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frutescens Frutescens: Why do people seem less interested in it?

I was looking around on several seed selling sites to look for cool new varieties to grow next season, and I noticed something. On every website the subspecies with the least amount of varieties is Frutescens. Chinense and Annuum both have loads of options, as does Baccatum. But Frutscens only seem to have a handful of 'boring' varieties. They kinda all look the same too. The most interesting Frutscens I've seen is the Cabai Burung Ungu. 
 
Why is this?
 
Speaking strictly from my opinion here.

I personally don't think the flavor is all there. With other peppers there are several flavor notes but in my ( frutescens limited) experience they just don't taste as good or better as other species.
 
I'm also thinking flavor. While chinense has a wide range from fruity to other tropical flavors, frutescens seems a bit bland and almost floral imo.
 
sirex said:
Speaking strictly from my opinion here.

I personally don't think the flavor is all there. With other peppers there are several flavor notes but in my ( frutescens limited) experience they just don't taste as good or better as other species.
 

Agree, I also find the flavor of most Frutescens kind of one dimensional and boring.  I am mostly a Chinense and Annuum guy myself.
 
I'm ok with Frutescens, but my biggest beef with them is their seed content. In my experience, they've just been really seedy. Hard to enjoy.
 
Human intervention with Capsicum Frutescens has probably been much more recent than the other species. Or from another point of view, C. Frutescens is what's left after humans started cultivating peppers. C. Chinense and C. Annuum are the result of new species forming from the "wild" C. Frutescens ancestor.
 
I guess birds are just much less concerned with diversity and pretty colors than humans are so the variety is much more limited. Tabasco finally brought the "wild" variety into the limelight, but that was only in the 1860s. ~150 years can only get you so far in selective breeding. Chinense, Annuum, and Baccatum have all had 10-12 thousand years of humans pushing for different colors/flavors/sizes/growth patterns.
 
It makes sense from an evolutionary point of view. 
 
 
 
I would say a big factor for me and possibly others is that many cultivars are up for debate as to whether they are frutescens or annuum. Apart from the tobasco which we can absolutely agree is a true frutescens many others lack frutescens traits or appear too annuum like. To me the real defining factor is their high tolerance to wet weather, humidity and ground water. Apart from the tobasco I don't see it mentioned much.
 
I am very interested in frutescens. :)  I have always enjoyed them a lot.  Now, I'm trying to do more with them!
 
Chris
 
 

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cmpman1974 said:
I am very interested in frutescens. :)  I have always enjoyed them a lot.  Now, I'm trying to do more with them!
 
Chris
 
Very nice, Chris! I love the purple! Do you have a problem with that variety drying before ripening? I have an F1 of a Black Naga x Peri-Peri and that seems to be the case for me. Theyll get orangey-red then start to deflate.

-Adam
 
The diversity in this species is subtle,but it's there. There some neat green colored flowers and juicy plant structures. As mentioned above,a lot of these are mistaken for shit tasting ornamental annuums.

They are great for asian cooking. They don't overpower a meal like a musty chinense and you don't have to chew on them for an hour like a waxy thai pepper.
 
b3rnd said:
I was looking around on several seed selling sites to look for cool new varieties to grow next season, and I noticed something. On every website the subspecies with the least amount of varieties is Frutescens. Chinense and Annuum both have loads of options, as does Baccatum. But Frutscens only seem to have a handful of 'boring' varieties. They kinda all look the same too. The most interesting Frutscens I've seen is the Cabai Burung Ungu. 
 
Why is this?
 
I may be wrong but I believe CBU is not a true frutescens, it's a multi species.
 
Chris and I talked about Frutescens a lot over the years.
I use them for blends of peppers that taste great but need a little heat.
 
A lot are very hot ,but short lived heat.
Some have a little flavor,others do have a specific taste.
 
Great for rubs and powder blends.
 
Stir fries etc. are a good place for them.
A stir fry doesn't always need a pepper Flavor but a little heat at times to round things out....
 
Chinense or Baccaum didn' t  work-Wrong taste...
 
Some like Tabasco sauce-I think it isn't that great.
Tastes like Warn (spice wise) Vinegar to me.
 
Every Chili I've ever grown has it's place.
 
My favorite will always be smoke dried  C.Pubescense.
 
I like supers but I'm tired of the unstable stuff that is popular these days because of pod looks rather than taste etc,
 
Growing/trying to grow Baccatums this winter.200+ varieties,if they sprout...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Peter_L said:
Human intervention with Capsicum Frutescens has probably been much more recent than the other species. Or from another point of view, C. Frutescens is what's left after humans started cultivating peppers. C. Chinense and C. Annuum are the result of new species forming from the "wild" C. Frutescens ancestor.
 
I guess birds are just much less concerned with diversity and pretty colors than humans are so the variety is much more limited. Tabasco finally brought the "wild" variety into the limelight, but that was only in the 1860s. ~150 years can only get you so far in selective breeding. Chinense, Annuum, and Baccatum have all had 10-12 thousand years of humans pushing for different colors/flavors/sizes/growth patterns.
 
It makes sense from an evolutionary point of view. 
 
 
 
That makes sense yes. These days we could speed the process up quite a bit though, and still, there's little to no interest. The general consensus here seems to be flavor, although there are some that enjoy the taste.
 
danish said:
I would say a big factor for me and possibly others is that many cultivars are up for debate as to whether they are frutescens or annuum. Apart from the tobasco which we can absolutely agree is a true frutescens many others lack frutescens traits or appear too annuum like. To me the real defining factor is their high tolerance to wet weather, humidity and ground water. Apart from the tobasco I don't see it mentioned much.
 
Yeah, I've read that some people consider Frutescens to be a part of the Annuum complex. So it would be considered an 'Annuum var. Frutescens'. What are the real Frutescens traits then? What makes them different from Annuums, Chinenses and Baccatums?
 
hogleg said:
 
I may be wrong but I believe CBU is not a true frutescens, it's a multi species.
 
Yeah, you're right, some people list it as Baccatum x Frutescens. I'm a little bit disappointed by that, I was looking for a cool Frutescens to grow. I guess I'll go with the Ekirike then.
 
Instead of starting a new thread, I wanted to chime in on the tabasco plant.  A well-known name due to the "sauce", it's a not-so-well known plant in my experience. 
 
This year, I grew some tabascos from Baker Creek seeds.  The plants that I've seen on YT tend to be a little fatter and longer than the ones I obtained from my plant.  Maybe they were growing Bonnie plants or some large southern cultivar; I don't know.  Besides that, this northern climate seemed to do poorly for me in terms of producing ripe pods.  I started some of these plants in March and didn't get a red pod until mid-November!  My super hots were well ahead of these guys.  The pods they produced were predictably small, but I mean tiny in some cases.  An inch in length was maybe average, and they were slender to boot.  Just not an impressive plant....
 
Until you ate them.  And that is the point of my post.  Has anyone had any experience with these tiny, long-ripening pods?  Everything on the internet says they are 30-50,000 on the Scoville scale.  I was expecting a mild but tasty pepper.  That was not my experience at all with these that I grew.  I don't know if it was the long and mild growing season that I gave them or what, but I would easily throw these guys up against some of your hotter habaneros.  Each pod absolutely blows cayenne out of the water.  And painful, too.  These guys registered fairly high on the "Oh, no" scale.  Tongue and ears feeling pain.  An explosion in your belly after you swallow.  Mouth stayed warm for 10-minutes or so after eating one with my Thanksgiving leftovers (lots of stuffing, so the heat should have been mitigated).  
 
Anyone have this experience with Tabasco fruits?  Some of the reviews on Baker's website say the same thing.  Most peppers kind of have a limit to their heat capacity, but perhaps these frutescens are different because of growing conditions?  I am at a loss.  Trust me, these little guys are no joke, and I can endorse them for any season's grow.  Again, I don't know if it is the variety they sold or the growing conditions, but I am impressed.
 
I found the tabasco peppers that I grew last season to be very juicy and soft, unlike the firm and crisp you get when biting into an annum or chinense. Pop of heat that subsided quickly, not a ton of flavor but enjoyable in their own way. Unfortunately I didnt get many pods as the roots never penetrated the 3 peat pot the plant came in (bummer to find that out end of season when I expected the 5 gallon container the peat pot was planted in to be filled with roots).

Id really like to grow tabanaga (tabasco x Dorset naga) or baby morich (tabasco x naga morich) at some point. Check out The Hippy Seed Co. out of Australia.
 
I favor the juiciness of Tabasco and I agree with the comment above about how really hot they are.  I actually sourced my seeds from the Tabasco store on Avery Island.  It's maybe not in my top five list, but I do like them a lot.  It's also quite prolific.
 
This season I'm growing Malagueta which I believe is one of the most popular peppers to eat in Brazil.
 
austin87 said:
I found the tabasco peppers that I grew last season to be very juicy and soft, unlike the firm and crisp you get when biting into an annum or chinense. Pop of heat that subsided quickly, not a ton of flavor but enjoyable in their own way. Unfortunately I didnt get many pods as the roots never penetrated the 3 peat pot the plant came in (bummer to find that out end of season when I expected the 5 gallon container the peat pot was planted in to be filled with roots).

Id really like to grow tabanaga (tabasco x Dorset naga) or baby morich (tabasco x naga morich) at some point. Check out The Hippy Seed Co. out of Australia.
I have grown both the Tabanaga and the Baby Morich. The Tabanaga was basically a larger Tabasco but unfortunately was easily burned in the sun (35-40 degrees C mind you) and I didnt love the taste it was strong and a bit bitter. It was very prolific and grew/looked great though.

The Baby Morich did not grow true to the description but WOW what and awesome pheno I got!. Thumb sized pods that are totally soft when ripe and full of juice like a cherry tomato. Huge production that seem to ripen in waves which suits my needs for sauce making. Great taste an even mix of frutescense and chinense but not floral at all. Up to Hab heat.

I still have my original plant on its third (and best) season as well as three plants that I have grown from its seeds that are just starting to pod up now and so far looking great. I may attempt to back cross my favourite back with the mother plant to stabilise and improve the seed stock.

Overall I feel that frutescense x chinense has amazing potential for a whole new category of chillies that taste great, are totally different and unique from any other species and also extremely practical for culinary purposes. In fact they have few seeds and instead of chopping you simply squish them with the back of your spoon :)
 
Jase4224 said:
...
The Baby Morich did not grow true to the description but WOW what and awesome pheno I got!. Thumb sized pods that are totally soft when ripe and full of juice like a cherry tomato. 
...
 
I would love to see pics of that....and i mean that in a 90% fanatical/10% skeptical way.
 
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