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From Bay Area to Barcelona

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Pimiento enano [ Wednesday, 14 Oct 09 | 12:00 ]
[Tags|, ]
[My Location |El Masnou (Barcelona) España]
[My Mood |contemplativecontemplative]

Dwarf Pepper

Pimiento enano / Dwarf Pepper
Capsicum annuum

A couple of months ago I bought a plant labeled only as capsicum (or pepper in the US, Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland), which is a genus in the nightshade family (Solanaceae) native to the Americas. The nightshade family includes Datura (Jimson weed), mandrake, deadly nightshade (belladonna), capsicum (paprika, chili pepper), potato, tobacco, tomato, eggplant and petunia. Of course some of these plants (and leaves of others) are definitely poisonous. Often here in Spain the plants are labeled no comestible when this is an issue.

So I tried one of the dried peppers and it tasted like Cayenne. Of course the very next day Ruben found an article that said that these pimientos enanos (dwarf peppers) are only decorative and should not be eaten. Oh well, I only ate a small amount and had no ill-effects.

Ruben and I have decided to look for some seeds for some small, edible peppers. I have been successful in growing pimiento campanilla (Capsicum baccatum). Curiously this means “bell pepper” in Spanish, but it is not the same as bell pepper, which is the US name for some fruits of the Capsicum annuum species of plants.

The misleading name "pepper" (pimiento in Spanish) was given by Christopher Columbus upon bringing the plant back to Europe in 1493 (coincidentally here in Barcelona). At that time peppercorns, the fruit of Piper nigrum (black pepper), an unrelated plant, were a highly-prized condiment. So blame Columbus for the confusion.

Photographer's note: IS, WB=7500K (“shade”). Curiously I thought the AWB “looked” better, but when I went back to look at the plant under similar lighting conditions, “shade” indeed look more “correct”. EXIF intact.