Mystery Pepper
July 22, 2014 3:03 PM   Subscribe

Help me identify the mystery pepper plant I am growing in my backyard! Pictures: 1, 2, 3.

Last year I bought what I thought were lemon pepper seeds from an eBay vendor. As the pictures show, when I planted those seeds what came up were not lemon pepper plants. So what are these peppers? The peppers are about 1.5 - 2 inches long. I've lost the eBay vendor information so asking them is out.
posted by research monkey to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Looks like a habanero to me.
posted by dortmunder at 3:08 PM on July 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Second vote for habanero or Scotch Bonnet.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 3:13 PM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Both the plant and the pepper look very much like the habaneros I've grown in the past. Mine were orange, which I think is most common, but they do also come in red.
posted by Adridne at 3:15 PM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Voting habanero too. They're super hot, one of the hottest peppers in the world.
posted by shoesietart at 3:19 PM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I don't think they are habaneros, as the habaneros in the pictures are smooth-skinned, while the peppers I have have rough, wrinkled skin. My peppers have a Scotch Bonnet-like shape initially, but straighten out a bit as they get bigger.
posted by research monkey at 3:28 PM on July 22, 2014

I have grown habaneros for years and the photos all look like habaneros to me. Some habaneros have rougher/wrinkly skin. And many have a longer conical shape, instead of the more common crumpled lampshade variety.

And that's really the thing: variety. There are so many different kinds of habanero out there. I've had plants of the same seed growing right next to each other with fruits looking wildly different.

It could be a Scotch Bonnet (close cousin of the habanero). Though when I have grown these I have not noticed any kind of wrinkly flesh - at least any more so than a habanero.

It could even be a ghost pepper - these are longer and more wrinkly (and *way* more hot) than habaneros.

Ultimately, it's hard to tell with peppers at a certain point, especially given the proliferation of interspecific hybrids, unless you have access to some serious laboratory gear.

Whatever you do, wear gloves when handling these (unless you like searing pain in your eyes, nostrils, and other sensitive body parts).
posted by jammy at 3:56 PM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Are they hot? Not trying to hurt you, but that would help narrow the ID a bit. I would agree with jammy, the same species of peppers can look different once they've grown more. Same applies to other plants as well.
posted by strelitzia at 3:56 PM on July 22, 2014

They don't look like habaneros to me because the lobes aren't pronounced enough.

Incidentally, I'm growing a poblano this year that is weirdly stunted. It looks a lot like yours. They ought to elongate, like the pepper in your second picture has started to do, but they just won't. They get short and squat and then start turning red.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:55 PM on July 22, 2014

Response by poster: The resident chili-head just tried the pepper - he has tasted raw habaneros and Scotch Bonnets before, and says this pepper does not taste like either of them. It's hotter than a Scotch Bonnet. Also, "A scotch bonnet has a bit of a scorched earth character to it. this is a little sweeter. The pepper seems to me to be more fleshy than Scotch Bonnets."

We've looked at some of the pictures on GardenWeb and he thinks my peppers look more like Trinidad scorpion or 7 Pot Jonah (scroll down for pictures here).
posted by research monkey at 5:15 PM on July 22, 2014

Best answer: Some of them look pointed at the end, so they could also be super-hot Trinidadian Scorpions like these or these.

I also have some peppers whose name I can't remember that I bought from the farmer's market; they look very similar, but they are not spicy at all. So there are definitely peppers of this form factor that are not spicy.
posted by Maecenas at 5:17 PM on July 22, 2014

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