This is the most acrid and stimulating spice with which we are acquainted. It is a powder prepared from several varieties of the capsicum annual East-India plants, of which there are three so far naturalized in this country as to be able to grow in the open air: these are the Guinea, the Cherry, and the Bell pepper. All the pods of these are extremely pungent to the taste, and in the green state are used by us as a pickle. When ripe, they are ground into cayenne pepper, and sold as a condiment. The best of this, however, is made in the West Indies, from what is called the Bird pepper, on account of hens and turkeys being extremely partial to it. It is imported ready for use. Of the capiscum species of plants there are five; but the principal are
  1. Capsicum annuum, the common long-podded capsicum, which is cultivated in our gardens, and of which there are two varieties, one with red, and another with yellow fruit.
  2. Capsicum baccatum, or bird pepper, which rises with a shrubby stalk four or five feet high, with its berries growing at the division of the branches: this is small, oval-shaped, and of a bright-red colour, from which, as we have said, the best cayenne is made.
  3. Capsicum grossum, the bell-pepper: the fruit of this is red, and is the only kind fit for pickling.

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