Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Germplasm Release
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/18/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Hot peppers have become an extremely popular commodity in the United States. Americans are beginning to appreciate the variety of hot and spicy foods that are available. Peppers are healthful, plentiful, and inexpensive; they are ideal for invigorating low-fat, bland dishes. The USDA has released a new hot pepper cultivar, named Charleston Hot, that is 20 to 30 times more pungent than a typical jalapeno. The new cultivar has several characteristics that should make it suitable for utilization by both home gardeners and market gardeners. The compact plant habit allows the cultivar to be grown in gardens where space is limited, yield potential is high, the fruits are large and exhibit a unique array of intense colors during maturation, and the plants are highly resistant to root-knot nematodes. Since the root-knot nematode is prevalent in many soils in the southern United States and is one of the major pests of pepper, the resistance exhibited by Charleston Hot should be of particular interest to home gardeners and small commercial growers. These individuals often do not have access to alternative production sites or to the needed pesticides and pesticide application equipment.
Technical Abstract: The USDA has released a new, cayenne-type pepper (Capsicum annuum) cultivar that is well adapted for production throughout the southern United States. The new cultivar, named Charleston Hot, was derived from a single plant that was selected from a Carolina Hot population that was heterogeneous for many traits, including plant habit, fruit color, and resistance to root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.). Charleston Hot has an erect plant habit. A typical fruit is straight to slightly curved, 2.2 cm in diameter at the base, 9.6 cm in length, and has a fresh weight of 10 g. The color of the young fruit is yellowish green. As the fruits mature, the color gradually changes to golden yellow and then to a brilliant orange. Fully mature fruits are quite pungent (70,000 to 120,000 Scoville heat units), and exhibit a bright, deep red color. Charleston Hot has consistently produced excellent yields in test plantings. The new cultivar ris highly resistant to M. javanica, M. arenaria, and M. hapla. Charleston Hot is recommended for market and home garden use. The fruits are excellent for pickling, relishes, salsa, sauces, and dehydration.