Saturday, July 16, 2011

Black Pearl Pepper

Black Pearl pepper

We did a trip to Tower Hill Botanical Gardens in Worcester yesterday. Of course, my biggest interest was in the displays of vegetable plants, both in the kitchen garden behind the Farmhouse and in the Systematic gardens. One particular plant caught my eye because it was such a knockout. It was the Black Pearl hot pepper, useful as both an ornamental and edible pepper.

The leaves of the plant are broad and flat. New growth starts green but the turns black and shiny when mature. The pods appear in clusters of small, round fruits that are shiny black when immature and cherry red when mature. Apparently the flavor is very good as well. Plants are also said to be vigorous, fairly disease and drought resistant, and heavy producers. The plant is OP and was bred by the USDA. It was an AAS selection in 2006. I didn’t see plants of this variety at any of the local garden centers I visited this year, so this one is going on my seed list for next year. Seeds are available from Johnny’s and Pine Tree among others. You can also read a discussion on the pepper on the GardenWeb forum.

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