Wild Chile Pepper (Capsicum L.) of North America

  • Derek W. Barchenger
  • Paul W. Bosland


Chile pepper (Capsicum L. sp.) is an increasingly important crop worldwide because of its various culinary and medicinal uses. Despite a diverse primary gene pool, sources of resistance or tolerance to many chile pepper pests and diseases are rare. Novel sources of resistance exist within the broader Capsicum wild relative gene pool. Although widely distributed as a group, the wild relatives native to North America (C. annuum var. glabriusculum (Dunal) Heiser and Pickersgill, C. frutescens (L.), and C. rhomboideum (Dunal) Kuntze) are not well studied. Their overall lack of phenotypic characterization is likely the largest contributor to the underutilization of these important sources of genetic variability, followed by limited access to plant material, pre- or post-zygotic barriers to fertilization, and linkage drag. Both in situ and ex situ conservation efforts of these species are limited, and one species, C. lanceolatum (Greenm.) C. V. Morton and Standl., is now extinct in North America as a result. Increased awareness, financial support and policy changes to enable greater collection and storage would facilitate better characterization and evaluation of these species and increase the potential for their incorporation into modern breeding programs.


Capsicum Ex situ conservation In situ conservation Genetic resources 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Derek W. Barchenger
    • 1
  • Paul W. Bosland
    • 2
  1. 1.The World Vegetable Center, ShanhuaTainanRepublic of China
  2. 2.Plant and Environmental SciencesNew Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA

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