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Cap"si*cum (kăp"sĭ*kŭm), n. [NL., fr. L. capsa box, chest.] (Bot.) A genus of plants of many species, producing capsules or dry berries of various forms, which have an exceedingly pungent, biting taste, and when ground form the red or Cayenne pepper of commerce.
&hand_; The most important species are Capsicum baccatum or bird pepper, Capsicum fastigiatum or chili pepper, Capsicum frutescens or spur pepper (from which tabasco is obtained), Capsicum chinense, which includes the fiery-hot habanero pepper, and Capsicum annuum or Guinea pepper, which includes the bell pepper, the jalapeno pepper, the cayenne pepper, and other common garden varieties. The fruit is much used, both in its green and ripe state, in pickles and in cookery. These contain varying levels of the substance capsaicin (C18H27O3N), which gives the peppers their hot taste. The habanero is about 25-50 times hotter than the jalapeno according to a scale developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912. See also Cayenne pepper, pepper and http://www.chili-pepper-plants.com/.
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3. Any plant of the genus Capsicum (of the Solanaceae family, which are unrelated to Piper), and its fruit; red pepper; chili pepper; as, the bell pepper and the jalapeno pepper (both Capsicum annuum) and the habanero pepper (Capsicum chinense); .
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