Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Identify Pepper Plants

By Lauren Wise ; Updated September 21, 2017

Peppers grow in a large range of varieties, from small or big, spicy hot or sweet, white to red to green. It is important to understand how to identify pepper plants, especially if you intend on consuming them. The hotness of different peppers is measured on a Scoville Heat index. Some of the most mild peppers are sweet bell and cherry peppers; pepper with medium heat are cayenne and Serrano; and very hot peppers are habanero and scotch bonnet. Peppers are popular ingredients for cooking and medicine, and can be grown in almost any condition. Identifying them involves understanding the types of seeds, petals, flowers, calyx and pedicels of the plant.

Wear gloves when handling extremely hot varieties. Use soap and water to wash your hands before touching any part of your face.

Examine the seeds on the plant. Dark seeds indicate the C pubescens species, which would mean the petals will be purple. Tan or yellow-colored seeds mean that the pepper species is mild.

Identify the petals of the plant, also called the corolla. Light-colored spots on the petals indicate it is the C baccatum species.

Identify the flowers of the chile pepper plant. Flowers that are singular and solitary mean the variety is a C annuum. For two or more blossoms at the nodes, it means the variety is C Chinense.

Identify the calyx of a mature fruit from the pepper plant. If there is a ring-like growth at the top of the pepper connecting to the stem, the variety is C Chinense.

Examine the blooms. A pepper that exhibit flowers blooming in groups of two or more is C frutescens.


Things You Will Need

  • Gardening or latex gloves
  • Soap
  • Water