The hot pepper pod, like all peppers, belongs to the nightshade family Solanaceae. Definitely a very “strange” family.
One of the 85 species of the nightshade family is the Capsicum (scientific name of pepper), to which also belongs the red chili pepper.
The most common variety in Italy is the Capsicum annuum (scientific name of Spanish pepper). The Capsicum annuum combines the most common varieties: Capsicum abbreviatum, Acuminatum, Fasciculatum, Cerasiferum, Bicolor and christmas candle. For the sake of simplicity, we recommend you to forget the scientific names and classifications and to call the chili peppers with their local names:-).
The regional names of chili peppers
Pevium in Liguria; peuvroun in Piedmont; peverone in Lombardy; pevrum in Emilia; pepe rosso or zenzero in Tuscany; lazzarette or cazzarele at Pescara and Chieti; saittì at Teramo; pepentò piccante at L’Aquila; diavulillu in Molise; peparuolo in Campania; diavulicchio in Apulia; cancarillo, pipazzu, pipi vruscente or diavulillo in Calabria; pibiri-moriscu in Sardinia; pipi russi in Sicily; and to come to an end cerasella, mericanill or diavulicchiu in Lucania.
There are sweet, hot and really strong chili peppers. Everything depends on the proportion of Capsaicin, which emphasizes the hotness to its taste. Usually the smallest chili peppers are the hottest. Their grade of hotness is measured in Scoville Heat Units.
The Scoville Scale measures the hotness of a chili pepper.
These pods/fruits of the genus Capsicum contain Capsaicin, a chemical compound which stimulates the heat receptors located on the tongue, and exactly that stimulation causes the familiar feeling of “burning” in the mouth.
Scoville scale (in Scoville Heat Units – SHU)
Grade of Scoville
15.000.000 – 16.000.000
Dihydrocapsaicin, pure Capsaicin
8.800.000 – 9.100.000
6.000.000 – 8.600.000
2.500.000 – 5.300.000
Pepper Spray used only by the police
2.000.000 – 2.200.000
Carolina Reaper (hybrid)
1.067.286 – 2.000.231
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, Trinidad Scorpion, Butch Taylor, Naga Viper, Infinity Chili, Pepper Spray for common use
855.000 – 1.041.427
Naga Morich, Naga Dorset, Seven Pod
876.000 – 970.000
Bhut Jolokia (also known as Ghost Chili), Naga Jolokia (hybrid)
350.000 – 855.000
Habanero Red Savina, Indian Tezpur
100.000 – 350.000
Habanero, Jamaican Hot, Bird’s Eye (also known as “Piripiri”, “Pilipili”, “African Devil”)
50.000 – 100.000
Scotch Bonnet, Santaka, Chiltecpin, Rocoto, Thai Pepper (also known as Thai Dragon)
30.000 – 50.000
Ají, Cayenne pepper, Tabasco, Piquin Pepper
15.000 – 30.000
Chile de Arbol, Calabrese, Manzano
5.000 – 15.000
Peter Pepper, Serrano, Jalapeño
2.500 – 5.000
Mirasol, Chipotle, Poblano
1.500 – 2.500
Sandia, Cascabel, NuMex Big Jim, NuMex Suave
1.000 – 1.500
Ancho, Anaheim, Pasilla Bajio, Española
100 – 1.000
Mexican Bell-, Cherry- and New Mexico Pepper, Bell Pepper, Paprika
0 – 100
Sweet Bell Pepper, Allspice, Sweet Paprika
For those who would like to bury themselves in this subject, I propose to visit the following page:
(This page is only available in Italian!)