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ntroduced Herb Photo: Thingnam Sophia
Common name: Capsicum, Bell pepper, Sweet Pepper, Chilli Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Paprika • Hindi: शिमला मिर्च Shimla mirch • Mizo: Hmarcha • Angami: Chusi • Kannada: ಖಾರದ ಮೆಣಸಿನಕಾಯಿ Kharada menasinakayi, ಮೆಣಸಿನಕಾಯಿ Menasinakayi, ಕೆಂಪು ಮೆಣಸಿನಕಾಯಿ Kempu menasinakayi, ಪರಂಗಿಮೆಣಸಿನಕಾಯಿ Parangimenasinakayi, ಹೊಲದ ಮೆಣಸಿನಕಾಯಿ Holada menasinakayi • Malayalam: Kuda Mulagu • Tamil: Kudamulagai • Marathi: Dobli Mirch
Botanical name: Capsicum annuum      Family: Solanaceae (potato family)

Capsicum is very variable, normally annual herb or subshrub, 0.5-1.5 m tall, erect, much branched, grown as an annual. Stem is irregularly angular to round, up to 1 cm in diameter, much branched, often woolly near branchings, green to brown-green, often with purplish spots near nodes. Leaves are alternate, very variable, leaf-stalk up to 10 cm long. Leaf-blades are ovate, up to 10 x 5 cm, tapering at tip, margin usually entire, nearly hairless, light to dark green. Flowers are usually borne singly, at branch-ends; flower-stalk up to 3 cm long in flower, up to 8 cm long in fruit; sepal-cup cup-shaped, persistent and enlarging in fruit, usually with 5 prominent teeth. Flowers are bell-shaped to pinwheel shaped, with 5-7 petals, 0.8-1.5 cm in diameter, usually white; five to seven stamens with pale blue to purplish anthers; style thread-like, white or purplish, stigma capitate. Fruit is a non-pulpy berry, very variable in size, shape, colour and degree of pungency, usually more or less conical, up to 30 cm long, green, yellow, cream or purplish when immature, red, orange, yellow, brown when mature. Seed round, flattened, 3-4.5 mm in diameter, approximately 1 mm thick, pale yellow. Capsicum is widely cultivated world over.

Identification credit: Thingnam Sophia Photographed in Delhi.

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