obtain mineral nutrients, especially nitrogen and


The study of plant uses by people is termed economic botany or ethnobotany;
some consider economic botany to focus on modern cultivated plants, while
ethnobotany focuses on indigenous plants cultivated and used by native
peoples. Human cultivation of plants is part of agriculture, which is the
basis of human civilization. Plant agriculture is subdivided into agronomy,
horticulture and forestry.


Much of human nutrition depends on plants, either directly or indirectly.
Human nutrition depends to a large extent on cereals, especially maize (or
corn), wheat and rice. Other staple crops include potato, cassava, and
legumes. Human food also includes vegetables, spices, and certain fruits,
nuts, herbs, and edible flowers.
Beverages produced from plants include coffee, tea, wine, beer and alcohol.
Sugar is obtained mainly from sugar cane and sugar beet, and honey comes
from flowers.
Cooking oils and margarine come from maize, soybean, rapeseed, safflower,
sunflower, olive and others.
Food additives include gum arabic, guar gum, locust bean gum, starch and
Livestock animals including cows, pigs, sheep, goats and camels are all
herbivores; and most feed primarily or entirely on cereal plants,
particularly grasses.

Nonfood products

Wood is used for buildings, furniture, paper, cardboard, musical
instruments and sports equipment. Cloth is often made from cotton, flax,
rame or synthetic fibers derived from cellulose, such as rayon and acetate.
Renewable fuels from plants include firewood, peat and many other biofuels.
Coal and petroleum are fossil fuels derived from plants. Medicines derived
from plants include aspirin, taxol, morphine, quinine, reserpine,
colchicine, digitalis and vincristine. There are hundreds of herbal
supplements such as ginkgo, Echinacea, feverfew, and Saint John's wort.
Pesticides derived from plants include nicotine, rotenone, strychnine and
pyrethrins. Drugs obtained from plants include opium, cocaine and
marijuana. Poisons from plants include ricin, hemlock and curare. Plants
are the source of many natural products such as fibers, essential oils,
natural dyes, pigments, waxes, tannins, latex, gums, resins, alkaloids,
amber and cork. Products derived from plants include soaps, paints,
shampoos, perfumes, cosmetics, turpentine, rubber, varnish, lubricants,
linoleum, plastics, inks, chewing gum and hemp rope. Plants are also a
primary source of basic chemicals for the industrial synthesis of a vast
array of organic chemicals. These chemicals are used in a vast variety of
studies and experiments.

Aesthetic uses

Thousands of plant species are cultivated for aesthetic purposes as well as
to provide shade, modify temperatures, reduce wind, abate noise, provide
privacy, and prevent soil erosion. People use cut flowers, dried flowers
and houseplants indoors or in greenhouses. In outdoor gardens, lawn
grasses, shade trees, ornamental trees, shrubs, vines, herbaceous
perennials and bedding plants are used. Images of plants are often used in
art, architecture, humor, language, and photography and on textiles, money,
stamps, flags and coats of arms. Living plant art forms include topiary,
bonsai, ikebana and espalier. Ornamental plants have sometimes changed the
course of history, as in tulipomania. Plants are the basis of a
multi-billion dollar per year tourism industry which includes travel to
arboretums, botanical gardens, historic gardens, national parks, tulip
festivals, rainforests, forests with colorful autumn leaves and the
National Cherry Blossom Festival. Venus Flytrap, sensitive plant and
resurrection plant are examples of plants sold as novelties.

Scientific and cultural uses

Tree rings are an important method of dating in archeology and serve as a
record of past climates. Basic biological research has often been done with
plants, such as the pea plants used to derive Gregor Mendel's laws of
genetics. Space stations or space colonies may one day rely on plants for
life support. Plants are used as national and state emblems, including
state trees and state flowers. Ancient trees are revered and many are
famous. Numerous world records are held by plants. Plants are often used as
memorials, gifts and to mark special occasions such as births, deaths,
weddings and holidays. Plants figure prominently in mythology, religion and
literature. The field of ethnobotany studies plant use by indigenous
cultures which helps to conserve endangered species as well as discover new
medicinal plants. Gardening is the most popular leisure activity in the
U.S. Working with plants or horticulture therapy is beneficial for
rehabilitating people with disabilities. Certain plants contain
psychotropic chemicals which are extracted and ingested, including tobacco,
cannabis (marijuana), and opium.

Negative effects

Weeds are uncultivated and usually unwanted plants growing in managed
environments such as farms, urban areas, gardens, lawns, and parks. People
have spread plants beyond their native ranges and some of these introduced
plants become invasive, damaging existing ecosystems by displacing native
species. Invasive plants cause costly damage in crop losses annually by
displacing crop plants, they further increase the cost of production and
the use of chemicals to control them, which in turn affects the

Plants may cause harm to animals, including people. Plants that produce
windblown pollen invoke allergic reactions in people who suffer from hay
fever. A wide variety of plants are poisonous. Toxalbumins are plant
poisons fatal to most mammals and act as a serious deterrent to
consumption. Several plants cause skin irritations when touched, such as
poison ivy. Certain plants contain psychotropic chemicals, which are
extracted and ingested or smoked, including tobacco, cannabis (marijuana),
cocaine and opium. Smoking causes damage to health or even death, while
some drugs may also be harmful or fatal to people.⁴⁶ ⁴⁷ Both illegal and
legal drugs derived from plants may have negative effects on the economy,
affecting worker productivity and law enforcement costs.⁴⁸ ⁴⁹ Some plants
cause allergic reactions when ingested, while other plants cause food
intolerances that negatively affect health.

See also

- Biosphere
- Evolutionary history of plants
- Germination
- Leaf sensor
- Plant defense against herbivory
- Plant identification
- The Plant List
- Plant perception (paranormal)
- Plant perception (physiology)
- Rapid plant movement
- Plants in space
- Taxonomic rank


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Further reading

- Evans, L. T. (1998). Feeding the Ten Billion - Plants and Population
  Growth. Cambridge University Press. Paperback, 247 pages. ISBN
- Kenrick, Paul & Crane, Peter R. (1997). The Origin and Early
  Diversification of Land Plants: A Cladistic Study. Washington, D. C.:
  Smithsonian Institution Press. ISBN 1-56098-730-8.
- Raven, Peter H., Evert, Ray F., & Eichhorn, Susan E. (2005). Biology of
  Plants (7th ed.). New York: W. H. Freeman and Company. ISBN
- Taylor, Thomas N. & Taylor, Edith L. (1993). The Biology and Evolution of
  Fossil Plants. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-651589-4.
- Trewavas A (2003). "Aspects of Plant Intelligence". Annals of Botany 92
  (1): 1–20. doi:10.1093/aob/mcg101.
Species estimates and counts
- International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
  (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (2004). IUCN Red List .
- Prance G. T. (2001). "Discovering the Plant World". Taxon (International
  Association for Plant Taxonomy) 50 (2, Golden Jubilee Part 4): 345–359.
  doi:10.2307/1223885. ISSN 0040-0262.

External links

- Jones, T. M., Reid, C. S., Urbatsch, L. E. "Visual study of divisional
  Plantae". (requires Microsoft Silverlight)
- Plant at the Encyclopedia of Life
- Chaw, S.-M. et al. (1997). "Molecular Phylogeny of Extant Gymnosperms and
  Seed Plant Evolution: Analysis of Nuclear 18s rRNA Sequences". Molec.
  Biol. Evol. 14 (1): 56–68. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a025702.
  PMID 9000754.
- Index Nominum Algarum
- Interactive Cronquist classification
- Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
- Tree of Life
Botanical and vegetation databases
- African Plants Initiative database
- Australia
- Chilean plants at Chilebosque
- e-Floras (Flora of China, Flora of North America and others)
- Flora Europaea
- Flora of Central Europe (German)
- Flora of North America
- List of Japanese Wild Plants Online
- Meet the Plants-National Tropical Botanical Garden
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Native Plant Information Network at
  University of Texas, Austin
- The Plant List
- United States Department of Agriculture not limited to continental US


This article is about the chile pepper originating in Puebla, México. For
persons from Puebla, called Poblanos in Spanish, see Puebla. For the
political blogger, see Nate Silver.

The poblano is a mild chili pepper originating in the state of Puebla,
Mexico. Dried, it is called ancho or ancho chile, from the Mexican Spanish
name ancho ("wide") or chile ancho ("wide chile").³ ⁴ The ripened red
poblano is significantly hotter and more flavorful than the less ripe,
green poblano. While poblanos tend to have a mild flavor, occasionally and
unpredictably, they can have significant heat. Different peppers from the
same plant have been reported to vary substantially in heat intensity. A
closely related variety is the mulato, which is darker in color, sweeter in
flavor, and softer in texture.⁵

One of the most popular peppers grown in Mexico, the bush (of the species
Capsicum annuum) has multiple stems and can reach 25 in (0.64 m) in height.
The fruit is 3 to 6 in (7.6 to 15.2 cm) long and 2 to 3 in (5.1 to 7.6 cm)
wide. An immature poblano is dark purplish green in color, but the mature
fruits eventually turn a red so dark as to be nearly black.

Poblanos grow in zones 10–12 and do best with a soil pH between 7.0 and
8.5. They typically prefer full sunlight and may require additional support
for the growing fruits during harvest in late summer. A poblano takes
around 200 days from seed to harvest and requires soil temperatures of at
least 64°F (18°C) to germinate.

Preparation methods include: dried, coated in whipped egg (capeado) and
fried, stuffed, or in mole sauces. It is particularly popular during the
Mexican independence festivities as part of a dish called chiles en nogada,
which incorporates green, white, and red ingredients corresponding to the
colors of the Mexican flag. This may be considered one of Mexico's most
symbolic dishes by its nationals. It is also usually used in the widely
found dish chile relleno. Poblanos are popular in the United States and can
be found in grocery stores in the states bordering Mexico and in urban

After being roasted and peeled (which improves the texture by removing the
waxy skin), poblano peppers are preserved by either canning or freezing.
Storing them in airtight containers keeps them for several months. When
dried, the poblano becomes a broad, flat, heart-shaped pod; from this form,
it is often ground into a powder used as flavoring in various dishes.

"Poblano" is also the word for an inhabitant of Puebla, and mole poblano
refers to the spicy chocolate chili sauce originating in Puebla.



A fresh poblano chile, often sold north of Mexico and sometimes
  (incorrectly) referred to as pasilla


A dried poblano is called an "ancho chile"

See also


[1] Lillywhite, Jay M.; Simonsen, Jennifer E.; Uchanski, Mark E. (2013).
  "Spicy Pepper Consumption and Preferences in the United States.".
  HortTechnology 23 (6): 868–876. "Any pepper type with ≥ 1 SHU could be
  considered spicy. However, for this study, paprika (0–300 SHU), New
  Mexico long green or red chile (300–500 SHU), and poblano/ancho (≈1369
  SHU) types were included as mild spicy peppers (Table 1)."
[2] Julius, David; Caterina, Michael J.; Schumacher, Mark A.; Tominaga,
  Makoto; Rosen, Tobias A.; Levine, Jon D. (1997). "The capsaicin receptor:
  a heat-activated ion channel in the pain pathway". Nature 389 (6653):
  816–824. doi:10.1038/39807. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 9349813. "Reported
  pungencies for pepper varieties (in Scoville units) are: Habanero (H),
  100,000–300,000; Thai green (T), 50,000–100,000; wax (W), 5,000–10,000;
  and Poblano verde (P), 1,000–1,500 (ref. 23)."
[3] Burge, Weldon (1995). Grow the Best Peppers: Storey's Country Wisdom
  Bulletin A-138. Storey Publishing, LLC. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-60342-277-2.
[4] "Ancho: Definition of Ancho in Oxford Dictionary (American English)
  (US)". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved
  2014-06-29. "ancho; Syllabification: an·cho; Pronunciation: /ˈanCHō,
  ˈän/; (also ancho chili); Noun (plural anchos); A large aromatic variety
  of chili, used (usually dried) in dishes of Mexican origin or style.
  Origin from Mexican Spanish (chile) ancho 'wide (chili)'."
[5] "Growing Poblano Peppers". Retrieved 10 June 2012.

External links

- Poblano chiles


This article is about strong, sharp smells or tastes. For the pointedness
of leaves, see leaf shape.

Pungency /ˈpʌn(d)ʒənsi/ is the condition of having a strong, sharp smell or
taste that is often so strong that it is unpleasant.¹ ² Pungency is the
technical term used by scientists to refer to the characteristic of food
commonly referred to as spiciness or hotness and sometimes heat,³ ⁴ ⁵ which
is found in foods such as chili peppers.

The term piquancy /ˈpiːkənsi/ is sometimes used to refer to a lower degree
of pungency (than that of chilli) such as that of mustard, but it more
often refers to mild pungency² and flavors and spices that are much less
strong than chilli peppers, including, for example, the strong flavor of
some tomatoes. In other words, pungency always refers to a very strong
taste whereas piquancy refers to any spices and foods that are "agreeably
stimulating to the palate", in other words to food that is spicy in the
general sense of "well-spiced".

Pungency is associated with the sense of taste, and in various Asian
countries it has traditionally been considered a basic taste.


The terms "pungent" ⁱ/pʌndʒənt/ and "pungency" are rarely used in
colloquial speech but are preferred by scientists as they eliminate the
potential ambiguity arising from use of the words "hot" and "spicy", which
can also refer to temperature and the presence of spices, respectively.³ ⁴

For instance, a pumpkin pie can be both hot (out of the oven) and spicy
(due to the common inclusion of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice,
mace, and cloves), but it is not pungent. (A food critic may nevertheless
use the word "piquant" to describe such a pie, especially if it is
exceptionally well seasoned.) Conversely, pure capsaicin is pungent, yet it
is not naturally accompanied by a hot temperature or spices.

As the Oxford, Collins, and Merriam-Webster dictionaries explain, the term
"piquancy" refers to mild pungency² and flavors and spices that are much
less strong than chilli peppers, including, for example, the strong flavor
of some tomatoes. In other words, pungency always refers to a very strong
taste whereas piquancy refers to any spices and foods that are "agreeably
stimulating to the palate", in other words to food that is spicy in the
general sense of "well-spiced".


In foods

Pungency is often quantified in scales that range from mild to hot. The
Scoville scale measures the pungency of chili peppers, as defined by the
amount of capsaicin they contain.

Pungency is not considered a taste in the technical sense because it is
carried to the brain by a different set of nerves. While taste nerves are
activated when consuming foods like chili peppers, the sensation commonly
interpreted as "hot" results from the stimulation of somatosensory fibers
in the mouth. Many parts of the body with exposed membranes that lack taste
receptors (such as the nasal cavity, genitals, or a wound) produce a
similar sensation of heat when exposed to pungent agents.

The pungent sensation provided by chili peppers, black pepper and other
spices like ginger and horseradish plays an important role in a diverse
range of cuisines across the world, such as Korean, Persian, Turkish,
Tunisian, Ethiopian, Hungarian, Indian, Burmese, Indonesian, Laotian,
Singaporean, Malaysian, Bangladeshi, Mexican, Peruvian, Caribbean,
Pakistani, Somali cuisine, Southwest Chinese (including Sichuan cuisine),
Sri Lankan, Vietnamese, and Thai cuisines.

In popular culture

In animated cartoons and the like, pungency is often shown as a face
turning red or as though a mouth were literally on fire, with such sight
gags as flames and smoke coming out of the mouth and ears (sometimes
accompanied by a train whistle) when someone consumes pungent food.


The scientific term for the effect of pungency is chemesthesis. Substances
such as piperine and capsaicin cause a burning sensation by inducing a
trigeminal nerve reaction together with normal taste reception. The pungent
feeling caused by allyl isothiocyanate, capsaicin, piperine, and allicin is
caused by activation of the heat thermo- and chemosensitive TRP ion
channels including TRPV1 and TRPA1 nociceptors. The pungency of chilies may
be an adaptive response to selection by microbial pathogens.³

See also

- Pyruvate scale
- Scoville scale
- Thermoception


[1] ""Pungency"". Collins English Dictionary. 2014-02-03. Retrieved
[2] "Merriam-Webster Dictionary: "Pungent"". Retrieved
[3] Berenbaum, May R. (May 16, 2008). "Evolutionary ecology of pungency in
  wild chilies". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the
  United States of America. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
[4] "Chile Terminology". Chile Pepper Institute, New Mexico State
  University. 2006. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
[5] "Chile Heat". Chile Pepper Institute, New Mexico State University.
  2006. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
[6] "Why are not all chilies hot? A trade-off limits pungency". Royal
  Society Publishing. Retrieved September 16, 2012.

External links

- Pungency of spices PDF

Red Savina pepper

The Red Savina pepper is a cultivar of the habanero chili (Capsicum
chinense Jacquin), which has been selectively bred to produce hotter,
heavier, and larger fruit.

Frank Garcia of GNS Spices, in Walnut, California, is credited with being
the developer of the Red Savina habanero. The exact method Garcia used to
select the hottest strains is not publicly known.

The Red Savina was protected by the U.S. Plant Variety Protection Act (PVP
#9200255) until 2011.²

In February 2007, the Red Savina chili was displaced in Guinness World
Records as the hottest chili in the world by the Naga Jolokia pepper. The
Red Savina held the record from 1994 until 2006.³

Red Savina peppers were reported to a score up to 577,000 on the Scoville
scale, but this oft-quoted figure was never verified;¹ a comparison
experiment carried out by a group of researchers including Regents
Professor Paul W. Bosland at the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State
University in 2005 revealed an average heat level of about 450,000 Scoville
Heat Units for Red Savina habaneros. Orange Habaneros may get as hot as
350,000 Scoville Heat Units, but the average Orange Habanero is around
200,000 Scoville Heat Units. The average Bhut Jolokia pepper is 1,019,687


[1] DeWitt, Dave; Bosland, Paul W. (2009). The Complete Chile Pepper Book.
  ISBN 978-0-88192-920-1.
[2] "Plant Variety Protection Number: 9200255 (Red Savina)". U.S.
  Department of Agriculture. 1992-08-26. Retrieved 2014-01-03.
[3] "World's hottest chile pepper discovered". American Society for
  Horticultural Science. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
[4] "Chart From The Chili Pepper Institute".

Salsa (sauce)

Salsa is the Spanish term for sauce, and in English-speaking countries
usually refers to the sauces typical of Mexican cuisine, particularly those
used as dips. They are often tomato-based, although many are not, and they
are typically piquant, ranging from mild to extremely hot.

Pronunciation and etymology

The word salsa entered the English language from the Spanish salsa
("sauce"), which itself derives from the Latin salsa ("salty"), from sal
("salt"). The proper Spanish pronunciation is [ˈsalsa]; however, most
American and Canadian English speakers pronounce it /ˈsɑːlsə/. In British
English it is pronounced as /ˈsælsə/. In Australian English it is
pronounced SOUL-saa.


Mexican salsas were traditionally produced using the mortar and pestle-like
molcajete, although blenders are now more commonly used. The Mayans made
salsa also, using a mortar and pestle. Well-known salsas include:

- Salsa roja, "red sauce", is used as a condiment in Mexican and
  Southwestern (U.S.) cuisines; usually includes cooked tomatoes, chili
  peppers, onion, garlic, and fresh cilantro (coriander).
- Pico de gallo ("rooster's beak"), also known as salsa fresca ("fresh
  sauce"), salsa picada ("chopped sauce"), or salsa mexicana ("Mexican
  sauce"), is made with raw tomatoes, lime juice, chili peppers, onions,
  cilantro leaves, and other coarsely chopped raw ingredients.
- Salsa cruda, "raw sauce", is an uncooked mixture of chopped tomatoes,
  onions, jalapeño peppers, and cilantro, or coriander leaf.¹
- Salsa verde, "green sauce", in Mexican versions, is made with tomatillos,
  usually cooked. The Italian version is made with herbs.
- Salsa negra, "black sauce" is a Mexican sauce made from dried chilis,
  oil, and garlic.
- Salsa taquera, "taco sauce": Made with tomatillos and morita chili
- Salsa criolla is a South American salsa with a sliced-onion base.
- Salsa ranchera, "ranch-style sauce": Made with roasted tomatoes, various
  chilies, and spices, it typically is served warm, and possesses a thick,
  soupy quality. Though it contains none, it imparts a characteristic
  flavor reminiscent of black pepper.
- Salsa brava, "wild sauce", is a mildly spicy sauce made with tomato,
  garlic, onion, and vinegar, often flavored with paprika. On top of potato
  wedges, it makes the dish patatas bravas, typical of tapas bars in Spain.
- Guacamole is thicker than a sauce and generally used as a dip; it refers
  to any sauce where the main ingredient is avocado.
- Mole (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈmole]) is a Mexican sauce made from chili
  peppers mixed with spices, unsweetened chocolate, almonds, and other
- Mango salsa is a spicy-sweet sauce made from mangoes, used as a topping
  for nachos. It is often also used as a garnish on grilled chicken or
  grilled fish due to the sauce's gamut of complementary flavors.
- Pineapple salsa is a spicy and sweet sauce made from pineapples, used as
  an alternative to the mango salsa.
- Chipotle salsa is a smoky, spicy sauce made from smoked jalapeño chili
  peppers, tomatoes, garlic and spices.
- Habanero salsa is an extremely spicy salsa, where the piquancy comes from
  habanero peppers.
- Corn salsa is a chunky salsa made with sweetcorn and other ingredients,
  such as onions, and chiles (either poblano, bell peppers, and/or
  jalapenos), made popular by the burrito chains for burritos, tacos, and
- Carrot salsa is made with carrots as the base.²

There are many other salsas, both traditional and nouveau, some are made
with mint, pineapple, or mango.

Outside of Mexico and Central America, the following salsas are common to
each of the following regions; in Argentina and the Southern Cone,
chimichurri sauce is common. Chimichurri is "a spicy vinegar-parsley sauce
that is the salsa (and leading condiment) in Argentina and Uruguay, served
with grilled meat. It is made of chopped fresh parsley and onion, seasoned
with garlic, oregano, salt, cayenne and black pepper and bound with oil and
vinegar."³ In Costa Rica, dishes are prepared with salsa Lizano, a thin,
smooth, light brown sauce. In Cuba and the Caribbean, a typical salsa is
mojo. Unlike the tomato-based salsas, mojo typically consists of olive oil,
garlic, and citrus juice, and is used both to marinate meats and as a
dipping sauce. In Peru, a traditional salsa is peri peri or piri piri
sauce: "The national condiment of Peru, peri-peri sauce is made in medium
to hot levels of spiciness—the more chile, or the hotter variety of chile
used, the hotter the sauce. Original peri-peri uses the African bird's eye
chile (the African word for the chile is peri-peri). Milder sauces may use
only cayenne and serrano chiles. To a base of vinegar and oil, garlic and
lemon juice are added, plus other seasonings, which often include paprika
or tomato paste for flavor and color, onions and herb—each company has its
own recipe. It is also used as a cooking sauce."⁴

Health issues

The World Health Organization says care should be taken in the preparation
and storage of salsa, since many raw-served varieties can act as growth
media for potentially dangerous bacteria, especially when unrefrigerated.⁵

In 2002, a study appearing in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine,
conducted by the University of Texas–Houston Medical School, found 66% of
the sauces tested (71 samples tested, sauces being either: salsa,
guacamole, or pico de gallo) from restaurants in Guadalajara, Jalisco and
40% of those from Houston, Texas, were contaminated with E. coli bacteria,
although only the sauces from Guadalajara contained the types of E. coli
that cause diarrhea.⁶ The researchers found the Mexican sauces from
Guadalajara contained fecal contaminants and higher levels of the bacteria
more frequently than those of the sauces from Houston, possibly as a result
of more common improper refrigeration of the Mexican sauces.

In a July 12, 2010 press release, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) reported during the 1998 to 2008 period, one of 25
foodborne illnesses with identified food sources was traced back to
restaurant salsa or guacamole.⁷ According to a July 13, 2010 news item by
journalist Elizabeth Weise, a 2008 outbreak of Salmonella was traced back
to the peppers used in salsa.⁸ Originally reported to the CDC by the New
Mexico Department of Health, over the course of several months, the
outbreak sickened a total of 1,442 people in 43 states and resulted in 286

A 2010 paper on salsa food hygiene described refrigeration as "the key to
safe salsa". A study in the paper found that fresh lime juice and fresh
garlic (but not powdered garlic) would prevent the growth of bacteria.¹⁰

Prepared salsa

Most jarred, canned, and bottled salsa and picante sauces sold in the
United States in grocery stores are forms of salsa cruda or pico de gallo,
and typically have a semi-liquid texture. To increase their shelf lives,
these salsas have been cooked to a temperature of 175 °F (79 °C). Some have
added vinegar, and some use pickled peppers instead of fresh ones. Tomatoes
are strongly acidic by nature, which, along with the heat processing, is
enough to stabilize the product for grocery distribution.

Picante sauce of the American type is often thinner in consistency than
what is labelled as "salsa". Picante is a Spanish adjective meaning
"piquant", which derives from picar ("to sting"), referring to the feeling
caused by salsas on one's tongue.

Many grocery stores in the United States and Canada also sell "fresh"
refrigerated salsa, usually in plastic containers. Fresh salsa is usually
more expensive and has a shorter shelf life than canned or jarred salsa. It
may or may not contain vinegar.

Taco sauce is a condiment sold in American grocery stores and fast food
Tex-Mex outlets. Taco sauce is similar to its Mexican counterpart in that
it is smoothly blended, having the consistency of thin ketchup. It is made
from tomato paste instead of whole tomatoes and lacks the seeds and chunks
of vegetables found in picante sauce.

While some salsa fans do not consider jarred products to be real salsa
cruda, their widespread availability and long shelf life have been credited
with much of salsa's enormous popularity in states outside of the
southwest, especially in areas where salsa is not a traditional part of the
cuisine. In 1992, the dollar total of salsa sales in the United States
exceeded those of tomato ketchup.¹¹

See also

- List of condiments


[2] Gentry, Ann; Head, Anthony (2005). Real Food Daily Cookbook: Really
  Fresh, Really Good, Really Vegetarian. Ten Speed Press. p. 64. ISBN
[3] "Types Of Salsa". Retrieved 2012-07-11.
[4] "Pico De Gallo". Retrieved 2012-07-11.
[5] Larry R. Beuchat. "Surface decontamination of fruits and vegetables
  eaten raw: a review" (PDF). World Health Organization. Retrieved July 22,
[6] Javier A. Adachi, John J. Mathewson, Zhi-Dong Jiang, Charles D.
  Ericsson, and Herbert L. DuPont. Annals of Internal Medicine, June 2002,
  Vol. 136, pp. 884–887.
[7] "Salsa and Guacamole Increasingly Important Causes of Foodborne
  Disease". Retrieved July 23, 2010.
[8] Elizabeth Weise (July 13, 2010). "CDC: Fresh salsa, guacamole linked to
  foodborne illnesses -". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
[9] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (August 2008).
  "Outbreak of Salmonella serotype Saintpaul infections associated with
  multiple raw produce items--United States, 2008". MMWR Morb. Mortal.
  Wkly. Rep. 57 (34): 929–34. PMID 18756191.
[10] Ma L, Zhang G, Gerner-Smidt P, Tauxe RV, Doyle MP (March 2010).
  "Survival and growth of Salmonella in salsa and related ingredients". J.
  Food Prot. 73 (3): 434–44. PMID 20202327.
[11] San Francisco Chronicle, August 27, 2003, pp. E-1

External links

- U.S. National Center for Home Food Preservation – Salsas
- Salsa Recipes
- "History of Salsa". Gourmet Sleuth. Retrieved August 17, 2006.

Santa Fe Grande pepper

The Santa Fe Grande chile pepper, also known as "Yellow hot chili pepper"
and the "Guero chili pepper", is a very prolific cultivar used in the
Southwestern United States. The plants are resistant to tobacco mosaic

The conical, blunt fruits are about 2 in (5.1 cm) long.¹ They ripen from a
pale yellow to a bright orange or fiery red.

The peppers grow upright on 24" plants. Santa Fe Grande's fruit have a
slightly sweet taste and are fairly mild in pungency.²


[1] Dave DeWitt and Paul W. Bosland (2009). The Complete Chile Pepper Book:
  A Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking. Timber
  Press. ISBN 978-0881929201.
[2] Michael Hultquist. "Chili Pepper Madness". Retrieved 8 Dec 2012.

Scotch bonnet (pepper)

Scotch Bonnet, also known as Boabs Bonnet, Scotty Bons,¹ Bonney peppers,¹
or Caribbean red peppers² is a variety of chili pepper. Found mainly in the
Caribbean islands, it is also in Guyana (where it is called Ball of Fire),
the Maldives Islands and West Africa.³ It is named for its resemblance to a
Tam o' Shanter hat.⁴ Most Scotch Bonnets have a heat rating of
100,000–350,000 Scoville Units,⁵ however there are completely sweet
varieties of Scotch Bonnet grown on some of the Caribbean islands, called
Cachucha peppers. For comparison, most jalapeño peppers have a heat rating
of 2,500 to 8,000 on the Scoville scale.

These peppers are used to flavour many different dishes and cuisines
worldwide and are often used in hot sauces and condiments. The Scotch
bonnet has a sweeter flavour and stouter shape, distinct from its habanero
cousin with which it is often confused, and gives jerk dishes
(pork/chicken) and other Caribbean dishes their unique flavour. Scotch
bonnets are mostly used in West African, Grenadian, Trinidadian, Jamaican,
Barbadian, Guyanese, Surinamese, Haitian and Caymanian cuisine and pepper
sauces, though they often show up in other Caribbean recipes.

Fresh, ripe scotch bonnets change from green to colours ranging from yellow
to scarlet red. Ripe peppers are prepared for cooking by those who cannot
handle the sharp heat by cutting out the area around the seeds inside the
fruit, which holds most of the heat. The seeds can be saved for cultivation
or other culinary uses.

See also

- Bajan pepper sauce
- Caribbean cuisine
- Cuisine of Jamaica
- Cuisine of Trinidad
- Habanero
- Jamaican jerk spice
- List of Capsicum cultivars


[1] DeWitt, Dave (1996). Ground Provisions and Bonney Peppers.
[2] "Chile Peppers Recipes".
[3] "Mead Recipes: Scotch Bonnet Capsimel". "This recipe uses very hot
  Scotch Bonnet chillies (which are ubiquitous in West Africa)."
[4] Andrews, Jean (1998). The Pepper Lady's Pocket Pepper Primer.
  University of Texas Press. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-292-70483-1.
[5] "Chile Pepper Heat Scoville Scale". Home Cooking. The New
  York Times Company. Retrieved 2008-08-21.

Scoville scale

The Scoville scale is the measurement of the pungency (spicy heat) of chili
peppers or other spicy foods as reported in Scoville heat units (SHU),¹ a
function of capsaicin concentration. The scale is named after its creator,
American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville. His method, devised in 1912, is known
as the Scoville Organoleptic Test.²

Unlike methods based on high-performance liquid chromatography, the
Scoville scale is an empirical measurement dependent on the capsaicin
sensitivity of testers and so is not a precise or accurate method to
measure capsaicinoid concentration.

Scoville organoleptic test

In Scoville's method, an exact weight of dried pepper is dissolved in
alcohol to extract the heat components (capsinoids), then diluted in a
solution of sugar water.³ ⁴ ⁵ Increasing concentrations of the extracted
capsinoids are given to a panel of five trained tasters, until a majority
(at least three) can detect the heat in a dilution.⁴ ⁵ ⁶ The heat level is
based on this dilution, rated in multiples of 100 SHU.⁴

A weakness of the Scoville Organoleptic Test is its imprecision due to
human subjectivity, depending on the taster's palate and their number of
mouth heat receptors, which varies "greatly" among people⁶ Another weakness
is sensory fatigue:⁶ the palate is quickly desensitised to capsaicins after
tasting a few samples within a short-time period.⁴ Results vary widely, ±
50%, between laboratories.⁵

Scoville ratings


Since Scoville ratings are defined per unit of dry mass, comparison of
ratings between products having different water content can be misleading.
Typical fresh chile peppers have a water content around 90 percent,
whereas, for example, Tabasco sauce has a water content of 95 percent.⁷ For
law-enforcement-grade pepper spray, values from 500 thousand up to 5
million SHU have been mentioned,⁸ but the actual strength of the spray
depends on the dilution, which could be a factor of 10.⁹

The chiles with the highest rating on the Scoville scale exceed one million
Scoville units, and include specimens of naga jolokia or bhut jolokia and
its cultivar, the "Ghost chile", which does not have official cultivar
status.¹⁰ ¹¹

Numerical results for any specimen vary depending on its cultivation
conditions and the uncertainty of the laboratory methods used to assess the
capsaicinoid content. Pungency values for any pepper are variable, owing to
expected variation within a species—easily by a factor of 10 or
more—depending on seed lineage, climate (humidity is a big factor for the
Bhut Jolokia; the Dorset Naga and the original Naga have quite different
ratings), and even soil (this is especially true of habaneros). The
inaccuracies described in the measurement methods above also contribute to
the imprecision of these values.⁵

ASTA pungency units

Since at least the 1980s, spice heat has been more precising measured by a
method that uses high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).³ This
identifies and measures the concentration of heat-producing chemicals. The
measurements are used in a mathematical formula that weighs them according
to their relative capacity to produce a sensation of heat. This method
yields results, not in Scoville units, but in American Spice Trade
Association (ASTA) pungency units. A measurement of one part capsaicin per
million corresponds to about 15 Scoville units , and the published method
says that ASTA pungency units can be multiplied by 15 and reported as
Scoville units.

Scoville units are a measure for capsaicin content per unit of dry mass.³⁶
³⁷ ³⁸ This conversion is approximate, and spice experts Donna R. Tainter
and Anthony T. Grenis say that there is consensus that it gives results
about 20–40% lower than the actual Scoville method would have given.

External links

- Wilbur Scoville profile on NNDB
- Periodic Table of Scoville Units Interactive Periodic Table of Scoville
- Scoville Scale/Scoville Heat Units Explanation at Tabasco web site


[1] Peter, KV, ed. (2001), Handbook of Herbs and Spices 1, CRC Press, p.
  120, ISBN 0-8493-1217-5.
[2] The Journal of the American Pharmacists Association 1, 1912: 453–4.
[3] Kleiman, Dena (November 8, 1989). "Rating Hot Peppers: Mouth vs.
  Computer". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-11-02.
[4] Peter, K. V. (2012). Handbook of Herbs and Spices. Elsevier Science. p.
  127. ISBN 978-0-85709-567-1.
[5] Tainter, Donna R.; Anthony T. Grenis (2001). Spices and Seasonings.
  Wiley-IEEE. p. 30. ISBN 0-471-35575-5. "Interlab variation [for the
  original Scoville scale] could be as high as +/−50%. However, labs that
  run these procedures could generate reasonably repeatable results."
[6] Barry-Jester, Anna Maria (October 15, 2014). "Rating Chili Peppers On A
  Scale Of 1 To Oh Dear God I'm On Fire". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved
[7] USDA nutrient database for Peppers, jalapeño, raw (92% water content);
  Peppers, hot chile, red, raw (88% water content); Red Tabasco sauce (95%)
[8] "Chemical hazards in law enforcement". The Police Policy Studies
  Council. Retrieved 2009-02-09. "Most law enforcement sprays have a
  pungency of 500,000 to 2 million SHU. One brand has sprays with 5.3
  million SHU."
[9] "The Truth About Defensive Spray Heat". Sabre red. "Sabre Red = 10% OC
  @ 2,000,000 Scoville Heat Units. Thus, 90% of the formulation dilutes the
  2,000,000 SHUs creating a Scoville Content of 200,000."
[10] "World's hottest chilli grown in Grantham, Lincs". The Daily Telegraph
  (London). 2010-04-01. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
[11] "Grantham firm grows world's hottest chilli". UK: This is
  Lincolnshire. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
[12] "Chile experts identify Trinidad Moruga Scorpion as world's hottest".
  The Daily Telegraph (UK). 2012-02-16.
[13] "World's hottest pepper hits 2.2 million Scoville heat units". Los
  Angeles Times. December 26, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
[14] Dykes, Brett Michael (3 December 2010). "World's hottest pepper is
  'hot enough to strip paint'". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 2010-12-03.
[15] "Tezpur/Naga Jolokia – The Hottest Chile?" (PDF). The Chile Pepper
  Institute Newsletter 11 (2) (The Chile Pepper Institute, New Mexico State
  University). 2000. p. 5. "...the Red Savina Habanero whose Scoville
  rating is around 555,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), the 'Naga Jolokia'
  possesses 855,000 SHU."
[16] "Grantham's Infinity chilli named hottest in world". BBC. 2011-02-18.
[17] Shaline L. Lopez (2007). "NMSU is home to the world's hottest chile
  pepper". Archived from the original on 2007-02-19. Retrieved 2007-02-21.
[18] "World's hottest chile pepper a mouthful for prof". CNN. AP. 23
  February 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-03-22.
[19] Matthew Da Silva, "Aussies grow world's hottest chilli", Australian
  Geographic, 12 April 2011
[20] "UK's hottest commercially grown chilli pepper goes on sale".
[21] "World's hottest chile pepper discovered". American Society for
  Horticultural Science. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
[22] "Burning Questions" (PDF). The Chile Pepper Institute Newsletter 13
  (3) (The Chile Pepper Institute, New Mexico State University). 2002. p.
  7. "...'Red Savina' habanero...came in at a whopping 577,000 Scoville
  Heat Units."
[23] "Chile Pepper Heat Scoville Scale". Retrieved 2006-09-25.
[24] "Habanero White". Chile man. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
[25] "The Scoville Scale".
[26] Scoville Food Institute, Periodic Table of Scoville Units.
[27] "The Scoville Scale". The Scoville Scale For Peppers.
[28] "Scoville Scale Chart for Hot Sauce and Hot Peppers". Scott Roberts.
  Retrieved 2008-11-19.
[29] "Scoville hot sauce heat scale".
[30] Julius, David; Caterina, Michael J.; Schumacher, Mark A.; Tominaga,
  Makoto; Rosen, Tobias A.; Levine, Jon D. (1997). "The capsaicin receptor:
  a heat-activated ion channel in the pain pathway". Nature 389 (6653):
  816–824. doi:10.1038/39807. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 9349813. "Reported
  pungencies for pepper varieties (in Scoville units) are: Habanero
  (H),100,000–300,000; Thai green (T), 50,000–100,000; wax (W),
  5,000–10,000; and Poblano verde (P), 1,000–1,500 (ref. 23)."
[31] Coon, Denise; Votava, Eric; Bosland, Paul W. (2008). "The Chile
  Cultivars of New Mexico State University" (PDF). Research Report 763.
  College of Agriculture and Home Economics, New Mexico State University.
  Retrieved 2013-08-09.
[32] Lillywhite, Jay M.; Simonsen, Jennifer E.; Uchanski, Mark E. (2013).
  "Spicy Pepper Consumption and Preferences in the United States.".
  HortTechnology 23 (6): 868–876. "Any pepper type with ≥ 1 SHU could be
  considered spicy. However, for this study, paprika (0–300 SHU), New
  Mexico long green or red chile (300–500 SHU), and poblano/ancho (≈1369
  SHU) types were included as mild spicy peppers (Table 1)."
[33] Thomas DeBaggio, Thomas DeBaggio; Arthur O. Tucker, Arthur O. Tucker
  (2009). The Encyclopedia of Herbs: A Comprehensive Reference to Herbs of
  Flavor and Fragrance. Timber Press. p. 188. ISBN 978-1-60469-134-4. "...a
  bell pepper has 0 Scoville Heat Units and a rating of 0."
[34] Laratta, B; De Masi, L; Sarli, G; Pignone, D (2013). Lanteri, Sergo;
  Rotino, Giuseppe Leonardo, eds. "Hot Peppers for Happiness and Wellness:
  a Rich Source of Healthy and Biologically Active Compounds" (PDF).
  Breakthroughs in the Genetics and Breeding of Capsicum and Eggplant:
  Proceedigns of the XV EUCARPIA Meeting on Genetics and Breeding of
  Capsicum and Eggplant (Comitato per l'organizzazione degli eventi (COE)
  DISAFA, Università degli Studi di Torino): 233–240. ISBN
  978-88-97239-16-1. "Scoville Heat Units (SHU), Referring pepper
  varieties...0, Sweet Bell"
[35] DeWitt, Dave; Bosland, Paul W. (2009). The Complete Chile Pepper Book.
  ISBN 978-0-88192-920-1.
[36] M.D. Collins et al., "Improved Method for Quantifying Capsaicinoids in
  Capsicum Using High-performance Liquid Chromatography". HortScience 30
  137–139 (1995).
[37] Nwokem, C.O. et al. (2010). "Determination of Capsaicin Content and
  Pungency Level of Five Different Peppers Grown in Nigeria" (PDF). New
  York Science Journal 3: 9.
[38] Othman, Z.A. Al et al. (2011). "Determination of Capsaicin and
  Dihydrocapsaicin in Capsicum Fruit Samples using High Performance Liquid
  Chromatography". Molecules 16: 8919–8929. doi:10.3390/molecules16108919.

Serrano pepper

The serrano pepper (Capsicum annuum) is a type of chili pepper that
originated in the mountainous regions of the Mexican states of Puebla and
Hidalgo.¹ The name of the pepper is a reference to the mountains (sierras)
of these regions.¹

Serrano plant

Mature serrano pepper plants reach a height of 1.5 to 5.0 ft tall.¹ Each
plant can hold up to 50 pepper pods.¹ The fruit can be harvested while they
are green or ripe. Unripe serrano peppers are green, but the color at
maturity varies. Common colors are green, red, brown, orange, or yellow.
Serrano peppers do better in soils with a pH between 7.0 and 8.5 and in
warm temperatures above 75°F (24°C); they are not frost tolerant. ²

Serrano fruit

The Scoville rating of the serrano pepper is 10,000 to 25,000.³ They are
typically eaten raw and have a bright and biting flavor that is notably
hotter than the jalapeño pepper. Serrano peppers are also commonly used in
making pico de gallo, and salsa, as the chili is particularly fleshy
compared to others, making it ideal for such dishes.¹

It is one of the most used chili peppers in Mexican cuisine. The Mexican
states of Veracruz, Sinaloa, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas produce about 180,000
tons of serranos each year.⁴

See also

- Pickled pepper


[1] DeWitt, Dave; Paul W. Boslund (2009). The Complete Chile Pepper Book: A
  Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking. Timber
  Press. p. 64. ISBN 0-88192-920-4.
[2] "Growing Serrano Peppers". PlantDex. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
[3] "Types of hot peppers". Retrieved 12 March 2010.
[4] Nolte, Kurt. "Serrano Peppers". Retrieved 30 August


Shishito pepper (獅子唐辛子 꽈리고추 Shishitōgarashi) is a sweet, East Asian variety
of the species Capsicum annuum.¹


The pepper is small and finger-long, slender, and thin-walled. Although it
turns from green to red upon ripening, it is usually harvested while green.
The name refers to the fact that the tip of the chili pepper (唐辛子
tōgarashi) looks like the head of a lion (獅子 shishi), and in Japanese it is
often abbreviated as shishitō.

About one out of every ten peppers is spicy.² The occurrence of pungent
fruit is induced by such factors as illumination,¹ and other stress may
predispose the peppers to turn spicy.

The prefectural agricultural testing center at Kishigawa, Wakayama stated
in 2005 that capsaicin forms more easily in hot and dry conditions in the
summer, and even experts may not be able to distinguish relative hotness on
the same plant.³

For cooking, a hole is poked in the pepper beforehand to keep expanding hot
air from bursting the pepper. It may be skewered then broiled (grilled), or
pan-fried in oil, or stewed in a soy sauce- and dashi-based liquid. It is
thin-skinned and will blister and char easily compared with thicker skinned

See also

- Togarashi, chili pepper in Japan
- Manganji pepper(ja)
- Fushimi pepper (伏見とうがらし)


[1] Murakami, K.; Yamamoto, T.; Fujimoto, K.; Okabe, K.; Masuda, M., Abe,
  T. and Maeda, K. (2011). "Low-pungent Sweet Pepper Selected under
  Continuous Fluorescent Illumination". Acta Horticulturae (ISHS) 907:
  243–246. , abstract quote: "'Shishito' (Capsicum annuum L.) is a group of
  sweet pepper cultivars. Fruits are small, green and non-pungent, but
  pungent fruits sometimes occur.."
[2] Matsuhisa, Nobu; Edwards, Mark; Takahashi, Eiichi (2007), Nobu West
  (preview) (12th ed.), Andrews McMeel Publishing, p. 51, ISBN
  9780740765476 states "one in every twelve"
[3] Yomiuri Shimbun Osaka Honsha (2005), Zatsugaku Shimbun(雑学新聞) (preview),
  PHP研究所, p. 60, ISBN 9784569644325, also posted by blog:新建設
  まめ知識:Q.辛くないシシトウの見分け方はありますか?(retrieved Apr-2012)

Siling labuyo

Siling labuyo is a small chili pepper cultivar¹ commonly found in the
Philippines. The cultivar name is Tagalog, and literally it translates to
"wild chili."¹ Other local names for it include chileng bundok, siling
palay, pasitis, pasite (Tagalog), katumbal, kitikot, siling kolikot
(Bisaya), silit-diablo (Ilocano), lada, rimorimo (Bicolano), and paktin


The siling labuyo plant is a perennial with small, tapering fruits, often
2-3, at a node.³ The fruits of most varieties are red, some are yellow,
purple or black. The fruits are very pungent.

In Filipino supermarkets there are now red bird's eye chilies that are
commonly labeled as siling labuyo but are actually a chili pepper variety
from the species Capsicum annuum¹ that came by way of Taiwan. These are
said to pack less heat than the native siling labuyo but are popular with
retailers because their color and shape are more consistent and thus
beautiful and have a longer shelf life.

The siling labuyo is small but packs quite a lot of heat. At one time it
was even listed as the hottest chili in the Guinness Book of World Records
but other hotter varieties of chili have since been identified. It measures
around 80,000-100,000 Scoville units which is at the lower end of the range
for the hotter habanero chili.

Ingredient in cooking

Although not as central in Filipino cuisine as bird's eye chilies are in
other cuisines of Southeast Asia, it is still an often-used ingredient. The
fruit of siling labuyo is popularly used to flavor vinegar to be used as a
spicy condiment, while its leaves are usually consumed as a vegetable, such
as in the dish Tinola.⁴ ¹

Other uses

In medicinal terms, the labuyo fruit was earlier utilized as an herbal
plant to ease arthritis, rheumatism, dyspepsia, flatulence, and toothache.⁴

It can also be used as a natural insect repellent or pesticide when mixed
with water.⁵ ⁶


[1] DeWitt, D.; Bosland, P.W. (2009). The Complete Chile Pepper Book: A
  Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking. Timber
  Press. ISBN 978-0881929201.
[2] Capsicum Frutescens Linn. Sileng-Labuyo
[3] "Hot pepper". Republic of Philippines, Department of Agriculture.
  Retrieved 3 June 2014.
[4] Nagpala, Ellaine Grace. (2007). A fresh look at siling labuyo. BAR
  Chronicle 8(10). Retrieved 2009-10-22.
[5] Aguilar, Ephraim. (2007-5-31). School teaches love for environment.
  Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
[6] anonymous. "Introduction to Natural Farming with Organic and Biological
  Technology: An Attempt to Get Back to Mother Nature".

Siling mahaba

Siling mahaba, siling haba, (long chili), siling pangsigang (chili for
sinigang), siling Tagalog (Tagalog chili), and sometimes called finger
chili,¹ is one of two common kinds of native chili found in the
Philippines, the other being siling labuyo.

The siling mahaba fruit grows to between five and seven centimeters long,
and is bright light green in color.¹ While of moderate spiciness, it is
much milder and less hot than siling labuyo.²

It is an ingredient commonly used in Philippine cuisine, spicing up dishes
like sinigang, dinuguan, pinangat, kilawin, paksiw, and sisig.¹


[1] Fenix, Micky. (2008-05-14). "Daet's Bicol Express not as hot as
  Camarines Sur's version". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved
[2] Fernandez, Doreen. (1994). Tikim: Essays on Philippine Food and
  Culture. Anvil Publishing. p. 248. ISBN 971-27-0383-5. Retrieved


"Nightshade" redirects here. For other uses, see Nightshade

The Solanaceae, or nightshades, are an economically important family of
flowering plants. The family ranges from annual and perennial herbs to
vines, lianas, epiphytes, shrubs, and trees, and includes a number of
important agricultural crops, medicinal plants, spices, weeds, and
ornamentals. Many members of the family contain potent alkaloids, and some
are highly toxic, but many cultures eat nightshades, in some cases as
staple foods. The family belongs to the order Solanales, in the asterid
group dicotyledons (Magnoliopsida).² The Solanaceae consists of about 98
genera and some 2,700 species,³ with a great diversity of habitats,
morphology and ecology.

The name Solanaceae derives from the genus Solanum, "the nightshade plant".
The etymology of the Latin word is unclear. The name may come from a
perceived resemblance of certain solanaceous flowers to the sun and its
rays. At least one species of Solanum is known as the "sunberry".
Alternatively, the name could originate from the Latin verb solari, meaning
"to soothe", presumably referring to the soothing pharmacological
properties of some of the psychoactive species of the family.

The family has a worldwide distribution, being present on all continents
except Antarctica. The greatest diversity in species is found in South
America and Central America.

The Solanaceae include a number of commonly collected or cultivated
species. The most economically important genus of the family is Solanum,
which contains the potato (S. tuberosum, in fact, another common name of
the family is the "potato family"), the tomato (S. lycopersicum), and the
eggplant or aubergine (S. melongena). Another important genus, Capsicum,
produces both chili peppers and bell peppers.

The genus Physalis produces the so-called groundcherries, as well as the
tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica), the Cape gooseberry and the Chinese
lantern. The genus Lycium contains the boxthorns and the wolfberry Lycium
barbarum. Nicotiana contains, among other species, the plant that produces
tobacco. Some other important members of Solanaceae include a number of
ornamental plants such as Petunia, Browallia, and Lycianthes, the source of
psychoactive alkaloids, Datura, Mandragora (mandrake), and Atropa
belladonna (deadly nightshade). Certain species are universally known for
their medicinal uses, their psychotropic effects, or for being poisonous.

With the exception of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum, Nicotianoideae) and
petunia (Petunia x hybrida, Petunioideae), most of the economically
important genera are contained in the subfamily Solanoideae. Finally, but
not less importantly, the Solanaceae include many model organisms which are
important in the investigation of fundamental biological questions at
cellular, molecular, and genetic levels, such as tobacco and the petunia.


Plants in the Solanaceae can take the form of herbs, shrubs, trees, vines
and lianas, and sometimes epiphytes. They can be annuals, biennials, or
perennials, upright or decumbent. Some have subterranean tubers. They do
not have laticifers, nor latex, nor coloured saps. They can have a basal or
terminal group of leaves or neither of these types. The leaves are
generally alternate or alternate to opposed (that is, alternate at the base
of the plant and opposed towards the inflorescence). The leaves can be
herbaceous, leathery, or transformed into spines. The leaves are generally
petiolate or subsessile, rarely sessile. They are frequently inodorous, but
on occasions, they are aromatic or fetid. The foliar lamina can be either
simple or compound, and the latter can be either pinnatifid or ternate. The
leaves have reticulated venation and lack a basal meristem. The laminae are
generally dorsiventral and lack secretory cavities. The stomata are
generally confined to one of a leaf's two sides; they are rarely found on
both sides.

The flowers are generally hermaphrodites, although some are monoecious,
andromonoecious, or dioecious species (such as some Solanum or
Symonanthus). Pollination is entomophilous. The flowers can be solitary or
grouped into terminal, cymose, or axillary inflorescences. The flowers are
medium-sized, fragrant (Nicotiana), fetid (Anthocercis), or inodorous. The
flowers are usually actinomorphic, slightly zygomorphic, or markedly
zygomorphic (for example, in flowers with a bilabial corolla in Schizanthus
species). The irregularities in symmetry can be due to the androecium, to
the perianth, or both at the same time. In the great majority of species,
the flowers have a differentiated perianth with a calyx and corolla (with
five sepals and five petals, respectively) an androecium with five stamens
and two carpels forming a gynoecium with a superior ovary⁴ (they are
therefore referred to as pentamers and tetracyclic). The stamens are
epipetalous and are typically present in multiples of four or five, most
commonly four or eight. They usually have a hypogynous disk. The calyx is
gamosepalous (as the sepals are joined together forming a tube), with the
(4)5(6) segments equal, it has five lobes, with the lobes shorter than the
tube, it is persistent and often accrescent. The corolla usually has five
petals that are also joined together forming a tube. Flower shapes are
typically rotate (wheel-shaped, spreading in one plane, with a short tube)
or tubular (elongated cylindrical tube), campanulated or funnel-shaped.

The androecium has (2)(4)5(6) free stamens within it, oppositsepals (that
is, they alternate with the petals), they are usually fertile or, in some
cases (for example in Salpiglossideae) they have staminodes. In the latter
case, there is usually either one staminode (Salpiglossis) or three
(Schizanthus). The anthers touch on their upper end forming a ring, or they
are completely free, dorsifixed, or basifixed with poricide dehiscence or
through small longitudinal cracks. The stamen's filament can be filliform
or flat. The stamens can be inserted inside the coralline tube or exserted.
The plants demonstrate simultaneous microsporogenesis, the microspores are
tetrad, tetrahedral, or isobilateral. The pollen grains are bicellular at
the moment of dehiscence, usually open and angular.

The gynoecium is bicarpelar (rarely three- or five-locular) with a superior
ovary and two locules, which may be secondarily divided by false septa, as
is the case for Nicandreae and Datureae. The gynoecium is located in an
oblique position relative to the flower's median plane. They have one style
and one stigma; the latter is simple or bilobate. Each locule has one to 50
ovules that are anatropous or hemianatropous with axillar placentation. The
development of the embryo sack can be the same as for Polygonum or Allium
species. The embryo sack's nuclear poles become fused before fertilization.
The three antipodes are usually ephemeral or persistent as in the case of
Atropa. The fruit can be a berry as in the case of the tomato or wolfberry]
a dehiscent capsule as in Datura, or a drupe. The fruit has axial
placentation. The capsules are normally septicidal or rarely loculicidal or
valvate. The seeds are usually endospermic, oily (rarely starchy), and
without obvious hairs. The seeds of most Solanaceae are round and flat,
about 2–4 mm (0.079–0.157 in) in diameter. The embryo can be straight or
curved, and has two cotyledons. Most species in the Solanaceae have 2n=24
chromosomes,⁵ but the number may be a higher multiple of 12 due to
polyploidy. Wild potatoes, of which there are about 200, are predominantly
diploid (2 × 12 = 24 chromosomes), but triploid (3 × 12 = 36 chromosomes),
tetraploid (4 × 12 = 48 chromosomes), pentaploid (5 × 12 = 60) and even
hexaploid (6 × 12 = 72 chromosome) species or populations exist. The
cultivated species Solanum tuberosum has 4 × 12 = 48 chromosomes. Some
Capsicum species have 2 × 12 = 24 chromosomes, while others have 26

The diversity of some characteristics

Despite the previous description, the Solanaceae exhibit a large
morphological variability, even in their reproductive characteristics.
Examples of this diversity include:⁶ ⁷

- The number of carpels that form the gynoecium

In general, the Solanaceae have a gynoecium (the female part of the flower)
formed of two carpels. However, Melananthus has a monocarpelar gynoecium,
there are three or four carpels in Capsicum, three to five in Nicandra,
some species of Jaborosa and Trianaea and four carpels in Iochroma

- The number of locules in the ovary

The number of locules in the ovary is usually the same as the number of
carpels. However, some species occur in which the numbers are not the same
due to the existence of false septa (internal walls that subdivide each
locule), such as in Datura and some members of the Lycieae (the genera
Grabowskia and Vassobia).

- Type of ovules and their number

The ovules are generally inverted, folded sharply backwards (anatropous),
but some genera have ovules that are rotated at right angles to their stalk
(campilotropous) as in Phrodus, Grabowskia or Vassobia), or are partially
inverted (hemitropous as in Cestrum, Capsicum, Schizanthus and Lycium). The
number of ovules per locule also varies from a few (two pairs in each
locule in Grabowskia, one pair in each locule in Lycium) and very
occasionally only one ovule is in each locule as for example in

- The type of fruit

The fruits of the great majority of the Solanaceae are berries or capsules
(including pyxidia) and less often drupes. Berries are common in the
subfamilies Cestroideae, Solanoideae (with the exception of Datura,
Oryctus, Grabowskia and the tribe Hyoscyameae) and the tribe Juanulloideae
(with the exception of Markea). Capsules are characteristic of the
subfamilies Cestroideae (with the exception of Cestrum) and
Schizanthoideae, the tribes Salpiglossoideae and Anthocercidoideae, and the
genus Datura. The tribe Hyoscyameae has pyxidia. Drupes are typical of the
Lycieae tribe and in Iochrominae.


Alkaloids are nitrogenous organic substances produced by plants as a
secondary metabolite and which have an intense physiological action on
animals even at low doses. Solanaceae are known for having a diverse range
of alkaloids. To humans, these alkaloids can be desirable, toxic, or both.
The tropanes are the most well-known of the alkaloids found in the
Solanaceae. The plants that contain these substances have been used for
centuries as poisons. However, despite being recognized as poisons, many of
these substances have invaluable pharmaceutical properties. Many species
contain a variety of alkaloids that can be more or less active or
poisonous, such as scopolamine, atropine, hyoscyamine, and nicotine. They
are found in plants such as the henbane (Hyoscyamus albus), belladonna
(Atropa belladonna), datura or jimson (Datura stramonium), mandrake
(Mandragora autumnalis), tobacco, and others. Some of the main types of
alkaloids are:

- Solanine: A toxic glycoalkaloid with a bitter taste, it has the formula
  C₄₅H₇₃NO₁₅. It is formed by the alkaloid solanidine with a carbohydrate
  side chain. It is found in leaves, fruit, and tubers of various
  Solanaceae such as the potato and tomato. Its production is thought to be
  an adaptive defence strategy against herbivores. Substance intoxication
  from solanine is characterized by gastrointestinal disorders (diarrhoea,
  vomiting, abdominal pain) and neurological disorders (hallucinations and
  headache). The median lethal dose is between 2 and 5 mg per kg of body
  weight. Symptoms become manifest 8 to 12 hr after ingestion. The amount
  of these glycoalkaloids in potatoes, for example, varies significantly
  depending of environmental conditions during their cultivation, the
  length of storage, and the variety. The average glycoalkaloid
  concentration is 0.075 mg/g of potato.⁸ Solanine has occasionally been
  responsible for poisonings in people who ate berries from species such as
  Solanum nigrum or Solanum dulcamara, or green potatoes.⁹ ¹⁰
- Tropanes: The term "tropane" comes from a genus in which they are found,
  Atropa (the belladonna genus). Atropa is named after the Greek Fate,
  Atropos, who cut the thread of life. This nomenclature reflects its
  toxicity and lethality. They are bicyclic organic nitrogen compounds
  (IUPAC nomenclature: 8-Methyl-8-azabicyclo[3.2.1]octane), with the
  chemical formula of C₈H₁₅N. These alkaloids include, among others,
  atropine, cocaine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine. They are found in
  various species, such as mandrake (Mandragora autumnalis), black henbane
  or stinking nightshade (Hyoscyamus niger), belladonna (Atropa belladonna)
  the stramonium (Datura stramonium) and Brugmansia species, as well as
  many others in the Solanaceae family.¹¹ Pharmacologically, they are the
  most powerful known anticholinergics in existence, meaning they inhibit
  the neurological signals transmitted by the endogenous neurotransmitter,
  acetylcholine. More commonly, they can halt many types of allergic
  reactions. Symptoms of overdose may include dry mouth, dilated pupils,
  ataxia, urinary retention, hallucinations, convulsions, coma, and death.
  Atropine, a commonly used ophthalmological agent, dilates the pupils and
  thus facilitates examination of the interior of the eye. In fact, juice
  from the berries of A. belladonna were used by Italian courtesans during
  the Renaissance to exaggerate the size of their eyes by causing the
  dilation of their pupils. Despite the extreme toxicity of the tropanes,
  they are useful drugs when administered in extremely small dosages. They
  can reverse cholinergic poisoning, which can be caused by overexposure to
  organophosphate insecticides and chemical warfare agents such as sarin
  and VX. Scopolamine (found in Hyoscyamus muticus and Scopolia
  atropioides), is used as an antiemetic against motion sickness or for
  people suffering from nausea as a result of receiving chemotherapy.¹² ¹³
  Scopolamine and hyoscyamine are the most widely used tropane alkaloids in
  pharmacology and medicine due to their effects on the parasympathetic
  nervous system. Atropine has a stimulant effect on the central nervous
  system and heart, whereas scopolamine has a sedative effect. These
  alkaloids cannot be substituted by any other class of compounds, so they
  are still in demand. This is one of the reasons for the development of an
  active field of research into the metabolism of the alkaloids, the
  enzymes involved, and the genes that produce them. Hyoscyamine 6-β
  hydroxylase, for example, catalyses the hydroxylation of hyoscyamine that
  leads to the production of scopolamine at the end of the tropane's
  biosynthetic pathway. This enzyme has been isolated and the corresponding
  gene cloned from three species: H. niger, A. belladonna and B. candida.¹⁴
  ¹⁵ ¹⁶
- Nicotine: Nicotine (IUPAC nomenclature (S)-3-(1-methylpyrrolidin-2-il)
  pyridine) is a pyrrolidine alkaloid produced in large quantities in the
  tobacco plant (Nicotiana tabacum), but is also found in lower
  concentrations in other species such as the potato, tomato, and pepper.
  Its function in a plant is to act as a defence against herbivores, as it
  is an excellent neurotoxin, in particular against insects. In fact,
  nicotine has been used for many years as an insecticide, although its use
  is currently being replaced by synthetic molecules derived from its
  structure. At low concentrations, nicotine acts as a stimulant in
  mammals, which causes the dependency in smokers. Like the tropanes, it
  acts on cholinergic neurons, but with the opposite effect (it is an
  agonist as opposed to an antagonist). It has a higher specificity for
  nicotinic acetylcholine receptors than other ACh proteins.
- Capsaicin: Capsaicin (IUPAC nomenclature
  8-methyl-N-vanillyl-trans-6-nonenamide) is structurally different from
  nicotine and the tropanes. It is found in species of the genus Capsicum,
  which includes chillies and habaneros and it is the active ingredient
  that determines the Scoville rating of these spices. The compound is not
  noticeably toxic to humans. However, it stimulates specific pain
  receptors in the majority of mammals, specifically those related to the
  perception of heat in the oral mucosa and other epithelial tissues. When
  capsaicin comes into contact with these mucosae, it causes a burning
  sensation little different from a burn caused by fire. Capsaicin affects
  only mammals, not birds. Pepper seeds can survive the digestive tracts of
  birds; their fruit becomes brightly coloured once its seeds are mature
  enough to germinate, thereby attracting the attention of birds that then
  distribute the seeds. Capsaicin extract is used to make pepper spray, a
  useful deterrent against aggressive mammals.


Even though the Solanaceae are found on all the continents except
Antarctica, the greatest variety of species are found in Central America
and South America.Another two centres of diversity include Australia and
Africa. They occupy a great number of different ecosystems, from deserts to
rainforests, and they are often found in the secondary vegetation that
colonizes disturbed areas.In general, the plants are of trpical and
temperate distribution.In Pakistan 14 genera and 52 species are reported.


The following taxonomic synopsis of the solanaceas, including subfamilies,
tribes and genera, is based on the most recent molecular phylogenetics
studies of the family:² ³ ¹⁷ ¹⁸

Cestroideae (Browallioideae)

This subfamily is characterised by the presence of pericyclic fibres, an
androecium with four or five stamens, frequently didynamous. The basic
chromosome numbers are highly variable, from x=7 to x=13. The subfamily
consists of eight genera (divided into three tribes) and about 195 species
distributed throughout the Americas. The Cestrum genus is the most
important, as it contains 175 of the 195 species in the subfamily. The
Cestreae tribe is unusual because it includes taxa with long chromosomes
(from 7.21 to 11.511 µm in length), when the rest of the family generally
possesses short chromosomes (for example between 1.5 and 3.52 µm in the

- Browallieae Hunz. (1995)
  + Browallia L. (1754), genus with six species distributed throughout the
    neotropic ecozone to Arizona in the United States
  + Streptosolen Miers (1850), monotypic genus native to the Andes
- Cestreae tribe Don (1838), three genera of woody plants, generally shrubs
  + Cestrum L. (1753), some 175 species distributed throughout the
    neotropic ecozone
  + Sessea Ruiz & Pav. (1794), 16 species from the Andes
  + Vestia Willd. (1809), monotypic genus from Chile
- Salpiglossideae tribe (Benth.) Hunz.
  + Reyesia Gay (1840), four species, distributed throughout Argentina and
  + Salpiglossis Ruiz & Pav. (1794), two species originating from southern
    South America


This subfamily is characterized by the presence of drupes as fruit and
seeds with curved embryos and large fleshy cotyledons. The basic chromosome
number is x=13. It includes four genera and five species distributed
throughout the Greater Antilles. Some authors suggest their molecular data
indicate the monotypic genera Tsoala Bosser & D'Arcy (1992) should be
included in this subfamily, endemic to Madagascar, and Metternichia to the
southeast of Brazil. Goetzeaceae Airy Shaw is considered as a synonym of
this subfamily.¹⁹

- Coeloneurum Radlk. (1890), monotypic genus endemic to Hispaniola
- Espadaea Rchb. (1850), monotypic, from Cuba
- Goetzea Wydler (1830), includes two species from the Antilles
- Henoonia Griseb. (1866), monotypic, originating in Cuba


Molecular phylogenetics indicates that Petunioideae is the sister clade of
the subfamilies with chromosome number x=12 (Solanoideae and
Nicotianoideae). They contain calistegins, alkaloids similar to the
tropanes. The androecium is formed of four stamens (rarely five), usually
with two different lengths. The basic chromosome number of this subfamily
can be x=7, 8, 9 or 11. It consists of 13 genera and some 160 species
distributed throughout Central and South America. Molecular data suggest
the genera originated in Patagonia. Benthamiella, Combera, and Pantacantha
form a clade that can be categorized as a tribe (Benthamielleae) that
should be in the subfamily Goetzeoideae.

- Benthamiella Speg. (1883), 12 species native to Patagonia
- Bouchetia Dunal (1852), three neotropical species
- Brunfelsia L. (1753), around 45 species from the neotropics
- Combera Sandw. (1936), two species from Patagonia
- Fabiana Ruiz & Pav. (1794), 15 species native to the Andes
- Hunzikeria D'Arcy (1976), three species from the southwest United States
  and Mexico
- Latua Phil. (1858), one species from the south of Chile
- Leptoglossis Benth. (1845), seven species from western South America
- Nierembergia Ruiz & Pav. (1794), 21 species from South America
- Pantacantha Speg. (1902), monospecific genus from Patagonia
- Calibrachoa Cerv. ex La Llave & Lex. consists of 32 species from the
  neotropics. The morphological data suggest this genus should be included
  within the Petunia. However, the molecular and cytogenetic data indicate
  both should be kept separate. In fact, Calibrachoa has a basic chromosome
  number x=9, while that of Petunia is x=7.²⁰ ²¹
- Petunia (Juss.) Wijsman (1803), 18 species from South America
- Plowmania Hunz. & Subils (1986), monotypic genus from Mexico and


The Schizanthoideae include annual and biennial plants with tropane
alkaloids, without pericyclic fibres, with characteristic hair and pollen
grains. The flowers are zygomorphic. The androecium has two stamens and
three stamenodes, anther dehiscence is explosive. The embryo is curved. The
basic chromosome number is x=10. Schizanthus is a somewhat atypical genus
among the Solanaceae due to its strongly zygomorphic flowers and basic
chromosome number. Morphological and molecular data suggest Schizanthus is
a sister genus to the other Solanaceae and diverged early from the rest,
probably in the late Cretaceous or in the early Cenozoic, 50 million years
ago.¹⁷ ¹⁸ The great diversity of flower types within Schizanthus has been
the product of the species' adaptation to the different types of
pollinators that existed in the Mediterranean, high alpine, and desert
ecosystems then present in Chile and adjacent areas of Argentina.²²

- Schizanthus Ruiz et Pav. (1794), 12 species originating from Chile.


Annual plants with pericyclic fibres, their flowers are zygomorphic, the
androecium has four didynamous stamens or three stamenodes; the embryo is
straight and short. The basic chromosome number is x=12. It includes four
genera and some 30 species distributed throughout South America.

- Heteranthia Nees & Mart. (1823), one species from Brazil
- Melananthus Walp. (1850), five species from Brazil, Cuba, and Guatemala
- Protoschwenckia Soler (1898), monotypic genus from Bolivia and Brazil,
  some molecular phylogenetic studies have suggested this genus has an
  uncertain taxonomic position within the subfamily
- Schwenckia L. (1764), 22 species distributed throughout the neotropical
  regions of America


- Anthocercideae G. Don (1838): This tribe, endemic to Australia, contains
  31 species in seven genera. Molecular phylogenetic studies of the tribe
  indicate it is the sister of Nicotiana, and the genera Anthocercis,
  Anthotroche, Grammosolen, and Symonanthus are monophyletic. Some
  characteristics are also thought to be derived from within the tribe,
  such as the unilocular stamens with semicircular opercula, bracteolate
  flowers, and berries as fruit.²³
  + Anthocercis Labill. (1806), 10 species, Australia
  + Anthotroche Endl. (1839), four species, Australia
  + Crenidium Haegi (1981), monotypic genus, Australia
  + Cyphanthera Miers (1853), 9 species, Australia
  + Duboisia R.Br. (1810), four species, Australia
  + Gramnosolen Haegi (1981), two species, Australia
  + Symonanthus Haegi (1981), two species, Australia
- Nicotianeae tribe Dum. (1827)
  + Nicotiana L. (1754), genus widely distributed, with 52 American
    species, 23 Australian, and one African


- Capsiceae Dumort (1827)
  + Capsicum L. (1753), includes some 31 neotropical species
  + Lycianthus (Dunal) Hassler (1917), some 200 species distributed
    throughout America and Asia
- Datureae G. Don (1838), two genera are perfectly differentiated at both
  the morphological and molecular levels, Brugmansia includes tree species,
  while Datura contains herbs or shrubs, the latter genus can be divided
  into three sections: Stramonium, Dutra and Ceratocaulis.²⁴
  + Brugmansia Persoon (1805), six species from the Andes
  + Datura L. (1753), 11 neotropical species
- Hyoscyameae Endl. (1839)
  + Anisodus Link (1825), four species from China, India and the Himalayas
  + Atropa L. (1753), three Euro-Asiatic species
  + Atropanthe Pascher (1909), monotypic genus from China
  + Hyoscyamus L. (1753), around 20 species distributed from the
    Mediterranean to China
  + Physochlaina G. Don (1838), 11 Euro-Asiatic species
  + Przewalskia Maxim. (1881), one species from China
  + Scopolia Jacq. (1764), disjointed distribution with one European
    species and another from Japan
- Jaboroseae Miers (1849)
  + Jaborosa Juss. (1789), genus that includes 23 species from South
- Solandreae Miers (1849)
  + Subtribe Juanulloinae consists 10 genera of trees and epiphytic shrubs
    with a neotropical distribution .²⁵ Some of these genera (Dyssochroma,
    Merinthopodium and Trianaea) show a clear dependency on various species
    of bats both for pollination and dispersion of seeds.²⁶
    * Dyssochroma Miers (1849), two species from the south of Brazil
    * Ectozoma Miers (1849)
    * Hawkesiophyton Hunz. (1977)
    * Juanulloa Ruiz et Pav. (1794), 11 species from South and Central
    * Markea Rich. (1792), 9 species from South and Central America
    * Merinthopodium J. Donn. Sm. (1897) three species originating from
      South America
    * Rahowardiana D' Arcy (1973)
    * Schultesianthus Hunz. (1977), eight neotropical species
    * Trianaea Planch. et Linden (1853), six South American species
  + Subtribe Solandrinae, a monotypical subtribe, differs from Juanulloinae
    in that its embryos have incumbent cotyledons and semi-inferior
  + Solandra Sw. (1787), 10 species from the neotropical regions of America
- Lycieae Hunz. (1977) has three genera of woody plants which grow in arid
  or semiarid climates. The cosmopolitan genus 'Lycium is the oldest in the
  tribe and it has the greatest morphological variability.²⁷ Molecular
  phylogenetic studies suggest both Grabowskia and Phrodus should be
  included in the Lycium²⁸ and this genus, along with Nolana and
  Sclerophylax',' form a clade (Lyciina), which currently lacks a taxonomic
  category.¹⁹ The red fleshy berries dispersed by birds are the main type
  of fruit in Lycium. The different types of fruit in this genus have
  evolved from the type of berry just mentioned to a drupe with a reduced
  number of seeds.²⁹
  + Grabowskia Schltdl. (1832), three species from South America
  + Lycium L. (1753), 83 cosmopolitan species
  + Phrodus Miers (1849), two species endemic to the north of Chile
- Mandragoreae (Wettst.) Hunz. & Barboza (1995) tribe does not have a
  defined systematic position according to molecular phylogenetic
  + Mandragora L. (1753), two species from Eurasia
- Nicandreae Wettst. (1891) is a tribe with two South American genera.
  Molecular phylogenetic studies indicate the genera are not interrelated
  nor are they related with other genera of the family, so their taxonomic
  position is uncertain.¹⁹
  + Exodeconus Raf. (1838), six species from western South America
  + Nicandra Adans (1763), one species distributed throughout neotropical
- Nolaneae Rchb. (1837) are mostly herbs and small shrubs with succulent
  leaves, they have very beautiful flowers that range from white to various
  shades of blue, their fruit is schizocarpal, giving rise to various nuts.
  + Nolana L. (1762), 89 species distributed throughout western South
- Physaleae Miers (1849), is a large tribe that is the sister of Capsiceae.
  + Subtribe Iochrominae (Miers) Hunz., a clade within the Physaleae tribe.
    contains 37 species, mainly distributed in the Andes, assigned to six
    genera. The members of this subtribe are characterized by being woody
    shrubs or small trees with attractive tubular or rotated flowers. They
    also possess great floral diversity, containing every type is present
    in the family. Their flowers can be red, orange, yellow, green, blue,
    purple, or white. The corolla can be tubular to rotated, with a
    variation of up to eight times in the length of the tube between the
    various species.³⁰
    * Acnistus Schott (1829), one species distributed throughout the
    * Dunalia Kunth. (1818), five species from the Andes
    * Iochroma Benth. (1845), 24 species from the Andes
    * Saracha Ruiz et Pav. (1794), two species from the Andes.
    * Vassobia Rusby (1927), two South American species
    * Eriolarynx Hunz.(2000), three species from Argentina and Bolivia
  + Physalinae (Miers) Hunz. (2000), a monophyletic subtribe, contains 10
    genera and includes herbs or woody shrubs with yellow, white, or purple
    solitary axillary flowers pollinated by bees. Once pollination occurs,
    the corolla falls and the calyx expands until it entirely covers the
    boll that is developing (the calyx is called accrescent). In many
    species, the calyx turns yellow or orange on maturity. The berries
    contain many greenish to yellow-orange seeds, often with red or purple
    * Brachistus Miers (1849), three species from Mexico and Central
    * Chamaesaracha (A.Gray) Benth. et Hook. (1896), has 10 species from
      Mexico and Central America.
    * Leucophysalis Rydberg (1896), includes 3 species from the south west
      of the United States and Mexico.
    * Margaranthus Schlecht. (1830), with 1 species from Mexico.
    * Oryctes S. Watson (1871), monotypic genus from the south west of the
      United States.
    * Quincula Raf. (1832) with just 1 species from the south west of the
      United States and from Mexico.
    * Physalis L. (1753), the largest genus of the subtribe, with 85
      species distributed through the tropical regions of the Americas and
      with 1 species in China.
    * Witheringia L' Heritier (1788), genus with 15 species from
      neotropical regions.
    * Tzeltalia, genus segregated from Physalis, with 2 species distributed
      throughout Mexico and Guatemala.
    * Darcyanthus, genus with just 1 specie originating in Bolivia and
  + Subtribe Salpichroinae, this is a subtribe of Physaleae that includes
    16 American species distributed in 1 genera:
    * Nectouxia Kunth. (1818), monotypic genus that is endemic to Mexico.
    * Salpichroa Miers (1845), genus with 15 species from the Andes and
      other regions of South America.
  + Subtribe Withaninae, is a subtribe of Physaleae with a broad
    distribution, including 9 genera:
    * Archiphysalis Kuang (1966), with 3 species from China and Japan.
    * Athenaea Sendtn. (1846), which includes 7 species from Brazil.
    * Aureliana Sendt. (1846), with 5 species from South America.
    * Melissia Hook. f. (1867), monotypic genus from Santa Elena with the
      common name St. Elena boxwood.
    * Physalisastrum Makino (1914), with 9 Asiatic species.
    * Tubocapsicum (Wettst.) Makino (1908), with just one species endemic
      to China.
    * Withania Pauq.(1825), with 10 species native to the Canary Islands,
      Africa and Nepal.
    * Cuatresia Hunz. (1977), with 11 neotropical species. Molecular
      studies indicate that this genus, along with Deprea and Larnax has an
      uncertain taxonomic position.¹⁹
    * Deprea Raf. (1838), with 6 neotropical species.
    * Larnax Miers (1849), many taxonomists consider it to be a synonym for
      Deprea, contains 22 species native to the Andes.
- Tribe Solaneae (1852). The genera Cyphomandra Sendtn. (1845), Discopodium
  Hochst. (1844), Normania Lowe (1872), Triguera Cav. (1786) and
  Lycopersicum Mill have been transferred to Solanum. The subtribe is
  therefore composed of two genera:¹⁹
    * Jaltomata Schltdl. (1838), which contains 50 neotropical species.
    * Solanum L. (1753), the largest genus in the family and one of the
      broadest of the angiosperms, with 1,328 species distributed across
      the whole world.
- Genera with doubtful taxonomic positions (Incertae sedis)

The following genera have still not been placed in any of the recognized
subfamilies within the solanaceas.

- Duckeodendron Kuhlmannb (1925), monotypic genus from the Amazon
- Parabouchetia Baillon (1888),poorly-known,monotypic genus from Brazil.
- Pauia Deb. & Dutta (1965),monotypic genus from Assam and Arunachal
  Pradesh in N.E.India

Genera and distribution of species

The Solanaceae contain 98 genera and some 2,700 species. Despite this
immense richness of species, they are not uniformly distributed between the
genera. The eight most important genera contain more than 60% of the
species, as shown in the table below. Solanum – the genus that typifies the
family - includes nearly 50% of the total species of the solanaceas.

Economic importance

The solanaceas include such important food species as the potato (Solanum
tuberosum), the tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), the pepper (Capsicum annuum)
and the aubergine or egg plant (Solanum melongena). Nicotiana tabacum,
originally from South America, is now cultivated throughout the world to
produce tobacco. Many solanaceas are important weeds in various parts of
the world. Their importance lies in the fact that they can host pathogens
or diseases of the cultivated plants, therefore their presence increases
the loss of yield or the quality of the harvested product. An example of
this can be seen with Acnistus arborescens and Browalia americana that host
thrips, which cause damage to associated cultivated plants,³² and certain
species of Datura that play host to various types of virus that are later
transmitted to cultivated solanaceas.³³ Some species of weeds such as, for
example Solanum mauritianum in South Africa represent such serious
ecological and economic problems that studies are being carried out with
the objective of developing a biological control through the use of

Various solanaceas species are grown as ornamental trees or shrubs.³⁵
Examples include Brugmansia x candida ("Angel's Trumpet") grown for its
large pendulous trumpet-shaped flowers, or Brunfelsia latifolia, whose
flowers are very fragrant and change colour from violet to white over a
period of 3 days. Other shrub species that are grown for their attractive
flowers are Lycianthes rantonnetii (Blue Potato Bush or Paraguay
Nightshade) with violet-blue flowers and Nicotiana glauca ("Tree Tobacco")
Other solanacea species and genera that are grown as ornamentals are the
petunia (Petunia × hybrida), Lycium, Solanum, Cestrum, Calibrachoa ×
hybrida and Solandra. There is even a hybrid between Petunia and
Calibrachoa (which constitutes a new nothogenus called × Petchoa G. Boker &
J. Shaw) that is being sold as an ornamental.³⁶ ³⁷ Many other species, in
particular those that produce alkaloids, are used in pharmacology and
medicine (Nicotiana, Hyoscyamus, and Datura).

Solanaceas and the genome

Many of the species belonging to this family, among them tobacco and the
tomato, are model organisms that are used for research into fundamental
biological questions. One of the aspects of the solanaceas' genomics is an
international project that is trying to understand how the same collection
of genes and proteins can give rise to a group of organisms that are so
morphologically and ecologically different. The first objective of this
project was to sequence the genome of the tomato. In order to achieve this
each of the 12 chromosomes of the tomato's haploid genome was assigned to
different sequencing centres in different countries. So chromosomes 1 and
10 were sequenced in the United States, 3 and 11 in China, 2 in Korea, 4 in
Britain, 5 in India, 7 in France, 8 in Japan, 9 in Spain and 12 in Italy.
The sequencing of the mitochondrial genome was carried out in Argentina and
the chloroplast genome was sequenced in the European Union.³⁸ ³⁹

See also

- List of plants poisonous to equines
- Solanaceae Resources on the Web
- Jäpelt RB, Jakobsen J (2013) Vitamin D in plants: a review of occurrence,
  analysis, and biosynthesis. Front Plant Sci 4, No. 136 -- Note the
  reference to higher cholesterol levels (and consequent Vitamin D3 levels)
  in family Solanaceae


[1] "Solanaceae Juss., nom. cons.". Germplasm Resources Information
  Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2007-04-12. Retrieved
[2] Olmstead, R. G., J. A. Sweere, R. E. Spangler, L. Bohs, and J. D.
  Palmer. 1999. Phylogeny and provisional classification of the Solanaceae
  based on chloroplast DNA. Pp. 111-137. In: Solanaceae IV: advances in
  biology and utilization, M. Nee, D. E. Symon, R. N. Lester, and J. P.
  Jessop (eds.). The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
[3] Olmstead, R.G. and Bohs, L. 2007. A Summary of molecular systematic
  research in Solanaceae: 1982-2006. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 745:255-268
[4] Yasin J. Nasir. "Solanaceae". Flora of Pakistan.
[5] Fujii, Kenjiro (1934). Cytologia. Botanical Institute. p. 281.
[6] Hunziker, A.T. 1979: South American Solanaceae: a synoptic review. In:
  D'ARCY, W.G., 1979: The Biology and Taxonomy of the Solanaceae. Linn.
  Soc. Symp. Ser. 7: p 48-85. Linnean Soc. & Academic Press; London.
[8] Zeiger, E. 1998. Solanine and Chaconine. Review of Toxicological
  Literature. Integrated Laboratory Systems, USA.
[9] "Solanine poisoning". Br Med J. 2 (6203): 1458–9. 1979-12-08.
  doi:10.1136/bmj.2.6203.1458-a. PMC 1597169. PMID 526812.
[10] Alexander RF, Forbes GB, Hawkins ES (1948-09-11). "A Fatal Case of
  Solanine Poisoning". Br Med J. 2 (4575): 518. doi:10.1136/bmj.2.4575.518.
  PMC 2091497. PMID 18881287.
[11] Griffin WJ, Lin GD (March 2000). "Chemotaxonomy and geographical
  distribution of tropane alkaloids". Phytochemistry 53 (6): 623–37.
  doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(99)00475-6. PMID 10746874.
[12] Sneden, A. The tropane alkaloids. Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Design.
  Virginia Commonwealth University
[13] Evans, W.C. 1979. Tropane alkaloids of the Solanaceae. En: HAWKES,
  LESTER and SHELDING (eds.). The biology and taxonomy of the Solanaceae.
  Linn. Soc. Symp. Ser. 7:241-254. Linnean Soc. & Academic Press., London.
[14] MATSUDA, J.; OKABE, S.; HASHIMOTO, T. and YAMADA, Y. Molecular cloning
  of hyoscyamine 6 beta-hydroxylase, a 2-oxoglutarate- dependent
  dioxygenase, from cultured roots of Hyoscyamus niger. Journal of
  Biological Chemistry, 1991, vol. 266, no. 15, p. 9460-9464.
  Functional expression of tropinone reductase I (trI) and
  hyoscyamine-6β-hydroxylase (h6h) from Hyoscyamus niger in Nicotiana
  tabacum. Plant Science, 2002, vol. 162, no. 6, p. 905-913
[16] CARDILLO, Alejandra B., GIULIETTI, Ana M. y MARCONI, Patricia L.
  Analysis and sequencing of h6hmRNA, last enzyme in the tropane alkaloids
  pathway from anthers and hairy root cultures of Brugmansia candida
  (Solanaceae). Electron. J. Biotechnol. [online]. June 2006, vol.9, no.3
[17] Olmster, R.G. & J. Palmer. 1992. A chloroplast DNA phylogeny of the
  solanaceae: subfamilial relationships and character evolution. Annals
  Missouri Botanical Garden 79 (2):346-360.
[18] Martins TR, Barkman TJ (2005) Reconstruction of Solanaceae Phylogeny
  Using the Nuclear Gene SAMT. Systematic Botany: Vol. 30, No. 2 pp.
[19] Olmstead, R.G. and Bohs, L. 2007. A Summary of molecular systematic
  research in Solanaceae: 1982-2006. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 745:255-268
[20] Ando, T, Kokubun, H., Marchesi, E., Suárez, E. & Basualdo, I. 2005.
  Phylogenetic Analysis of Petunia sensu Jussieu (Solanaceae) using
  Chloroplast DNA RFLP. Ann. Bot. 96(2): 289 - 297.
[21] Kei-Ichiro Mishiba , Toshio Ando , Masahiro Mii , Hitoshi Watanabe ,
  Hisashi Kokubun , Goro Hashimoto , and Eduardo Marchesi. 2000. Nuclear
  DNA Content as an Index Character Discriminating Taxa in the Genus
  Petunia sensu Jussieu (Solanaceae). Ann Bot 85: 665-673.
[22] Perez, F., Arroyo, M., Medel, R. & M. Herskovitz. 2006. Ancestral
  reconstruction of flower morphology and pollination systems in
  Schizanthus (Solanaceae). American Journal of Botany 93(7): 1029–1038.
[23] Garcia VF, Olmstead RG (2003) Phylogenetics of Tribe Anthocercideae
  (Solanaceae) Based on ndhF and trnL/F Sequence Data. Systematic Botany
  28, No. 3 pp. 609–615
[24] Mace, E. S. C. G. Gebhardt, R. N. Lester. 1999. AFLP analysis of
  genetic relationships in the tribe Datureae (Solanaceae). Theoretical and
  Applied Genetics 99, (3-4): 634-641
[25] Knapp, S., V. Persson & S. Blackmore. 1997. A Phylogenetic Conspectus
  of the Tribe Juanulloeae (Solanaceae). Annals of the Missouri Botanical
  Garden, Vol. 84, No. 1: 67-89
[26] Sazima, M. ; Buzato, S.; Sazima, I. 2003. Dyssochroma viridiflorum
  (Solanaceae): a Reproductively Bat-dependent Epiphyte from the Atlantic
  Rainforest in Brazil. Annals of Botany. 92(5):725-730.
[27] Bernardello, L.M. 1987. Comparative Floral Morphology in Lycieae
  (Solanaceae). Brittonia, Vol. 39, No. 1:112-129
[28] Levin, R.A. & Miller, J.S. 2005. Relationships within tribe Lycieae
  (Solanaceae): paraphyly of Lycium and multiple origins of gender
  dimorphism. American Journal of Botany. 2005;92:2044-2053
[29] Bernardello, L. & F. Chiang-Cabrera. 1998.A cladistic study on the
  American species of Lycium (Solanaceae) based on morphological variation.
  Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 68:
[30] DeWitt Smith, S. & David A. Baum. 2006. Phylogenetics of the florally
  diverse Andean clade Iochrominae (Solanaceae). American Journal of Botany
[31] Whitson, M. & P.S. Manos. 2005. Untangling Physalis (Solanaceae) from
  the physaloids: a two-gene phylogeny of the Physalinae. Systematic Botany
  30: 216-230.
[32] Masis, C. & Madrigal, R. 1994. Lista preliminar de malezas hospedantes
  de Thrips (Thysanoptera) que dañan al Chrysanthemum morifolium en el
  valle central de Costa Rica. Agronomía Costarricense 18(1): 99-101. 1994
[33] Ormeño, J., Sepúlveda R., Rojas, R. Malezas del género Datura como
  factor epidemiológico del virus del mosaico de la alfalfa (amv), virus
  del mosaico del pepino (cmv) y virus y de la papa (pvy) en Solanáceas
  cultivadas. Agricultura técnica Vol. 66, Nº. 4, 2006, 333-341 Summary in
[34] Pedrosa-Macedo, J., Olckers, T. & Vitorino, M. 2003. Phytophagous
  arthropods associated with Solanum mauritianum Scopoli (Solanaceae) in
  the first Plateau of Paraná, Brazil: a cooperative project on biological
  control of weeds between Brazil and South Africa. Neotrop. Entomol. 32:
  519-522. Article in English, with a summary in Portuguese
[35] Arboles ornamentales cultivados en España. Solanáceas
[36] Shaw, J. 2007. A new hybrid genus for Calibrachoa × Petunia
  (Solanaceae). HANBURYANA 2: 50–51
[37] The Value of Growing Petchoa SuperCal®. Ornamental News Oct 25 2012
[38] International Tomato Sequencing Project Home
[39] International Solanaceae Genomics Project (SOL), Systems Approach to
  Diversity and Adaptation.
- D'Arcy, William G. (1986). Solanaceae. Columbia University Press. ISBN
- Stevens, P. F. (2001 onwards). "Solanaceae". Angiosperm Phylogeny
  Website, version 8, June 2007. Última actualización de la sección:
  11-03-2007. Retrieved 04-11-2007. Check date values in: |date=,
  |accessdate= (help)
- Watson, L.; Dallwitz, , M. J. "Solanaceae". The families of flowering
  plants: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information
  retrieval. Version: 1st June 2007. Retrieved 04-11-2007. Check date
  values in: |accessdate= (help)
- Dimitri, M. 1987. Enciclopedia Argentina de Agricultura y Jardinería.
  Tomo I. Descripción de plantas cultivadas. Editorial ACME S.A.C.I.,
  Buenos Aires.
- "Solanaceae Source". Retrieved 2007-11-17.
- Hunziker, Armando T. 2001. The Genera of Solanaceae. A.R.G. Gantner
  Verlag K.G., Ruggell, Liechtenstein. ISBN 3-904144-77-4.

Further reading

- Hawkes, J. G.; Lester, R. N.; Skelding, A. D. (1979). The biology and
  taxonomy of the Solanaceae. Academic Press, London. ISBN 0-12-333150-1.
- D'Arcy, William G. (1986). Solanacea. Columbia University Press. ISBN
- Radford, Albert E. (1986). Fundamentals of Plant Systematics. Harper &
  Row, Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-06-045305-2.

External links

- Sol Genomics Network
- Solanaceae Network - pictures of plants
- Solanaceae Source - A worldwide taxonomic monograph of all species in the
  genus Solanum.
- Solanaceae of Chile, by Chileflora
- Solanaceae in L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz (1992 onwards). The families of
  flowering plants: descriptions, illustrations, identification,
  information retrieval.
- Solanaceae in USDA Plants Database.
- Family Solanaceae Flowers in Israel
- SOL Genomics Network, Universidad de Cornell
- Imagines de various species of Solanaceae
- Solanaceae de Chile, by Chileflora
- Solanaceae Source, site with abundant information regarding Solanaceas
- Chilli: La especia del Nuevo Mundo (Article in Spanish by Germán Octavio
  López Riquelme regarding the biology, nutrition, culture and medical
  aspects of Chile.


The Solanales are an order of flowering plants, included in the asterid
group of dicotyledons. Some older sources used the name Polemoniales for
this order.

The following families are included here in newer systems such as that of
the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG):

- Family Solanaceae (nightshade family; includes Nolanaceae as well as
  potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, tobacco, and petunias.)
- Family Convolvulaceae (morning glory and sweet potato)
- Family Montiniaceae
- Family Sphenocleaceae
- Family Hydroleaceae

The APG II classification treats the Solanales in the group Euasterids I.

Under the older Cronquist system, the latter three families were placed
elsewhere, and a number of others were included:

- Family Duckeodendraceae (now treated as a synonym of Solanaceae)
- Family Nolanaceae (now treated as a synonym of Solanaceae)
- Family Cuscutaceae (now treated as a synonym of Convolvulaceae)
- Family Retziaceae (now treated as a synonym of Stilbaceae, order
- Family Menyanthaceae (now placed in order Asterales)
- Family Polemoniaceae (now placed in order Ericales)
- Family Hydrophyllaceae (now treated as a synonym of Boraginaceae)



[1] Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2009), An update of the Angiosperm
  Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering
  plants: APG III, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161 (2):
  105–121, doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x, retrieved 2010-12-10
[2] Reveal, James L. (2011). "Summary of recent systems of angiosperm
  classification". Kew Bulletin (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) 66: 5–48.
[3] Reveal, James L. (1998–onward). "Indices Nominum Supragenericorum
  Plantarum Vascularium – S, Solanales". Indices Nominum Supragenericorum
  Plantarum Vascularium Alphabetical Listing by Genera of Validly Published
  Suprageneric Names. University of Maryland and Cornell University. Check
  date values in: |date= (help)

External links

- "Solanales". Integrated Taxonomic Information System.
- Systema Naturae 2000

Media related to Solanales at Wikimedia Commons

South America

"Southern America" redirects here. For the United States region, see
Southern United States.

South America is a continent located in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in
the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern
Hemisphere. It can also be considered as a subcontinent of the Americas.¹

It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east
by the Atlantic Ocean; North America and the Caribbean Sea lie to the
northwest. It includes twelve sovereign states – Argentina, Bolivia,
Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname,
Uruguay, and Venezuela – and two non-sovereign areas – French Guiana, an
overseas department of France, and the Falkland Islands, a British Overseas
Territory (though disputed by Argentina). In addition to this, the ABC
islands of the Netherlands may also be considered part of South America.

South America has an area of 17,840,000 square kilometers (6,890,000 sq
mi). Its population as of 2005 has been estimated at more than 371,090,000.
South America ranks fourth in area (after Asia, Africa, and North America)
and fifth in population (after Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America).

Most of the population lives near the western or eastern coasts of the
continent while the interior and the far south are sparsely populated. The
geography of western South America is dominated by the Andes mountains; in
contrast, the eastern part contains both highland regions and large
lowlands where rivers such as the Amazon, Paraná and Orinoco flow. Most of
the continent lies in the tropics.

The continents cultural and ethnic outlook has its origin at the
interaction of indigenous peoples with European conquerors and immigrants
and, more locally, with African slaves. Given a long history of
colonialism, most South Americans speak Portuguese or Spanish, and
societies and states commonly reflect Western traditions.


Main article: Geography of South America

South America occupies the southern portion of the American landmass. The
continent is generally delimited on the northwest by the Darién watershed
along the Colombia–Panama border, although some may consider the border
instead to be the Panama Canal. Geopolitically and geographically² all of
Panama – including the segment east of the Panama Canal in the isthmus – is
typically included in North America alone³ ⁴ ⁵ and among the countries of
Central America.⁶ ⁷ Almost all of mainland South America sits on the South
American Plate.

South America is home to the world's highest uninterrupted waterfall, Angel
Falls in Venezuela; the highest single drop waterfall Kaieteur Falls in
Guyana; the largest river (by volume), the Amazon River; the longest
mountain range, the Andes (whose highest mountain is Aconcagua at 6,962 m
[22,841 ft]); the driest non-polar place on earth, the Atacama Desert;⁸ ⁹
¹⁰ the largest rainforest, the Amazon Rainforest; the highest capital city,
La Paz, Bolivia; the highest commercially navigable lake in the world, Lake
Titicaca; and, excluding research stations in Antarctica, the world's
southernmost permanently inhabited community, Puerto Toro, Chile.

Cuernos del Paine in Chile (left) and Morro do Chapéu in Brazil (right)
serve to illustrate the diversity of landscapes in South America. Click to

South America's major mineral resources are gold, silver, copper, iron ore,
tin, and petroleum. These resources found in South America have brought
high income to its countries especially in times of war or of rapid
economic growth by industrialized countries elsewhere. However, the
concentration in producing one major export commodity often has hindered
the development of diversified economies. The fluctuation in the price of
commodities in the international markets has led historically to major
highs and lows in the economies of South American states, often causing
extreme political instability. This is leading to efforts to diversify
production to drive away from staying as economies dedicated to one major

South America is one of the most biodiverse continents on earth. South
America is home to many interesting and unique species of animals including
the llama, anaconda, piranha, jaguar, vicuña, and tapir. The Amazon
rainforests possess high biodiversity, containing a major proportion of the
Earth's species.

Brazil is the largest country in South America, encompassing around half of
the continent's land area and population. The remaining countries and
territories are divided among three regions: The Andean States, the Guianas
and the Southern Cone.

Outlying islands

Traditionally, South America also includes some of the nearby islands.
Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Trinidad, Tobago, and the federal dependencies of
Venezuela sit on the northerly South American continental shelf and are
often considered part of the continent. Geo-politically, the island states
and overseas territories of the Caribbean are generally grouped as a part
or subregion of North America, since they are more distant on the Caribbean
Plate, even though San Andres and Providencia are politically part of
Colombia and Aves Island is controlled by Venezuela.⁵ ¹¹ ¹²

Other islands that are included with South America are the Galápagos
Islands that belong to Ecuador and Easter Island (in Oceania but belonging
to Chile), Robinson Crusoe Island, Chiloé (both Chilean) and Tierra del
Fuego (split between Chile and Argentina). In the Atlantic, Brazil owns
Fernando de Noronha, Trindade and Martim Vaz, and the Saint Peter and Saint
Paul Archipelago, while the Falkland Islands are governed by the United
Kingdom, whose sovereignty over the islands is disputed by Argentina. South
Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands may be associated with either South
America or Antarctica.


Main article: History of South America


Further information: History of South America § Pre-Columbian era

South America is believed to have been joined with Africa from the late
Paleozoic Era to the early Mesozoic Era, until the supercontinent Pangaea
began to rift and break apart about 225 million years ago. Therefore, South
America and Africa share similar fossils and rock layers.

South America is thought to have been first inhabited by humans when people
were crossing the Bering Land Bridge (now the Bering Strait) at least
15,000 years ago from the territory that is present-day Russia. They
migrated south through North America, and eventually reached South America
through the Isthmus of Panama.

The first evidence for the existence of the human race in South America
dates back to about 9000 BC, when squashes, chili peppers and beans began
to be cultivated for food in the highlands of the Amazon Basin. Pottery
evidence further suggests that manioc, which remains a staple food today,
was being cultivated as early as 2000 BC.¹³

By 2000 BC, many agrarian communities had been settled throughout the Andes
and the surrounding regions. Fishing became a widespread practice along the
coast, helping establish fish as a primary source of food. Irrigation
systems were also developed at this time, which aided in the rise of an
agrarian society.¹³

South American cultures began domesticating llamas, vicuñas, guanacos, and
alpacas in the highlands of the Andes circa 3500 BC. Besides their use as
sources of meat and wool, these animals were used for transportation of

Pre-Columbian civilizations

Main article: Pre-Columbian era § South America

The rise of plant growing and the subsequent appearance of permanent human
settlements allowed for the multiple and overlapping beginnings of
civilizations in South America.

One of the earliest known South American civilizations was at Norte Chico,
on the central Peruvian coast. Though a pre-ceramic culture, the monumental
architecture of Norte Chico is contemporaneous with the pyramids of Ancient
Egypt. Norte Chico governing class established a trade network and
developed agriculture then followed by Chavín by 900 BC, according to some
estimates and archaeological finds. Artifacts were found at a site called
Chavín de Huantar in modern Peru at an elevation of 3,177 meters. Chavín
civilization spanned 900 BC to 300 BC.

In the central coast of Peru, around the beginning of the 1st millennium
AD, Moche (100 BC – 700 AD, at the northern coast of Peru), Paracas and
Nazca (400 BC – 800 AD, Peru) cultures flourished with centralized states
with permanent militia improving agriculture through irrigation and new
styles of ceramic art. At the Altiplano, Tiahuanaco or Tiwanaku (100 BC –
1200 AD, Bolivia) managed a large commercial network based on religion.

Around 7th century, both Tiahuanaco and Wari or Huari Empire (600–1200,
Central and northern Peru) expanded its influence to all the Andean region,
imposing the Huari urbanism and tiahuanaco religious iconography.

The Muisca were the main indigenous civilization in what is now modern
Colombia. They established a confederation of many clans, or cacicazgos,
that had a free trade network among themselves. They were goldsmiths and

Other important Pre-Columbian cultures include: the Cañaris (in south
central Ecuador), Chimu Empire (1300–1470, Peruvian northern coast),
Chachapoyas, and the Aymaran kingdoms (1000–1450, Bolivia and southern

Holding their capital at the great city of Cusco, the Inca civilization
dominated the Andes region from 1438 to 1533. Known as Tawantin suyu, and
"the land of the four regions," in Quechua, the Inca civilization was
highly distinct and developed. Inca rule extended to nearly a hundred
linguistic or ethnic communities, some 9 to 14 million people connected by
a 25,000 kilometer road system. Cities were built with precise, unmatched
stonework, constructed over many levels of mountain terrain. Terrace
farming was a useful form of agriculture.

The Mapuche in Central and Southern Chile resisted the European and Chilean
settlers, waging the Arauco War for more than 300 years.

European colonization

Main articles: Spanish colonization of the Americas and Portuguese
colonization of the Americas

In 1494, Portugal and Spain, the two great maritime European powers of that
time, on the expectation of new lands being discovered in the west, signed
the Treaty of Tordesillas, by which they agreed, with the support of the
Pope, that all the land outside Europe should be an exclusive duopoly
between the two countries.

The Treaty established an imaginary line along a north-south meridian 370
leagues west of Cape Verde Islands, roughly 46° 37' W. In terms of the
treaty, all land to the west of the line (known to comprise most of the
South American soil) would belong to Spain, and all land to the east, to
Portugal. As accurate measurements of longitude were impossible at that
time, the line was not strictly enforced, resulting in a Portuguese
expansion of Brazil across the meridian.

Beginning in the 1530s, the people and natural resources of South America
were repeatedly exploited by foreign conquistadors, first from Spain and
later from Portugal. These competing colonial nations claimed the land and
resources as their own and divided it in colonies.

European infectious diseases (smallpox, influenza, measles, and typhus) –
to which the native populations had no immune resistance – and systems of
forced labor, such as the haciendas and mining industry's mita, decimated
the native population under Spanish control. After this, African slaves,
who had developed immunities to these diseases, were quickly brought in to
replace them.

The Spaniards were committed to convert their native subjects to
Christianity and were quick to purge any native cultural practices that
hindered this end; however, many initial attempts at this were only
partially successful, as native groups simply blended Catholicism with
their established beliefs and practices. Furthermore, the Spaniards brought
their language to the degree they did with their religion, although the
Roman Catholic Church's evangelization in Quechua, Aymara, and Guaraní
actually contributed to the continuous use of these native languages albeit
only in the oral form.

Eventually, the natives and the Spaniards interbred, forming a mestizo
class. At the beginning, many mestizos of the Andean region were offspring
of Amerindian mothers and Spanish fathers. After independence, most
mestizos had native fathers and white or mestizo mothers.

Many native artworks were considered pagan idols and destroyed by Spanish
explorers; this included many gold and silver sculptures and other
artifacts found in South America, which were melted down before their
transport to Spain or Portugal. Spaniards and Portuguese brought the
western European architectural style to the continent, and helped to
improve infrastructures like bridges, roads, and the sewer system of the
cities they discovered or conquered. They also significantly increased
economic and trade relations, not just between the old and new world but
between the different South American regions and peoples. Finally, with the
expansion of the Portuguese and Spanish languages, many cultures that were
previously separated became united through that of Latin American.

Guyana was first a Dutch, and then a British colony, though there was a
brief period during the Napoleonic Wars when it was colonized by the
French. The country was once partitioned into three parts, each being
controlled by one of the colonial powers until the country was finally
taken over fully by the British.

Independence from Spain and Portugal (Early 19th century)

Main articles: Spanish American wars of independence and Independence of

The European Peninsular War (1807–1814), a theater of the Napoleonic Wars,
changed the political situation of both the Spanish and Portuguese
colonies. First, Napoleon invaded Portugal, but the House of Braganza
avoided capture by escaping to Brazil. Napoleon also captured King
Ferdinand VII of Spain, and appointed his own brother instead. This
appointment provoked severe popular resistance, which created Juntas to
rule in the name of the captured king.

Many cities in the Spanish colonies, however, considered themselves equally
authorized to appoint local Juntas like those of Spain. This began the
Spanish American wars of independence between the patriots, who promoted
such autonomy, and the royalists, who supported Spanish authority over the
Americas. The Juntas, in both Spain and the Americas, promoted the ideas of
the Enlightenment. Five years after the beginning of the war, Ferdinand VII
returned to the throne and began the Absolutist Restoration as the
royalists got the upper hand in the conflict.

The independence of South America was secured by Simón Bolívar (Venezuela)
and José de San Martín (Argentina), the two most important Libertadores.
Bolívar led a great uprising in the north, then led his army southward
towards Lima, the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru. Meanwhile, San Martín
led an army across the Andes Mountains, along with Chilean expatriates, and
liberated Chile. He organized a fleet to reach Peru by sea, and sought the
military support of various rebels from the Viceroyalty of Peru. The two
armies finally met in