I acquired Wiri Wiri seeds. I was doing a bit of research and found that Wiri Wiri Pepper (C frutescens) looks very similar to Tepin Pepper (C annuum). My question is "are they the same plant?". Can anyone tell me the difference between the two plant if they are not the same? They look so much alike I can not tell the difference.
smokemaster wrote:From what I've read the Wiri Wiri can be either Chinense or Frutescens.
One is from Jamaica the other from Guyana.
Ah...common names. The bane of dedicated horticulturists everywhere. How many species of "Snakeweed" do you think there are?
Seriously, common names are the next thing to worthless when they're borrowed from native peoples speaking local languages and dialects. In many cases the words simply indicate what the plant is used for or some important or especially noticeable characteristic. In just as many cases they are based on an approximation of the sound made by the native speaker, which may actually bear little resemblance to the actual pronunciation of the word.
Here's one for you: There are two plants with the common name "Mistletoe". One grows in Europe, one in North America. Both are parasitic on broadleaf trees. Both have olive-green, leathery leaves arranged identically on the stems. Both produce white berries which are eaten by birds, which in turn act as the vector for their spread by "dropping" the seeds in the fissures of tree bark. They are completely unrelated, but it takes a magnifying glass and a detailed knowledge of floral anatomy to detect the difference visually. Both have been used medicinally. One acts as a sedative and calming agent that reduces blood pressure; the other can cause fatal hypertension in roughly the same dose.
smokemaster, Thank you for your input and the wonderful site. It seems many kinds of peppers and tomatoes fall into the same scientific specie and family name yet have visual differences. Take C. annuum. Bell peppers, cayenne, paprika, and jalapeņos all fall under the same family but are very different in smell, taste, feel and BTU. Again thank you for your insight!