Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/16/2008
Publication Date: 6/1/2008
Citation: Stommel, J.R., Griesbach, R.J. 2008. Capsicum Annuum L. Lil' Pumpkin and Pepper Jack. HortScience. 43:935-938.
Interpretive Summary: Once popular in the 1600’s, the use of vegetables as focal elements in the garden all but disappeared between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. Today, aided by the availability of new and novel plant varieties, traditional vegetable gardeners and landscape architects are drawing upon the examples set by their seventeenth century predecessors to beautify the vegetable garden. In order to address this renewed interest, two new pepper cultivars named Lil’ Pumpkin and Pepper Jack have been developed by scientists at the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. Lil’ Pumpkin’s unique black foliage and orange pumpkin-like fruit and Pepper Jack’s greenish-black foliage and mix of orange and black cone-shaped fruit provide rich color contrasts in the summer garden and are particularly well-suited as ornamental vegetables for the fall Halloween season. Ornamental peppers have the highest per unit value of any pepper product. Lil’ Pumpkin and Pepper Jack give nursery growers a new crop to add to their bedding and landscape plant assortment. Lil’ Pumpkin and Pepper Jack are available from McCorkle Nurseries, 4904 Luckey’s Bridge Road, Dearing, Georgia 30808.
Technical Abstract: The USDA, ARS announces the release of two new pepper cultivars 05C37-3 (trademarked as Lil’ Pumpkin) and 05C69-12 (trademarked as Pepper Jack). Lil’ Pumpkin and Pepper Jack are intended for ornamental applications. Lil’ Pumpkin’s unique black foliage and orange pumpkin-like fruit and Pepper Jack’s greenish black foliage and mix of orange and black conical fruit provide rich color contrasts in the summer garden and are particularly well-suited for the fall Halloween season. These cultivars are suitable for container and bedding plant production. Lil’ Pumpkin displays an upright compact growth habit. Plants average 88 cm in diameter and 50 cm in height. Mature leaves average 5.5 cm in length and 2.5 cm in width. Adaxial leaf surface is black. Immature pumpkin-shaped fruit are black and mature to orange. Fruit contain 3 locules, average 2.4 cm in diameter at the midpoint, 1.7 cm in diameter at the calyx and 1.7 cm in length. A flush of full-size black fruit develop approximately 60 days from transplanting and mature to orange in approximately 75 days. Additional fruit continue to develop, providing season long interest. Pepper Jack plant habit is similar to Lil’ Pumpkin. Pepper Jack plants average 84 cm in diameter and 47 cm in height. Mature leaves average 4.3 cm in length and 2.1 cm in width. Adaxial leaf surface is green mottled with black. Pepper Jack has a mixed display of contrasting immature black and mature orange fruit. Fruit mature to orange in approximately 75 days. A mixed fruit set ensures an attractive display into the fall season. Fruit are tabasco shaped, contain 2 to 3 locules, average 3.4 cm in length, 1.3 cm in width at the calyx and 1.2 cm in width at the midpoint. Attributes common to both cultivars include leaves that are glabrous, glossy and lanceolate with an apiculate tip. Leaves are simple, entire, and symmetrical. Flowers are self-compatible, hermaphroditic, pentamerous and hypogynous. Flowers are purple, average 2.1 to 2.7 cm in diameter and have purple filaments, styles, anthers. Fruit are pungent and are borne solitary and upright. Lil’ Pumpkin and Pepper Jack are clonally propagated F4 and F3 selections, respectively. Their pedigrees are complex. Plant patent applications have been submitted for 06C84 and 07C114-1.