Chili pepper, any of several species and cultivars of very hot, pungent peppers in the nightshade family (Solanaceae). Chili peppers are native to the Americas and are cultivated in warm climates around the world. Many of the most-common chili peppers are cultivars of Capsicum annuum, including the cayenne, jalapeño, serrano, and Thai chili peppers. Some of the hottest chili peppers are cultivars of C. chinense, including the habanero, the Carolina reaper, and the ghost chili pepper, or bhut jolokia, though tabasco is a cultivar of C. frutescens. Chili peppers can be eaten fresh or dried and are used to make chili powder and to flavour barbecue, hot curry, and other spicy sauces.

Capsicum annuum, as the chilli pepper is known in Latin, is closely related to the sweet pepper. Both are members of the Solanaceae family, the nightshades, which also includes the potato. Many plants in this family are poisonous, but chilli peppers are extremely edible and very healthy. 

You can plant chilli plants in containers, pots or beds. The plant then first produces white flowers, followed by the chilli peppers. You can buy some chilli pepper plants which already have some peppers on them, which makes things very easy. They’re climbers, but there are also bush forms or dwarf plants that are ideal for pots and containers. 

The chilli pepper plant originates from India and Southeast Asia, but they also occur widely in South America. The small, fiery fruit are often called chillies. The red peppers are reminiscent of blood coral lucky amulets, and therefore symbolise happiness, health and prosperity.

Chilli peppers are said to provide protection against infidelity. If you place dried chilli peppers under your partner’s pillow, he or she will remain faithful to you.