(kap' si kum).
Capsicum is the dried ripe fruit of Capsicum frutescens L., known in commerce as African chillies; or of Capsicum annuum L. var. connoides Irish, known in commerce as Tabasco pepper; or of Capsicum annuum var. longum Sendt, known in commerce as Louisiana Long Pepper; or of a hybrid between the Honka variety of Japanese Capsicum and the Old Louisiana Sport Capsicum, known in commerce as Louisiana Sport Pepper (Fam. Solanaceae).
• Botanic Characteristics
Unground Capsicum: Occurs as oblong-conical fruits, often curved (Louisiana Long Pepper), usually laterally compressed, from 10 to 25 mm in length and from 4 to 8 mm in diameter (African Chillies), or up to 15 cm in length and 2.5 cm in diameter (Louisiana Long Pepper), or up to 5.5 cm in length and up to 13 mm in diameter (Louisiana Sport Pepper), or up to 4 cm in length and up to 9 mm in diameter (Tabasco Pepper). The fruit is two to three locular, the dissepiments being united at the base to a conical, central placenta. The pericarp is thin and membranous, its outer surface dark reddish brown to dusky yellowish orange, glabrous, shriveled, its inner surface striate with two to three distinct longitudinal ridges representing the parietal placentae; the seeds are light brown to weak yellowish orange, suborbicular or irregular, flattened, from 2 to 4 mm in diameter, with a thickened edge and a prominent, pointed micropyle. The calyx is gamosepalous, inferior, five-toothed, and sometimes attached to a long, straight peduncle. Capsicum has a characteristic odor, and is sternutatory.
Powdered Capsicum: A dark orange or dark reddish orange to strong yellowish brown powder
Unground Capsicum: The epicarp of Capsicum consists of mostly quadrangular or rectangular cells up to 80 µm in length and up to 20 µm deep, arranged in regular rows, with thickened and cutinized outer and radial walls, the surface of the cuticle finely striated, the radial walls somewhat wavy (African Chillies), or of polygonal, quadrangular, triangular, or irregular cells up to 76 µm in length and up to 30.5 µm deep (Tabasco Pepper), or up to 125 µm in length and up to 38 µm deep (Louisiana Long Pepper), or up to 76 µm in length and up to 38 µm deep (Louisiana Sport Pepper), with cuticularized outer and radial walls, the latter usually prominently beaded. The mesocarp consists of thin-walled parenchyma (African Chillies), or an outer hypodermis of tangentially elongated collenchymatous cells (Louisiana Long Pepper and Tabasco Pepper), or of from one to three rows of hypodermal cells with cuticularized walls (Louisiana Sport Pepper), a broad middle zone of thin-walled parenchyma containing yellow to red chromoplasts, oil droplets, and elaioplasts, occasionally microcrystals, and traversed by vascular bundles, and an inner zone consisting of a layer of giant cells. The endocarp consists of a layer of elongated cells, some of them very thin-walled and containing chromoplasts and others in large oval areas with thickened, beaded, lignified walls. Epidermal cells of the seed are irregular in outline and up to 342 µm in length, and have very sinuous, contorted, lignified walls, the cells from the edge of the seed being much thicker walled than those from the flat surface of the seed. The embryo is curved and embedded in the endosperm, the latter consisting of small-celled parenchyma containing fixed oil droplets and aleurone grains.
Powdered Capsicum: It shows numerous fragments of thin-walled parenchyma containing oil globules and orange, red, or yellow chromoplasts; and fragments of epicarp with either striated, rectangular cells arranged in parallel series (African Chillies), or with polygonal, triangular, or irregular cells, with or without beaded walls. The endocarp contains stone cells with slightly wavy, lignified walls and broad lumina. Numerous fragments of spermoderm composed of stone cells are present, showing in surface view, deeply sinuate, greatly thickened and lignified vertical walls containing numerous pore canals. Fragments of small-celled parenchyma of the endosperm containing fixed oil and aleurone grains, the latter up to 5.5 µm in diameter, are also present, as well as occasional fibrovascular elements and calyx tissues.
• Articles of Botanical Origin, Foreign Organic Matter 561: NMT 1%, other than stems and calyces, the proportion of which does not exceed 3%
• Nonvolatile Ether-Soluble Extractive
Analysis: Dry a sample of Capsicum, taken as directed under Articles of Botanical Origin 561, Sampling, over phosphorus pentoxide for NLT 12 h. Extract 2.0 g of dried Capsicum with anhydrous ether for 20 h in a continuous extraction apparatus. Transfer the ether solution to a tared porcelain dish, and allow it to evaporate spontaneously. Dry the residue, still in the tared dish, over phosphorus pentoxide for 18 h, and weigh to obtain the weight of the total ether extractive. Then heat the dish gradually up to 105, until a constant weight is obtained.
Acceptance criteria: NLT 12% of nonvolatile ether-soluble extractive
• Articles of Botanical Origin, Acid-Insoluble Ash 561: NMT 1.25%
• Packaging and Storage: Preserve in well-closed containers. A few drops of chloroform may be added from time to time to prevent attack by insects.
• Labeling: Label each container to indicate which variety of Capsicum is contained therein.