Economic Botany

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 361-368

First online:

Early evolution of chili peppers (Capsicum)

  • M. J. McLeodAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, Miami University
  • , Sheldon I. GuttmanAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, Miami University
  • , W. Hardy EshbaughAffiliated withDepartment of Botany, Miami University

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An hypothesis is advanced based upon geographical information and data from horizontal starch gel electrophoresis regarding the place and mode of evolution of the chili peppers (Capsicum). The hypothesis suggests a major portion of the genusCapsicum arose in a nuclear area in south central Bolivia with subsequent migration into the Andes and lowland Amazonia accompanied by radiation and speciation.