Posted July 15, 2005 by Nick Lindauer in Peppers

NMSU Ornamental Miniature Chilis

NMSU Develops Ornamental Miniature Chili That Changes From Black to Orange
Monday, July 11, 2005 06:16:49 PM

Imagine a Halloween chili, a miniature ornamental type that changes from black to orange. The head of New Mexico State University’s chili-breeding program, Paul Bosland, said the small black and orange chilies are among a dozen ornamental types developed by university researcher that can be used for ristras or for potted holiday plants.

And Bosland, NMSU professor of agronomy and horticulture, said he hopes ornamental chilies will make people want traditional chili for dinner.

“The secret motive here is to increase demand for our growers,” he said.

NMSU’s ornamental chilies aren’t for eating, however, not because they’re harmful, but because they’re extremely hot, said Geno Picchioni, associate professor of horticulture.

Danise Coon, senior research assistant with the Chile Pepper Institute at NMSU, said a university variety, NuMex Twilight, whose pods become purple, yellow, orange and red in turn, is on the market. But she said companies copied it because it was not patented.

Bosland said ornamental chili is only a small part of the school’s breeding program.

“We give 110 percent, and so 10 percent is on ornamentals,” he said.

Chilies for ristras and the first houseplant varieties arose from efforts to produce a better chili for farmers, he said.

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog