Pequin Pepper - Bird Pepper
Pequin Pepper is no bigger than a pea. Tiny but deadly, it's 15 times hotter than a jalepeno, half as hot as a habanero. It is still among the hottest peppers in the world.
“Pequino” means tiny in Spanish. Bird peppers are only 1/4" wide, bite sized for birds, who don't experience the effects of capsaicin, though we mammals certainly do. Pequin's flavor is citrusy and nutty, wonderful in pickles, salsas, sauces and soups, adding a deliciously fierce fire.
Pequins grow wild in hot climates. Originally from the Americas, they are now cultivated in Africa to Thailand, wherever an extremely hot peppers are appreciated. The airy bushes grow three feet tall and cover themselves in tiny white flowers with bright yellow stamens. They're very showy, even before the brilliant red peppers appear. They make a beautiful mass planting.
Perennial in warm climates, Pequins grow fine as annuals in cooler climates. They make pretty little bushes, either in pots or in the landscape. Once established, they are quite drought tolerant and may recover even after a frost knocks them to the ground. They're great for bee and butterfly gardens. Birds love the tiny red peppers and generously redistribute the seeds.
Bird Peppers are easy to germinate, but erratic about their germination time, which can be a couple of weeks to 3 months. Plant them in the ground when the soil has warmed to 80 degrees and being patient is required. These are wild peppers. You are not the boss.