One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A tropical American capsicum pepper which is thought to be the ancestor of both sweet and chilli peppers.
Capsicum annuum variety glabriusculum (or C. frutescens variety typicum), family Solanaceae
- ‘Ethnobotanists believe that birds were responsible for the spread of most wild chiles, and the chiltepin is called the "bird pepper."’
- ‘The piquins are also known by common names such as "bird pepper" and "chile mosquito."’
- ‘Curiously, there are not as many names for the wild varieties as there are for some other species. The most common name being "bird pepper."’
- ‘These peppers are small and all are commonly called "bird peppers."’
- ‘Birds cannot taste the hotness in peppers and the fruit of the bird peppers are so small that they are eaten whole.’
- 1.1 The small, red, very hot fruit of the bird pepper plant.
- ‘As pepper fruits ripen, pungency decreases due to peroxidase degradation, but ripe bird peppers, although attractive to and eaten by birds, still contain enough pungent compound to deter mammals.’
- ‘Mammals, on the other hand, are discouraged by the extreme hotness of the bird peppers.’
- ‘Season with lime juice, salt, pepper, and bird pepper if desired, and let marinate while you prepare the rest of the meal.’
- ‘But my brother, he makes a pepper sauce with these bird peppers, mixing in onion, garlic, and tomato.’
- ‘The bird pepper is an excellent source of heat and sharp pepper flavor.’
- 1.2 A variety of small hot pepper grown in Asia or Africa.
- ‘They are all hot as bird pepper and cayenne pepper.’
- ‘Even better, the tuna ribbons are capable of surprise. One day's version sparkled with scarlet nibs of the hottest little red Thai chiles, the ones they call ‘bird peppers.’’
- ‘In Southeast Asia there are no recognized scientific units, but the general rule is ‘the smaller, the hotter’; the strongest chillies being the little green ones often called bird peppers, a variety of C. frutescens.’
- ‘Some varieties of frutescens found their way to India and the Far East, where they are still called "bird pepper."’
- ‘I don't want to break down in tears and uncontrolled gasping, as I once did when a naughty Thai friend of mine slipped one of those tiny green bomblets called ‘bird peppers’ into my soup, just to see how I'd handle it.’
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