How to identify Pepper Plants? (13 Varieties)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, ‘How to identify Pepper Plants?’. We will discuss the characteristics of some varieties of pepper plants, the Scoville Heat Units, and how to identify each of them.

How to identify Pepper Plants?

To identify Pepper Plants, study the seeds, petals, flowers, calyx, and pedicels.

The Seeds

The dark seeds are of the C Pubescents species, which are accompanied by purple petals.

Lighter and yellowish seeds belong to the class of mild peppers with petals that are white or greenish.

The Petals

The petals or corolla have distinct yellow spots at the lobes’ bases in the C Baccatum species.

With the greenish-white corolla 

The Flowers

For the C Annuum family of pepper plants, check if the flower is isolated. However, in the C Chinese variety, the flowers originate from the same node. A milky white corolla with straight pedicels and lobe, with multiple flowers in each node, is the C Annum.

If the Corolla seems greenish, and the lobes are curled up behind, it is most probably the C Frutescens Pepper. 

The Calyx

If there is a ringlike constriction in the intersection of pedicel and calyx, then it is C Chinese.

The Pedicels

If the pedicels are erect and the plant has mature flowers, then it is a pepper plant of the C Frutescens family. If the matured flowers with straight corolla are accompanied by slanted pedicels, then it is a C Chinense.

What are some tips for handling Pepper Plants?

Wear gloves before you handle Pepper Plants. Pepper plants are very hot with a high Scoville Heat Unit which could cause a burning sensation to your skin.

What are the general characteristics of pepper Plants?

Peppers are found in varying sizes, tastes, spice levels, and colors. It can be hard for an amateur to identify peppers, even though, it could be crucial for a particular recipe. Pubescens yield peppers with Scoville Heat Unit of 12000 and above.

Mild Pepper Plants include sweet bell and cherry peppers, while cayenne and Serrano have medium heat levels. The hottest spices are habanero and scotch bonnet. 

The Annum Pepper plant bear jalapeños, poblano, cayenne, Serrano, and bell peppers, while the Chinense produces habanero, Carolina Reaper, and Scotch Bonnet.

Frutescens bear Tabasco, Piri, candor Thai peppers.

Other FAQs about Pepper which you may be interested in.

How long do bell pepper plants live?

Are pepper plants self-pollinating?

Can you eat a Carolina Reaper?

Let us discuss the traits of some common Pepper Plant varieties;


The Annum has white flowers and is harvested in North America. The Annum Peppers have thick skin and high water content.

With the mildest spice family, the Heat Units of Annum Peppers could be as lows as 0 SHU. It is a perennial flower and has some of the most popular spices; Jalapeno, Poblano, Cayenne, Serano, and Bell.


Baccatum Peppers look like berries. The heat varies from 30000 to 50000 SHU and some of the popular names include Aji Lemon, Sugar Rush, Bishops Crown, Peppadew, and Brazilian Starfish.


Caedenasii is small, round yet very hot. The leaves of the Caedenasii peppers have tiny bristles and their branches are delicate and the flowers have 5 petals. The Chacoense produces berry-like peppers which are around 10 mm long.


Chacoense has edible pods which are mildly spicy. Chacoense grows as spirals and has around 5 petals.

Chinense peppers 

Chinense peppers are usually the very hot ones, however, some with medium heat are also produced such as Nu Mex Suave and the Trinidad Perfume.


Capsicum Rhomboideum has yellow flowers at the end. The edible flower has a sweet, malty taste without much spice.


A rare plant with small pods which are hot yet not very pleasant to the taste.


An uncommon variety of peppers that have flowers with a white exterior and green interior. The red tiny berries can be quite hot.


Frutescens are short plants with numerous flowers. They are straight with a predefined shape.


Galapagoense is a small plant with tiny, hairy leaves. They have hair all over the plant and bear green fruit when immature but turn red as they ripen. They also release a pleasant odor that emanates from the leaves of the plant.


The rare plant has leaves that grow in pairs, in different directions. However, the leaves tend to have different sizes and shapes. The fruit is small with black seeds.


They produce capsicum peppers which are small and flavorful. The leaves are large and the petals have wide purple borders.


With hairy leaves and flowers which are either solitary or in pairs. The flowers have blue blue-violet-colored petals, with large pods with black seeds. The variety of peppers can have anywhere between 12,000 to 250,000 SHU.

In this brief guide, we answered the question, ‘How to identify Pepper Plants?’. We discussed the characteristics of some varieties of pepper plants, the Scoville Heat Units, and how to identify each of them.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.