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McMahon's Texas Bird Pepper

Capiscum annuum ‘glabriusculum’
Jefferson was sent seeds of this pretty dwarf pepper by Samuel Brown from San Antonio, Texas, in 1812 and 1813. Brown stated how the dried peppers were as "essential to my health as salt itself." Jefferson, hopeful this species might be hardier than others, sowed the seed in pots and in square XII of the Monticello vegetable garden. He also forwarded seeds to Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon, who apparently popularized the bird pepper as an ornamental pot plant in Pennsylvania.The Texas bird pepper is a lush, compact plant (one foot high) covered in early fall with tiny, quarter-inch, red-orange peppers. Samuel Brown said, "The Spaniards use it in fine Powder & seldom eat anything without it. The Americans . . . make a pickle of the green Pods with Salt & Vinegar which they use with Lettuce, Rice, Fish, etc." An essay about the Bird Pepper is posted on this Web site.
Growth Type: 
Hardiness Zones: 
Zone 10, Zone 9, Zone 8, Zone 7, Zone 6, Zone 5, Zone 4, Zone 3, Zone 2, Zone 1
Location at Monticello: 
Vegetable Garden
Planting Conditions: 
Full Sun
Blooming History: 
2002 Aug 24 to 2002 Sep 272003 Jul 25 to 2003 Aug 142004 Aug 13 to 2004 Sep 292005 Jun 10 to 2005 Oct 252006 Aug 1 to 2006 Oct 272007 Jul 6 to 2007 Sep 72008 Jul 25 to 2008 Aug 292009 Jun 25 to 2009 Oct 62013 Aug 14 to 2013 Sep 28
Visit Monticello’s Online Shop to check for seeds or plants of McMahon's Texas Bird Pepper.


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