Capsicum Species, Chilpetin, Indian Pepper, Birdís Eye Pepper, Turkey Pepper

Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Capsicum (KAP-sih-kum) (Info)
Species: annuum var. glabriusculum
Synonym:Capsicum annuum var. aviculare
Synonym:Capsicum hispidum var. glabriusculum
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18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade

Heat (Pungency):

Extremely Hot (above 30,000 Scoville Units)

Fruit Shape:



Fruit Size:

Small (under 2" in length)

Fruit Color:

Green changing to red

Green changing to orange

Disease Resistance:

Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV)

Potato Virus Y (PVY)

Phytophthora Blight

Tobacco Etch Virus (TEV)

Bacterial Leaf Spot (BLS), Race 1

Bacterial Leaf Spot (BLS), Race 2

Bacterial Leaf Spot (BLS), Race 3

Pepper Mottle Virus (PepMV)

Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV)


Seed Type:



Fresh (salsa, salads)



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Days to Maturity:

Mid (69-80 days)

Late (more than 80 days)

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Chandler, Arizona

Glendale, Arizona

Goodyear, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona(2 reports)

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

Bostonia, California

Union City, California

Gainesville, Florida

Okeechobee, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Venice, Florida

Boise, Idaho

Auburn, Indiana

Benton, Kentucky

Hessmer, Louisiana

Slaughter, Louisiana

Ashland, Missouri

Mount Laurel, New Jersey

Mason, Ohio

Ardmore, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Adkins, Texas

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas(5 reports)

Belton, Texas

Bertram, Texas

Boerne, Texas

Brownwood, Texas

Cedar Creek, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas(2 reports)

Cypress, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Dayton, Texas

De Leon, Texas

Dripping Springs, Texas

Elgin, Texas(2 reports)

Fort Worth, Texas(2 reports)

Freeport, Texas

Georgetown, Texas

Gonzales, Texas

Grapevine, Texas

Harlingen, Texas

Houston, Texas(5 reports)

La Grange, Texas(2 reports)

Laredo, Texas

Liberty Hill, Texas

Lockhart, Texas

Lubbock, Texas

Mcallen, Texas

Midland, Texas

Mission, Texas

Mount Pleasant, Texas

New Caney, Texas

Port Isabel, Texas

Progreso, Texas

Rio Hondo, Texas

Round Rock, Texas

San Antonio, Texas(5 reports)

Sandia, Texas

Streetman, Texas

Terlingua, Texas

Victoria, Texas

Wimberley, Texas

Orem, Utah

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 17, 2020, Jonathan121 from Dhaka,
Bangladesh wrote:

Nice and informative post


On Dec 10, 2017, DoninAustin from Austin, TX wrote:

I have been making hot sauce from these for years. I am always seeking healthy plants in random locations. Just found a whole lot of them in a park with lots of cedar bark on the ground so enhanced drainage which I understand these plants like.

I keep my hot sauce extremely simple so as not to overwhelm the fantastic complex fruity aroma of these peppers:

Peppers, (obviously!)

Simple distilled white vinegar -- necessary as a preservative




Put into a blender. If the blender is powerful enough to pulverize the seeds that is OK, otherwise strain them out so they don't clogged the bottle's orifice. If you strain out the seeds toss them in your yard a... read more


On Jun 17, 2017, revans64 from Mount Pleasant, TX wrote:

I have had difficulties getting peppers to germinate in the past. This year I used a portable folding bread proofer at 85 degrees and every variety (8) including some 3-4 year old seeds germinated in 10-16 days. I tried each variety in equal sized plastic trays as well as peat pots. Chile Piquins germinated in 10 days. Now six weeks later the peat cups are 1/2" and plastic are 4". Better moisture control seems to be the key. Grown side by side under fluorescent grow lights.

I think the proofer was the best $150. Fresh bread in winter AND 100% pepper germination. Win!


On Aug 7, 2016, mccandlessquilts from Auburn, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

I it have tried to grow this chili several years in a row unsuccessfully, until the past two years.
Last year I started the seeds which are very slow to germinate, nearly 6 weeks. They are also slow growing initially, but once established in a soil that is loamy, high in organic material. I started 9 seeds, outside. Once they 5 surviving plants were 3-4 inches tall I transplanted them into a 3 inch pot, leaving them in the pots until the threat of frost. Bringing them inside for the winter months, soon lost 2 more. Put them in a south facing window to maximize light exposure, a new kitty took out 2 seedlings over winter. With the approaching spring, the 6 inch tall lone survivor was transplanted into a 14 inch terracotta pot to establish early root growth.
The third week of... read more


On Aug 30, 2014, tpotter72 from Helotes, TX wrote:

I have several Chili Petin bushes that have come up wild at my home in Helotes. The peppers have always been green then turn to red. I currently have one that is growing right next to a traditional plant that has pearl white peppers. Has anyone ever seen this before?


On Dec 1, 2013, pdthomas from Cedar Creek, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

We have a large chile petin plant growing by our fence and it is very pretty when covered with peppers. It seems that the more you pick from the bush- the more peppers and blooms you see in the future. I have picked several gallons from my 5 ft bush this year alone and the neighbor invited me to pick the peppers from his yard as well. I was amazed at the size of the plant in his yard- the woody stem resembles a tree trunk and all the peppers are at the top of the bush- which stands over 6 ft tall. I am planning to try to get some seedlings started this year- hoping something will germinate.


On May 27, 2013, bakerd1970 from Corpus Christi, TX wrote:

I've grown Piquin Peppers now for about 25 years. Many people have asked me if there is a difference between picking and cooking with the peppers while they are green, black, or red. My answer is that it really depends on your palate. Personally, I don't taste a difference, although my husband says that he feels that the red ones aren't as hot. Currently, I have three grown plants that are producing many chiles. In order not to loose any of this goodness, since I can't eat them as fast as they grow, I pick the ones that are ready for harvest, de-stem them and store them in a mason jar in the freezer. This keeps them as fresh as the day I picked them. If I plan to use them as a condiment, I'll just run some warm water over them and grind them in my mortise and pestal, add a couple of tables... read more


On Oct 10, 2012, meschow from Hot Springs National Park, AR wrote:

This is my first year to raise PEQUIN peppers. The birds steal them from me, so I have been picking just before they turn red. Will the peppers taste differently if I wait until they are red?


On Mar 14, 2012, grebetrees from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Thanks to birds, is cute little pepper regularly volunteers in my yard. I have also seen it volunteer elsewhere in Austin, usually growing in partly shady areas.


On Jan 29, 2012, chickenlady1 from Tallahassee, FL wrote:

I live in Tallahassee, Fl.
I bought my bird from our local native nursery in early spring. It became loaded with so mauy peppers! I move it into my garage when the weather is bad and move it out when temps.are up above 55 and the sun is out.
Heres a true story to share with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
My friend wanted a hand full of each of all the peppers I was growing and she put ia Bird in her mouth before I was able to tell her hot hot they were. She was spitting and cursing like no other. Let me tell you, I don't think I have laughed that hard too many times in my life!
I did not know the scoville heat unit at that time but later on looked it up. Now I know why she reacted the way she did! Maybe next time she will wait till I tell her befor... read more


On Mar 14, 2010, MeroMero from San Antonio, TX wrote:

I've also managed to germinate seeds on a heating pad in a "soil-less" starter pellets, BUT I really think that the germination rate is much higher if a bit of manure is mixed in with the soil/potting mix. Superstition or not, I really believe that there is something to the idea that the seeds do better with some sort of biological "catalyst"...whether it's a bird or cow manure. As a home gardener who doesn't have lots of space, this is how I've done it in the past:
-Fill a large terra cotta container with potting soil, mixing in a cup of cattle manure (or other) into the top couple of inches of soil.
-Plant a "kitchen friendly" companion plant in the same container whose roots aren't all that intrusive. Multiplying onions are my personal favorite.
-Gently crush... read more


On Feb 6, 2010, TheOtherDave from Georgetown, TX wrote:

This is a tough pepper that I transplanted from Victoria County in South Texas to my home in the Hill Country of Central Texas. It freezes back but returns. I do try to mulch heavily around the base and even wrap the base for extra protection in the hardest freezes. It comes back but we'll see if mine survived the 12 degree temperatures we have had this winter. I have seen hundreds of these plants in areas of the lower Guadalupe River bottom with only peppers on the top of the plant. All others had been eaten by Turkeys. It also re-seeds on its own. It's hot and I love it.


On Jan 3, 2010, manda5656 from Okeechobee, FL wrote:

I have recently found one of these plants growing wild along the fence in the back yard. I would like to add it to my garden. For those of you who have experience with this plant, should I transplant it? or pick some of the chili's, clean out the seeds, and try to grow some from scratch? Thanks!


On Jul 5, 2009, WillowWasp from Jones Creek, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I use to belive this plant would only grow if passed throught a bird first.........LOL Because you only find it on fence lines.
I have been able to germinate a few since then so I now know a bird has nothing to do with the germination...still LOL

Great addition to the garden.


On Mar 23, 2009, eatmyplants from Comanche county, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This pepper grows wild in some places here. It's sowed by the birds. It dies back in the winter and resprouts from the crown. I noticed just today that the plants are starting to put out new leaves.


On Feb 9, 2008, Zuel3151 from Bertram, TX wrote:

I work for the county. As such, I travel the many county roads. We have found at least 3 locations where Chiltepin grow. They are always in, or next to other larger plants or trees. They are always in a low spot which gets more water. I have two transplanted to around my house and one small one that I put in a pot and kept inside my house until the ground is warm enough to transplant. It is growing just fine since I was able to get the whole ball and roots. I still have a few dried Chiltepin berries that I am hoarding until the next harvest. I usually eat 3 or 4 with lunch. You may get one or two that aren't very hot. The next one will take the top of your head off!


On Apr 25, 2007, dfwdennis from Grapevine, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Four years ago I transplanted a wild plant from my mother-in-law's property in Beeville, TX. It dies to the ground in winter but has come back stronger every year, and has been a prolific producer. Last year it was about 3 feet high and wide. It is very attractive when it is covered with chiles.


On Aug 18, 2006, tmccullo from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

We bought a small plant from a produce market here in Houston. The plant is about 1 year old and has produced lots of peppers. It even produced peppers through the winter and suffered no damage. Our plant looks like a very bushy 3' shrub now.


On Jun 5, 2006, grebe from Dayton, TX wrote:

I have it growing in my garden now for 2 years. I, also, have it growing in a pot in the greenhouse.


On Jan 25, 2005, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Extremely hot little peppers. They are pretty much care free in the garden and produce a gazillion little fire balls on each plant.

Attractive to birds, as many stated above, they will be quite at home in the flowerbed or in the veggie patch.

These peppers are extremely hot....the size is misleading. Care should be taken when cooking with hem, as you can add more than you can stand in a hurry.


On Apr 20, 2004, MonkeyArcher from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

Great plant, makes a small 'tree', about 2 ft tall. My best success withthis plant has always been with self planting. Any that I plant grow for about one season, then die. Next year I discover a new chili growing nearby, and this one will keep growing for years and years. Odd, but true.

The chilis are very useful for adding heat, as previously noted, but it should also be noted that they should not be under-estimated. It takes only a few chilis to season a whole pot.

It should also be noted that, while I am not entirely sure about botanically, but the Chiltepin and the Chilpequin are two deifferent things. The Chilitepin has round chilis and are much more expensive to buy in stores, while the Chilpequin is smaller and more oblong in shape. Since I ha... read more


On Sep 29, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, Tx.
This pepper plant is a nice addition to any flower bed with its deep green foliage, small white flowers, deep green immature fruit and bright red mature fruit. It requires little care. I have had one growing in my yard for 20 years. The birds, especially mockingbirds, DO LOVE the fruit (birds have no "hot" taste sensors). If transplanting, but careful to dig up all of the tap root. The plant will wilt until it reestablishes itself. Just keep it well watered until it does.


On Aug 30, 2003, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

The bird pepper is an excellent source of heat and sharp pepper flavor. Mashed and mixed in otherwise bland foods, such as scrambled eggs, they add zest that is hard to beat. Three of them in a crock-pot pot roast will make an exceptional dish. And don't forget the mockingbirds. My plant keeps two female mockingbirds constantly squabbling over rights to the harvest.