Renowned for their dry smoky flavour and fierce pungency, frutescens cultivars need heat and humidity to grow well. The chillies are small, carried erect, and are generally deciduous - all primitive characteristics which indicate a lack of human improvement. In much of Africa the 'birds eye' chilli is prized for its outstanding flavour and is made into a fiery sauce to accompany bland tasting staples. The variety 'Tabasco' is cultivated in huge quantities for making the popular sauce of the same name.
For cultivation in Northern Europe hybrids between Capsicum frutescens and Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum are easier to grow than either parent and have much the same flavour. Hybrids with Capsicum baccatum are also highly rewarding as the two parents combine to yield chillies with rich and complex flavours.
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