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ntroduced Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Chilli • Hindi: मिर्च Mirch • Manipuri: ꯃꯣꯔꯣꯛ Morok • Tamil: மிளகாய் Mulaga • Malayalam: Pacha Mulagu • Mizo: Hmarcha-te, Vai-hmarcha • Angami: Kedi-chusi
Botanical name: Capsicum annuum      Family: Solanaceae (Potato family)

Cayenne or Capsicum derives its name from the Greek, 'to bite,' in allusion to the hot pungent properties of the fruits and seeds. Green chilli is almost essential to Indian cooking. Most of the varieties of pepper referred to as chili peppers belong to C. annuum L. It is a shrub or annual or perennial herb, 20-80 cm tall, with stems becoming hairless. Leaves are solitary or paired; leaf-stalk 4-7 cm; leaf blade oblong-ovate, ovate, or ovate-lanceshaped, 4-13 x 1.5-4 cm, becoming hairless, base narrowed, margin entire, tip short tapering or pointed. Inflorescences solitary flowers or few-flowered clusters. Flower-stalks are bent at tip, 1-2 cm. Sepal-cup cup-shaped, wavy, 2-3 x 3 mm. Flowers are white, about 1 cm, anthers purplish, 1.8-2 mm. Chilli fruit is mostly red (orange, yellow, or purple in cultivation), variously shaped, up to 15 cm. Flowering: May-August.

Identification credit: J.M. Garg Photographed in cultivation in Delhi.

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