C. Lanceolatum

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lytton
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C. Lanceolatum

Post by lytton » Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:20 pm

Been meaning to get round to this for a while. Last year I didn't grow anything that was particularly unique or successful, certainly nothing that hasn't been grown to a higher quality by some of the other members here. The one review that I thought I could bring to the table was one for C. Lanceolatum. It's not at the top of every growers list, and by the end of this piece you'll probably be even less inclined to add it to any future growlogs. I'll explain why shortly. Given the uniqueness of this variety (it's not in the commercial annuum/Bacca/Chinense/Pube complex) I thought i'd expand the review slightly just to quickly cover growth habits and curious observations as well as the actual pod evaluation itself. So to quickly recap, a few pics of the plant at various stages:

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The flowers are white with uniform purple stripes through them, very pretty, in fact it's probably my favourite capsicum flower (maybe if my rhomboideum ever flowers i'll revise that opinion). Growth habit is quite jagged and unpredictable, with lots of branches shooting off in different directions, which harden with a woody finish quite quickly.

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As the name suggests, the leaves are lance shaped, more so than any other capsicum species that i'm aware of. They have lots of tiny little hairs on them, but not as many as Pubescens or Goat's Weed etc. Now for the pods themselves.

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There is a high degree of homogeneity among the pods; their size and shape are uniform as are the seed clusters. Each pod is abutted by five uniform calyx teeth which point upwards. This characteristic helps set them apart from other capsicum species too, and really catches the eye. The pods first appear green and ripen to red. The seeds are very small and very black. Unlike commercial capsicum species in which the seeds are clearly lined in central clusters and around distinctive white pith/placenta, the Lanceolatum seeds are suspended in a juicy gel around the core, more akin to tomatoes and wild nightshades.

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The token you can see is exactly the size of a pound coin. The pods are very juicy, quite like a tiny tomato, and this juice is much less viscous than other capsicum oils/juices. The seeds are actually packed in quite tightly and are a bit of an annoyance to scoop out. The juice stains quite a bit, and I had to scrub my fingers for a while afterwards to get the red stain off them. And now to the very core of the review; the taste.............................................it's just terrible. Yep, disappointing perhaps for those of you who have never tried it, but these pods are really unpleasant. They have a vaguely planty/fleshy taste which borders on bitter. There is zero sweetness and zero capsaicin, meaning that these pods have next to no culinary value, save perhaps for some potential vitamin content. Of the 6 pods pictured above I ate one and threw the other 5 straight in the bin (after extracting seeds). I'm not sure what evolutionary pressures resulted in the Lanceolatum as we see it today. I suspect birds would still love to wolf these berries down, and perhaps by making the pods quite foul tasting to mammals there was no need for the plants to ramp up capsaicin production. I will however hold on tightly to the plant as it's a rare treat to grow something this unusual. It's not unattractive and I've grown quite fond of it, despite it hogging a prime window spot that would be much loved by a more productive capsicum variety.

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trident
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Re: C. Lanceolatum

Post by trident » Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:36 pm

Now that's what I call a review .... detailed in ever point complimented by your photographs ... shame it lacked any heat/flavour

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ronniedeb
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Re: C. Lanceolatum

Post by ronniedeb » Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:16 am

Nice write up. The taste is awful, but a beautiful plant nonetheless. I let a plant die a few winters ago and have tried unsuccessfully to germinate seeds over the last few years. Will keep trying though. Probably the prettiest of wild species.

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lytton
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Re: C. Lanceolatum

Post by lytton » Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:07 am

ronniedeb wrote:Nice write up. The taste is awful, but a beautiful plant nonetheless. I let a plant die a few winters ago and have tried unsuccessfully to germinate seeds over the last few years. Will keep trying though. Probably the prettiest of wild species.
I can send you some of the seeds above if you like. I just need to check the net first because I'm sure I read one source which suggested that the flowers need to be fertilised by a second plant. If this is true then the seeds above may be duds.

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Re: C. Lanceolatum

Post by Flamethrower » Mon May 09, 2016 9:01 am

Great write up lytton - very pretty plant and an interesting subject - not surprising they don’t taste great since that would be the whole point of cultivated species but shame there was no heat at all; had there been I guess they could have been cooked/included somewhere.

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