Capsicum annuum, bell, sweet, or chili pepper—with cultivated varieties including bell, sweet, chili, and paprika peppers—is a perennial herbaceous plants in the Solanaceae (nightshade family), which originated in Central and South America and the Caribbean and was domesticated over 5,000 years ago. Peppers from C. annuum have been developed into numerous varieties that are now cultivated around the world for sweet and hot varieties of green and red bell peppers and chili peppers, that are one of the world’s most widely used spices, with dried forms including paprika, chili powder, and cayenne.
Capsicum annuum, which is perennial but often cultivated as an annual in temperate climates, is a many-branched plant, growing up to 75 cm (30 in) in cultivated varieties, often shrubby in appearance. The leaves are simple and alternate, elliptical to lanceolate, with smooth margins (entire). The small flowers (around 1.5 cm, or 1 in, in diameter), re borne singly or, rarely, in pairs in the axils (where leaves join stems); they are white or occasionally purple, campanulate (bell-shaped), often with 5 lobes, and contain 5 bluish stamens. The fruits are many-seeded berries--pod-like, but with no sutures—that vary considerably in size and shape, ripening to green, yellow, orange, red, or purple.
The numerous varieties that have been developed are categorized in five major groups: 1) Cerasiforme (cherry peppers); 2) Conoides (cone peppers); 3) Fasciculatum (red cone peppers); 4) Grossum (bell or sweet peppers); and 5) Longum (chili or cayenne peppers). These varieties include well-known Mexican peppers such as jalapeños, serranos, and poblanos. However, some pepper varieties known as chili and cayenne peppers come from the closely related species, C. frutescens, including the Tabasco varieties used in Tabasco sauce, and the intensely spicy Habanero peppers.
Peppers are used fresh, cooked, or dried in an enormous variety of dishes characteristic of different regional cuisines. They are high in vitamins A and C. Some varieties have been developed to use as ornamentals, often for indoor pots; these often have small, brightly-colored, persistent fruits.
Capsaicin, which is obtained from C. annuum and other Capsicum species, is an intense skin and eye irritant, and is the ingredient used in pepper sprays sold for self-defense. However, it also has numerous medical uses, including topical pain relief for muscle soreness, shingles, skin irritations, and rheumatism, and as an anti-inflammatory. Recent medical research has also documented antimicrobial and antifungal activity of capsaicin obtained from several Capsicum species, and on-going studies are exploring its use in cancer treatment.
Although known as pepper, Capsicum annuum is not closely related to the spice known as black pepper (Piper nigrum, in the Piperaceae), which was prominent in the spice trade of the Middle Ages, and for which Christopher Columbus may have been searching when he brought Capsicum annuum to Europe and referred to it by the same common name.
(Bailey et al. 1976, Chowdhury et al. 1996, Cichewicza and Thorpe 1996, Hedrick 1919, van Wyk 2005, Wikipedia 2012.)
Derivation of specific name
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Habitat & Distribution
Aceria kuko causes gall of live leaf of Capsicum annuum
Foodplant / parasite
Aculops lycopersici parasitises leaf of Capsicum annuum
Foodplant / parasite
sporangium of Peronospora tabacina parasitises live Capsicum annuum
In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / spot causer
Tomato Spotted Wilt virus causes spots on ring-spotted, unevenly ripening fruit of Capsicum annuum
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Contains the alkaloids capsaecine, solanidine and solasodine.
Barcode data: Capsicum annuum
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Capsicum annuum
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 13
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Fruit: Boiled as a curare admixture by the Surinam Tirio of Tepoe, Guyana Arawak and Macushi (and Brazil Tirio). Used as a remedy for serious indigestion due to alcohol consumption. Powerful stimulant; combined with quinine for intermittent fevers. Used in a gargle to remedy mouth sores. An extract is used to treat the first appearance of hemorrhoids.
Uses: Fruit, Spice/herb/condiment, MEDICINE/DRUG
Comments: A common pepper of Mexican origin.
Capsicum annuum is a species of the plant genus Capsicum native to southern North America and northern South America. This species is the most common and extensively cultivated of the five domesticated capsicums. The species encompasses a wide variety of shapes and sizes of peppers, both mild and hot, ranging from bell peppers to chili peppers. Cultivars are descended from the wild American bird pepper still found in warmer regions of the Americas. In the past some woody forms of this species have been called C. frutescens, but the features that were used to distinguish those forms appear in many populations of C. annuum and there is no consistently recognizable C. frutescens species.
Although the species name annuum means “annual” (from the Latin annus “year”), the plant is not an annual and in the absence of winter frosts can survive several seasons and grow into a large perennial shrub. The single flowers are an off-white (sometimes purplish) color while the stem is densely branched and up to 60 centimetres (24 in) tall. The fruit is a berry and may be green, yellow or red when ripe. While the species can tolerate most climates, C. annuum is especially productive in warm and dry climates.
The species is a source of popular sweet peppers and hot chilis with numerous varieties cultivated all around the world.
In British English, the sweet varieties are called red or green peppers and the hot varieties chillies, whereas in Australian and Indian English the name capsicum is commonly used for bell peppers exclusively and chilli is often used to encompass the hotter varieties. Americans call the sweet types "peppers" or "bell peppers" and the hot ones "chili peppers" or "chilies" (sometimes spelled "chiles").
Sweet peppers are very often used as a bulking agent in ready-made meals and take-away food, because they are cheap, have a strong flavor, and are colorful. Foods containing peppers, especially chili peppers, often have a strong aftertaste due to the presence of capsinoids in peppers. Capsaicin, a chemical found in chili peppers, creates a burning sensation once ingested, which can last for several hours after ingestion.
Hot peppers are used in medicine as well as food in Africa and other places around the world.
English botanist John Lindley described C. annuum on page 509 of his 1838 'Flora Medica' thus:
|“||It is employed in medicine, in combination with Cinchona in intermittent and lethargic affections, and also in atonic gout, dyspepsia accompanied by flatulence, tympanitis, paralysis etc. Its most valuable application appears however to be in cynanche maligna (acute diphtheria) and scarlatina maligna (malignent Scarlet fever, used either as a gargle or administered internally.)||”|
- Gunna (properties) – ruksh (dry), laghu (light) and tikshan (sharp)
- Rasa dhatu (taste) – katu (pungent)
- Virya (potency) – ushan (hot)
Some cultivars grown specifically for their aesthetic value include the U.S. National Arboretum's Black Pearl and the Bolivian Rainbow. Ornamental varieties tend to have unusually colored fruit and foliage with colors such as black and purple being notable. All are edible, and most (like Royal Black) are hot.
Dried Guajillo chile pod
- International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants
- List of Capsicum cultivars
- Chili pepper
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|Wikispecies has information related to: Capsicum annuum|
- "Capsicum annuum L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 1997-01-22. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- Minguez Mosquera, M. I.; Hornero Mendez, D. (1994) "Comparative study of the effect of paprika processing on the carotenoids in peppers Capsicum annuum of the Bola and Agridulce varieties", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 42(7): 1555-1560
- "The Plant List".
- Latham, Elizabeth (2009-02-03). "The colourful world of chillies". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2009-03-08.
- Francis, John K. (2003-09-09). "Capsicum annuum L. bird pepper - USDA Forest Service". Retrieved 2013-09-30.
- Zhi-Yun Zhang, Anmin Lu & William G. D'Arcy. "Capsicum annuum Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 188. 1753". Flora of China 17. pp. 313–313.
- Katzer, Gernot (May 27, 2008). "Paprika (Capsicum annuum L.)". Retrieved December 1, 2012.
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (1 July 2006). Safety assessment of transgenic organisms: OECD consensus documents. OECD Publishing. pp. 299–. ISBN 978-92-64-02258-4. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (2004) Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 2. Vegetables. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen; Backhuys, Leiden; CTA, Wageningen.
- "Capsicum Annuum". Retrieved February 21, 2011.
- "Capsicum annuum "Black Pearl"". U.S. National Arboretum. March 2006. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
|This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2011)|
|Heat||Medium (SR: 2,500-10,000)|
The jalapeño ( /ao/; Spanish: [xalaˈpeɲo]) is a fruit, a medium sized chili pepper with a warm, burning sensation when eaten. A mature jalapeño is 2–3½ inches (5–9 cm) long and is commonly picked and sold when still green, but occasionally when ripe and red. It is a cultivar of the species Capsicum annuum originating in Mexico. It is named after Xalapa, Veracruz, where it was traditionally cultivated. About 160 square km are dedicated for the cultivation in Mexico, primarily in the Papaloapan river basin in the north of the state of Veracruz and in the Delicias, Chihuahua area. Jalapeños are cultivated on smaller scales in Jalisco, Nayarit, Sonora, Sinaloa, and Chiapas.
The jalapeño is variously named in Mexico as huachinango and chile gordo. The cuaresmeño closely resembles the jalapeño. The seeds of a cuaresmeño have the heat of a jalapeño, but the flesh has a mild flavor close to a green bell pepper.
As of 1999[update], 5,500 acres (22 km2) in the United States were dedicated to the cultivation of jalapeños. Most jalapeños are produced in southern New Mexico and western Texas.
Jalapeños are a pod type of Capsicum. The growing period is 70–80 days. When mature, the plant stands two and a half to three feet tall. Typically a plant produces twenty-five to thirty-five pods. During a growing period, a plant will be picked multiple times. As the growing season ends, jalapeños start to turn red. Jalapeños thrive in a number of soil types, and temperatures if they are provided with adequate water. Once picked, individual peppers ripen to red of their own accord. The peppers can be eaten green or red.
Jalapeños have 2,500 - 8,000 Scoville heat units. Compared to other chilis, the jalapeño has a heat level that varies from mild to hot depending on cultivation and preparation. The heat, caused by capsaicin and related compounds, is concentrated in the membrane (placenta) surrounding the seeds, which are called picante. Handling fresh jalapeños may cause skin irritation. Some handlers wear latex or vinyl gloves while cutting, skinning, or seeding jalapeños. When preparing jalapeños, hands should not come in contact with the eyes as this leads to burning and redness.
Jalapeño is of Nahuatl and Spanish origin. The Spanish suffix -eño signifies that the noun originates in the place modified by the suffix, similar to the English -(i)an. The jalapeño is named after the Mexican town of Xalapa (also spelled Jalapa). Xalapa is itself of Nahuatl derivation, formed from roots xal-li "sand" and a-pan "water place."
- Chiles toreados are fresh jalapeños that are sauteed in oil until the skin is blistered all over. They are sometimes served with melted cheese on top.
- Chipotles are smoked, ripe jalapeños.
- Jalapeño jelly can be prepared using jelling methods.
- Jalapeño peppers are often muddled and served in mixed drinks.
- Jalapeño poppers, also called armadillo eggs, are an appetizer; jalapeños are stuffed with cheese, usually cheddar or cream cheese, breaded or wrapped in bacon, and cooked.
- Stuffed jalapeños are hollowed out fresh jalapeños (served cooked or raw) that are stuffed, often with a mix containing seafood, meat, poultry, and/or cheese.
- Texas toothpicks are jalapeños and onions shaved into straws, lightly breaded, and deep fried.
- List of capsicum cultivars
- Washington's Birthday Celebration in Laredo, Texas, which includes the annual Jalapeño Festival in February.
- List of North American hot sauces
- Scoville scale
A large red cayenne
The cayenne pepper, also known as the Guinea spice, cow-horn pepper, red hot chili pepper, aleva, bird pepper, or, especially in its powdered form, red pepper, is a cultivar of Capsicum annuum related to bell peppers, jalapeños, paprika, and others. The Capsicum genus is in the nightshade family (Solanaceae). It is a hot chili pepper used to flavor dishes. It is named for the city of Cayenne in French Guiana.
The fruits are generally dried and ground, or pulped and baked into cakes, which are then ground and sifted to make the powdered spice of the same name.
Cayenne is used in cooking spicy dishes, as a powder or in its whole form (such as in Korean, Sichuan, and other Asian cuisine), or in a thin, vinegar-based sauce. It is generally rated at 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units. It is also used as an herbal supplement, and was mentioned by Nicholas Culpeper in his Complete Herbal, 1653, as "guinea pepper", a misnomer for "guiana pepper".
Most cultivated varieties of cayenne, Capsicum annuum, can be grown in a variety of locations and need around 100 days to mature. Peppers prefer warm, moist, nutrient-rich soil in a warm climate. The plants grow to about 0.5–1 m (20–39 in) long in height and should be spaced 1 m (3 ft 3 in) apart. In gardens, the plants may be planted as close as 30 cm (1 ft) long apart in a raised bed. This may reduce the yield of an individual plant, but will increase yields per unit area.
Chilis are mostly perennial in subtropical and tropical regions; however, they are usually grown as annuals in temperate climates. They can be overwintered if protected from frost, and require some pruning.
Cayenne pepper, by weight, is relatively high in vitamin A. It also contains vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, and manganese. However, given the very small amount of cayenne pepper typically consumed in a serving, it makes a negligible contribution to overall dietary intake of these nutrients.
Cayenne pepper consumption dilates the blood vessels and speeds the metabolism due to the high amounts of capsaicin. With the consumption of cayenne peppers, the amount of heat the human body puts off is influenced. In animal studies, capsaicin has the ability to boost metabolism, which in turn causes weight loss. This increases circulation and blood flow to all major organs, facilitating oxygen and nutrient delivery. Capsaicin may support a healthy energy balance while suppressing appetite. Capsaicin has been shown to increase energy expenditure, so acts as a metabolism booster and is beneficial in long-term weight loss. A correlation has been shown between substrate oxidation and capsaicin. Capsaicin treatment sustained fat oxidation during weight maintenance, but did not affect on weight regain after modest weight loss. 
Cayenne pepper is also claimed to be an aphrodisiac because it contains capsaicin. It has also been shown to aid in the oxidation of adipose tissue, regulate high blood pressure, promote healthy liver function and tissue production, help regulate the digestive system, and promote healthy mucus production in the membranes that line internal organs.
Cayenne is a popular spice in a variety of cuisines. It is employed variously in its fresh form, dried and powdered, and as dried flakes. It is also a key ingredient in a variety of hot sauces, particularly those employing vinegar as a preservative. Cayenne pepper is often spread on sandwiches or similar items to add a spicy flavor. Buffalo wing sauce often contains cayenne.
- Culpeper, Nicholas (1814) . "Guinea Pepper". Culpeper's Complete Herbal. David Hand (Web publication). Retrieved 13 July 2011.
- Therapeutic Research Faculty (2009). "Capiscum". Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (Consumer Version). WebMD. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
- The pepper from Guinea is Aframomum melegueta, "Malagueta pepper".
- Brown, Ellen (27 April 2006). "Growing: Cayenne". ThriftyFun.com. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
- South Devon Chilli Farm (2010). "Chilli Seed Propagation and Plant Care". South Devon Chilli Farm. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
- "Nutrition Facts: Spices, pepper, red or cayenne". Nutrition Data. Condé Nast Digital. 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
- Westerterp-Plantenga, MS; Reinbach, HC; Smeets, A; Martinussen, T; Møller, P (June 2009). "Effects of capsaicin, green tea and CH-19 sweet pepper on appetite and energy intake in humans in negative and positive energy balance.". Clinical Nutrition 28 (3).
- Diepvens, K; Westerterp K; Westerterp-Plantenga M. "Obesity and thermogenesis related to the consumption of caffeine, ephedrine, capsaicin, and green tea". The American Journal of Psychology 292: 77–85.
- Lejeune, M; Kovacs E; Westerterp-Plantegna M (2003). "Effect of capsaicin on substrate oxidation and weight maintenance after modest body-weight loss in human subjects". British Journal of Nutrition 90: 651–659. doi:10.1079/bjn2003938.
- Takahashi, M; Snitker, S; Fujishima, Y; Ott, S; Pi-Sunyer, X; Furuhata, Y; Sato, H (Jan 2009). "Effects Of Novel Capsinoid Treatment On Fatness And Energy Metabolism In Humans: Possible Pharmacogenetic Implications.". American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition. 1 89.
- Latif, Ray (30 May 2011). "Extreme and Edgy Flavors". Beverage Spectrum Magazine (Bevnet). Retrieved 13 July 2011.
- Stanton Lee, Kendra (March 2011). "Slimming Prospects". Beverage Spectrum Magazine (Bevnet). Retrieved 13 July 2011.
- "Bonavitas Cayenne Pepper Energy Drink". PRWeb (USA). 30 June 2011.
- Nutrient Data Laboratory et al. "99369: Peppers, cayenne, raw (Capsicum annuum)". USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods (2.1 ed.). p. 68 (PDF p. 3). Retrieved 13 July 2011. [dead link]
Dundicuts are a variety of small, round (approx. 1/2" to 1" diameter), dark red chili peppers grown in Pakistan. Dundicuts are similar in size and flavor to Scotch bonnet peppers, but not as hot, and are of a different species. A major commercial spice vendor describes dundicuts as "quite hot, with a full-bodied, complex flavor. A single crushed pepper will add heat and flavor to a dish for two." Dundicuts have a heat rating of 55,000-65,000 Scoville Units.
- ^ a b "Dundicut Peppers". Penzeys Spices. http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeysdundicut.html. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
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|Heat||Medium (SR: 2,500-10,000)|
The Fresno chili pepper a cultivar of Capsicum annuum, with bell peppers and other chili peppers. It is similar to the Jalapeño pepper but it is significantly hotter (2500-10000 Scoville units) increasing in heat as it ripens. It is frequently used for ceviche and making salsa. They do not dry well and are not good for chili powder.
Since the Fresno chili is riper and redder than the jalapeño, it has more vitamins, most notably Vitamin C. They are an excellent source of B vitamins, and contain significant amounts of iron, thiamin, niacin, magnesium and riboflavin. They are low in calories, fat, and sodium.
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Bell pepper, also known as sweet pepper, capsicum or a pepper (in the UK), is a cultivar group of the species Capsicum annuum (chili pepper). Cultivars of the plant produce fruits in different colors, including red, yellow, orange and green. Bell peppers are sometimes grouped with less pungent pepper varieties as "sweet peppers". Peppers are native to Mexico, Central America and northern South America. Pepper seeds were later carried to Spain in 1493 and from there spread to other European, African and Asian countries. Today, Mexico remains one of the major pepper producers in the world.
The misleading name "pepper" (pimiento in Spanish) was given by Christopher Columbus upon bringing the plant back to Europe. At that time peppercorns, the fruit of Piper nigrum, an unrelated plant originating from India, were a highly prized condiment; the name "pepper" was at that time applied in Europe to all known spices with a hot and pungent taste and so naturally extended to the newly discovered Capsicum genus. The most commonly used alternative name of the plant family, "chili", is of Central American origin. Bell peppers are botanically fruits, but are generally considered in culinary contexts to be vegetables.
While the bell pepper is a member of the Capsicum genus, it is the only Capsicum apart from Capsicum rhomboideum that does not produce capsaicin, a lipophilic chemical that can cause a strong burning sensation when it comes in contact with mucous membranes. The lack of capsaicin in bell peppers is due to a recessive form of a gene that eliminates capsaicin and, consequently, the "hot" taste usually associated with the rest of the Capsicum genus.
The term "bell pepper" or "pepper" or "capsicum" is often used for any of the large bell shaped capsicum fruits, regardless of their color. In British English, the fruit is simply referred to as a "pepper", or additionally by colour (as in the term "green pepper", for example), whereas in many Commonwealth of Nations countries, such as Australia, India, Malaysia and New Zealand, they are called "capsicum". Across Europe, the term "paprika", which has its roots in the word for pepper, is used—sometimes referred to by their color (e.g., "groene paprika", "gele paprika", in Dutch, which are green and yellow, respectively). Paprika also refers to the powdered spice made from the fruits in the Capsicum genus. In France, it is called "poivron", with the same root as "poivre" (meaning "pepper"), or "piment". In Korea, the word 피망 ("piman" from the French) refers to green bell peppers, whereas 파프리카 ("papurika" from paprika) refers to bell peppers of other colors.
The color can be green, red, yellow, orange and more rarely, white, rainbow (between stages of ripening) and purple, depending on when they are harvested and the specific cultivar. Green peppers are less sweet and slightly more bitter than red, yellow or orange peppers. The taste of ripe peppers can also vary with growing conditions and post-harvest storage treatment; the sweetest are fruit allowed to ripen fully on the plant in full sunshine, while fruit harvested green and after-ripened in storage are less sweet.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||84 kJ (20 kcal)|
|- Sugars||2.40 g|
|- Dietary fiber||1.7 g|
|Thiamine (Vit. B1)||0.057 mg (5%)|
|Riboflavin (Vit. B2)||0.028 mg (2%)|
|Niacin (Vit. B3)||0.480 mg (3%)|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.099 mg (2%)|
|Vitamin B6||0.224 mg (17%)|
|Folate (Vit. B9)||10 μg (3%)|
|Vitamin C||80.4 mg (97%)|
|Calcium||10 mg (1%)|
|Iron||0.34 mg (3%)|
|Magnesium||10 mg (3%)|
|Phosphorus||20 mg (3%)|
|Potassium||175 mg (4%)|
|Zinc||0.13 mg (1%)|
|Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.|
Source: USDA Nutrient database
Compared to green peppers, red peppers have more vitamins and nutrients and contain the antioxidant lycopene. The level of carotene, like lycopene, is nine times higher in red peppers. Red peppers have twice the vitamin C content of green peppers. Also, one large red bell pepper contains 209 mg of vitamin C, which is almost three times the 70 mg of an average orange.
- Note: Serbia before 2006 incl. Montenegro
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- ^ http://www.chiliwonders.com/chili.scoville.htm
- ^ "The World's Healthies Foods". http://whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=50. Retrieved February 23, 2010.
- ^ Azhar Ali Farooqi; B. S. Sreeramu; K. N. Srinivasappa (2005). Cultivation of Spice Crops. Universities Press. pp. 336–. ISBN 9788173715211. http://books.google.com/books?id=7KPUlXxOYZAC&pg=PA336. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- ^ http://www.fitsugar.com/node/167874/results
- ^ "Table 64--World bell and chile peppers: Production 1990-2007". United States Department of Agriculture. http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/ers/BellAndChile/Table64.xls. Retrieved 2011-05-08.
French Guiana: piment. Surinam Kaxuyana: ah-se-se. Surinam Sranan: pepra, pepre. Surinam Tirio: pom-we. Surinam Tirio of Tepoe: pom-wa.
The practice of referring woody plants of this species to Capsicum frutescens Linnaeus has little merit since herbaceous plants often become woody with age, and other characters supposed to distinguish the two species occur in various populations in both herbaceous and woody plants.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: For North America and the U.S. Caribbean, Kartesz (1999) recognizes two varieties of Capsicum annuum, with var. annuum present in this range only as an exotic, and var. glabriusculum present as a native (although an exotic in portions of its range). Two other varieties have sometimes been recognized: var. aviculare is included by Kartesz in his var. glabriusculum, and var. frutescens is included by him in his var. annuum. LEM 17Jan00.
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