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Bird pepper, Cayenne pepper
Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

General Landscape Uses: Kitchen gardens.

Ecological Restoration Notes: A somewhat rare and ephemeral understory component of coastal hammocks.

Availability: Grown by one or two native plant nurseries in South Florida.

Description: Small short-lived shrubby herb with dark green shiny leaves.

Dimensions: Typically 2-3 feet in height. Often about as broad as tall.

Growth Rate: Fast.

Range: Southern United States south mostly along the Florida coasts to the Monroe County Keys; West Indies, Mexico, Central America and northern South America. Rare and ephemeral throughout its range in South Florida.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of suggested ZIP codes from South Florida north to southern Brevard, Osceola, Polk, and Pasco counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: Coastal hammocks.

Soils: Moist, well-drained limestone or calcareous sandy soils, with humusy top layer.

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.

Salt Water Tolerance: Moderate; tolerates brackish water or occasional inundation by salt water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.

Drought Tolerance: Moderate; generally requires moist soils, but tolerant of short periods of drought once established.

Light Requirements: Light shade to full sun.

Flower Color: White.

Flower Characteristics: Semi-showy.

Flowering Season: All year.

Fruit: Red berry. Edible (very hot!).

Wildlife and Ecology: Birds (especially mockingbirds) eat the green, un-ripened peppers

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed.

References: A Gardener's Guide to Florida's Native Plants

Comments: A short-lived plant, generally living 1-2 years. It recruits readily in the garden from seed but does not become aggressive. See also the Florida Wildflower Foundation's Flower Friday page.

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Other data on Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum available from:

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