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Crossing and Breeding Chile Peppers
(how to create your own hybrids!)


Anatomy of the chile pepper flower


a. petals
b. stigma
c. pistil
d. stamens
e. blossom end
f. calyx

Ok, enough about the science, let's get into some action!
Here's a simple way how to breed your own varieties by mixing your
favorite varieties.
First, make a decision about the varieties you'd like to test.
At first, it's good to select varieties which have as different pods as possible,
that way you'll be able to see the differences between the properties more easily.
Also, it's good to select the varieties within the same species first, it's
much easier to learn that way compared with the mixed species.


1. Select a flower from the variety you want to use as a male with the breeding.
Here's C. annuum var. 'Malawi Bird's Eye'



2. Then, select a flower from the variety you want to use as a female with the breeding.
C. annuum var. 'Cayenne' works as a female here.



3. Use forceps to remove the petals from the closed female flower bud.



3. Half of the petals removed.



4. All petals removed.



5. Ok, now it's time to start emasculating!
Use forceps to pick off the stamens, but
be very careful not to damage the pistil on the middle of the blossom end.
Magnifying glass might be useful here, especially with smaller-flowered
varieties.



6. Removing the last stamen.
Now you can see pistil left on the flower.
This flower is a pure female now.
It would be a good thing to emasculate more flowers from this
plant to increase the change of succeeding with pollinating.



7. Then, use a cotton stick to collect some pollen from the stamens
of the variety you're using as a male.



8. Transfer the pollen to the stigma (tip) of the pistil, and
we're almost done!
(Pollinate all of the emasculated flowers you have on this plant.)



9. Final stage is to label the cross.
The first variety name on the label will tell which one is the female.

Within the next week or so the flowers will fall off if the cross won't take.
In other case, you'll have the seeds for your cross after the pod has matured!
After germinating the crossed seeds you'll be able to see the results of the cross.
If this isn't interesting and fun, then what is?

Capsicum crossability matrix

This table shows the end results possible with various crosses of different pepper species.

F
L
O
W
E
R
Male Parent
Female Parent          
bacca-
tum
praeter-
missum
frutes-
cens
chinense annuum galapa-
goense
chaco-
ense
tovarii pubes-
cens
eximium carde-
nasii

W
H
I
T
E

baccatum  HF PF NG NG  NG NG  —
praeter-
missum
 PF HF IV  IV PF
frutes-
cens
 NG HF PF  NG  — —  
chinense  NG NG PF HF  PF NG —  
annuum  NG IV PF PF  HF IV IV
galapa-
goense
 NG IV  NG HF EC
chaco-
ense
 IV IV NG  NG HF —  
P
U
R
P
L
E
tovarii NG I IV EC IV HF NG
pubes-
cens
IV IV EC IV IV HF HF NG
eximium NG PF NG IV IV IV NG HF HF HF
carde-
nasii
NG IV NG IV IV HF HF HF


NG = F1 hybrids germinate normally
EC = F1 hybrids raised by embryo culture
IV = fruits/seeds set, but F1 seeds inviable
PF = F1 hybrids partially fertile
HF = F1 hybrids highly fertile
— = no data, or perhaps "does not cross" (original publication does not specify)

(Reproduced from Figure 3, Genetic Resources of Capsicum,
International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, 1983 [Crop Genetic Resources Centre, Plant Production and Protection Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations])



Instructions by: Fatalii
Photos by: Jussi Laakso


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Onet Finland oy and Fatalii