February 4, 2018

Rocopica, Ulupica Large (Capsicum cardenasii x pubescens)

This is subtropical perennial (but can be grown as annual) shrub 0,3-3 m (= 1-10 ft) tall - a hybrid of rare cultivated chili Rocoto (Capsicum pubescens) and wild Ulupica pepper (C. cardenasii) (the connection of common names “Rocoto” and “Ulupica” gave their hybrid the name “Rocopica”). It is sometimes also called by synonim name: Capsicum cardenasii var. pendulum.

This is (semi-) evergreen shrub about 1 m = 3 ft tall within 2 years if grown in medium size pot, which creates purple flowers and hot, juicy, fleshy and aromatic, bright red fruits about 1-2cm (0,4-0,8 inch) diameter. Seeds are brown-black or pale brown (I have 2 plants: one with fruits about 2 cm = 0,8 inch diameter and pale brown seeds and the second with smaller – about 1 cm = 0,4 inch - fruits and brown-black seeds). To germination the seeds need soaking in GA3 (2000ppm by 24 h) + chamomile tea and next sowing surface in light moist soil in warm place. Instead of chamomile you can cover the seeds by chemical fungicide before sowing. The seeds germinate slowly and erratic. Plant is probably self-infertile (to creating fruits there are necessary at least 2 genetically various plants). Although this is perennial tree it is very difficult to wintering even inside in my cold temperate zone. I am keeping my plants on sunny (west side) window sill in warm, but plants usually gradually deteriorate during winter and the shoots need to be cutted back (to less than half their length) in mid winter to they become heavier and could re-sprout.

The unripe fruits
and ripe ones

Cutted fruit

Fruits with removed seeds

 I am looking for wild South American species of Chilies. If you live there and could harvest the seeds please write to me.

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