The Rocoto Red is native to Bolivia and Peru, but now a days they are grown throughout all South America. You will find them with different names eg Locoto in Bolivia, Rocoto in Peru and Manzano in Mexico. Manzano means apple and we find it’s a very true description, because the chilli plant looks like an apple tree and the pods look like little apples, both in look and consistency.
The Pubescens species has some very interesting characteristics:
- The stems and leaves are hairy (Pubescens is Latin and means reach puberty, become hairy or botanically it means covered with fine short hair)
- Contains more Dihydrocapsaicin than capsaicin resulting in a different burn.
- The flowers have blue/violet petals
- The seeds are black
- The species is more resistant to cold than other species. They are adapted to 4-21 degrees Celcius
It is said the plant grows up to four-meters tall and can live up to 15 years, which gives an almost tree-like appearance with age.
The pods are 3 cm tall and 5 cm wide, contain black seeds and are very thick walled. They start off green and end up a bright red colour, when they are fully mature.
Flavour wise: Very fresh and juicy with a light bean flavour, plus very firm and thick in consistency
Heat level: Takes a bit to build, but suddenly they kick in and have a really deep all over burn