The Goat's Weed hot pepper (Capsicum annuum var. “Goat's Weed”) is a Venezuelan heirloom pepper variety that is closely related to more conventional sweet and hot peppers. The fruit of this spicy plant can be used in cooking, but it also makes a great addition to purely decorative gardens due to its changing seasonal colors. Like other peppers, Goat's Weed plants are hardy perennials in United States Department of Agriculture Zones 9 to 11, but must be grown as annuals or brought indoors for the winter in colder climates.
This hot pepper variety grows to between 24 and 60 inches tall, depending on the climate and conditions. The plants are tall and upright, reaching greater heights when they are allowed to overwinter in a frost-free environment. The peppers themselves are between 2 ½ and 3 inches in length and about ½ inch in width. This plant produces small white flowers that can provide visual interest in an early summer garden.
Like other pepper plants, the Goat's Weed pepper has straight stems and small, pointed leaves. Unlike many other varieties, it sports distinctive white to green fuzz on all the leaves and stems. The fruit is elongated and pointed, starting out green and turning black and red when ripe. The black and red stages last for several weeks at a time, making the Goat's Weed pepper an attractive ornamental.
This kind of pepper is classified as hot to very hot, depending on the conditions in which it grows. Peppers grown in dryer areas tend to have a more concentrated flavors. Goat's Weed peppers can be bitter once they begin to turn black and red, but they have a milder heat than the unripe green peppers. According to Hugo Feed Mill.com, this variety has a deep, biting heat and is flavorful both fresh and dried.
Like other hot peppers, the Goat's Weed variety can be hazardous to pets and very young children. While the pepper is not strong enough to cause chemical burns, it can taste unpleasant or be irritating to the skin and eyes. Parents should avoid planting this pepper variety or keep it out of reach until children are old enough to identify the plant on their own.
- Trade Winds Fruit Plant Informational Database: Goat's Weed Pepper
- Reimer Seeds: Goat's Weed Hot Peppers
- Heirloom Vegetable Archive: Peppers
- Cross Country Nurseries: Goat's Weed
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Capsicum Annuum
- Brandeis University: Some Like It Hot –Really Hot!
- Hugo Feed Mill and Hardware: Pepper List
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