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Capsicum frutescens L.
Tabasco pepper

Family: Solanaceae

Group: Dicot

Substrate: Terrestrial

Habit: Herb

Perennation: Perennial

Native Range: Uncertain due to early widespread cultivation, but probably peninsular Florida, the West Indies, southern Mexico, Central America and South America.

Map of select IRC data for peninsular Florida

IRC SOUTH FLORIDA Status: Imperiled

SOUTH FLORIDA Occurrence: Present

SOUTH FLORIDA Native Status: Assumed to be Native

SOUTH FLORIDA Cultivated Status: Cultivated

Comments: Although we long considered this to be an exotic in South Florida, it may in fact be native to mainland peninsular Florida. The situation is complicated by the myriad taxonomic treatments of this, C. annuum, C. annuum var. glabriusculum and C. baccatum. Reports of C. frutescens from the Florida Keys, for instance, appear to be all misidentifications of C. annuum var. glabriusculum (e.g. Dickson s.n. FTG). However, on the mainland at least one record from Miami-Dade County and one record from Hendry County appear to be correctly identified and possibly native. C. frutescens can be distinguished from C. annuum var. glabriusculum by its longer (1.5-2.5 cm vs. c. 1 cm) cone-shaped fruits, often borne in pairs.

For more images of C. frutescens, click on the Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants link below.

Synonyms: C. baccatum, misapplied.

Other data on Capsicum frutescens available from :

Capsicum frutescens has been found in the following 8 conservation areas :
Occurrence Native Status
Biscayne National Park Recorded as Present in Error
Cayo Costa State Park Reported
Collier-Seminole State Park Reported
Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge Doubtfully Present
Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammocks Botanical State Park Doubtfully Present
Everglades National Park Doubtfully Present
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Doubtfully Present
National Key Deer Refuge Doubtfully Present

Capsicum frutescens has been found in the following 5 counties :
Occurrence Native Status
Collier County Assumed to be Native
Lee County Assumed to be Native
Miami-Dade County Assumed to be Native
Monroe County (Keys) Doubtfully Present
Palm Beach County Assumed to be Native

Capsicum frutescens has been found in the following 2 habitats :
Disturbed Upland
Rockland Hammock