Submitted to: Germplasm Release
Publication Type: Germplasm Release
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/21/2005
Publication Date: 1/21/2005
Citation: Stommel, J.R., Griesbach, R.J. 2004. Notice of release of ornamental pepper - Black Pearl. USDA, ARS Germplasm/Variety Release Notice. Interpretive Summary: A new pepper cultivar named Black Pearl has been developed by scientists at the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. Black Pearl was developed for ornamental use and bears distinctive black foliage and bright red upright clusters of small round fruit. Black Pearl was designated an All-America Selections (AAS) Flower and Vegetable Award Winner after completion of national trials in 2004. AAS Trials were initiated in 1932 to promote new garden seed varieties with superior performance judged in impartial trials in North America. Fruit of Black Pearl average 1.6 cm in diameter and are borne upright on the plant in clusters of approximately six fruit per cluster. Immature fruit are purple in color and will mature to red in approximately 80 days. The plants have a compact upright growth habit. Leaf color is black. Black Pearl is best suited for use as a bedding or pot plant. Black Pearl's dark foliage and showy brightly colored fruit provide an attractive ornamental display. Black Pearl affords nursery growers a new crop to add to their bedding and landscape plant assortment and is an ideal choice for consumers to add interest to the summer and fall garden. Ornamental peppers have the highest per unit value of any pepper product and have become a profitable crop for greenhouse pot plant and transplant production and an innovative way for small farmers to produce a high-value alternative crop. Seed of Black Pearl is available from Pan American Seed Company, 1S861 Green Road, Elburn, Illinois 60119.
Technical Abstract: The Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture announces the release of a new pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) cultivar named Black Pearl. This cultivar is intended for ornamental applications. Black Pearl was selected for its distinctive black foliage, bright red upright clusters of small round fruit, and compact upright growth habit. Fruit are borne in terminal clusters of approximately six fruit per cluster. Immature fruit are black pigmented and mature to red in approximately 80 days. Fruit contain 2 to 3 locules and average 1.6 cm in diameter. Average fruit pericarp thickness is 0.15 cm. Fruit are pungent. Plants average 45 cm in diameter and 31 cm in height. Foliage is black. When grown as bedding or pot plants, Black Pearl's black foliage and brightly colored upright-oriented clustered fruit provide a strikingly attractive ornamental display for the summer and fall garden. Black Pearl is a true-breeding F8 selection derived from an initial cross between a purple foliage selection identified from a segregating population of the variegated heirloom pepper cultivar Royal Black and an unnamed selection bearing green foliage and clusters of round red fruit. The latter was introduced by Dr. Thomas Barksdale (retired) to the Beltsville Capsicum genebank from a display garden at the U.S. National Arboretum. Plant Variety Protection for Black Pearl has been requested. Black Pearl was designated an All America Selections Flower and Vegetable award winner after completion of national trials in 2004.