Of the five domesticated capsicums, the Capsicum annuum is by far the most cultivated of all. The heat range found within the species can be both mild (such as bell peppers) and hot (cayenne peppers). Capsicum annuum is native to southern parts of North America, and northern regions of South America.
Despite the fact that annuum means “annual” in Latin, the species is in fact a perennial but extremely sensitive to frost. In order to survive over several seasons it needs to avoid winter-style conditions and the grower must “over winter” the plant, and if done correctly it can grow into a large perennial generating greater yields.
The flowers are an off-white colour in appearance, the stem has many branches and the plant can grow up to 60cm in height. The pods produced on a Capsicum annuum can be either gree, yellow, orange or red when ripe.
Some cultivars of the Capsicum annuum are grown purely for the way they look, and include the Black Pearl and the Bolivian Rainbow – all of which are edible.