In spite of the name, these chillies come from South America, not China. Best known for the numerous hot cultivars which are of major importance in Caribbean cuisine, including the habaneros, scotch bonnets and scorpions. Although the hot cultivars are best known in the UK, there are also numerous Capsicum chinense cultivars with little or no heat which are known in the Caribbean as seasoning peppers and are equally widely used.
South American chinenses are more diverse in shape, colour and flavour than those from the Caribbean islands, and are well worth growing. Aribibi Gusano the caterpillar chilli from Bolivia, and Machu Pichu from Peru are good examples of interesting and tasty cultivars which are well worth growing.
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