[CH] Bird Aji in South Africa

Doug Goldenberg (dgoldenberg@sprintmail.com)
Mon, 4 May 1998 00:03:35 -0700

Peter - I would expect your bird aji (C. baccatum) was not brought over by
birds from South America.  If that was something that happens, it would
already have happened centuries ago, and you would by now have evolved
endemic African species of Capsicum.  Also, it seems a little unlikely that
someone brought over a tiny bird aji pepper from Bolivia to Africa, and
started them growing there (not impossible!).  Most likely is that your
plant is a descendent of the domestic ajis grown there (e.g., see the
Kenyan aji page 50 "Peppers of the World"), that has since been selected by
chile-headed African birds for smaller, upright fruits.  Not so unlikely,
since there is also the Zimbabwe bird pepper, and apparently others, that
are bird-dispersed over there.  It would take quite a few generations, I
would expect, to select out a tiny bird pepper from a pendulous aji. 
Imagine a big field of domestic ajis, the birds picking up a few of the
smallest ones, replanting them in nearby areas, and repeating the

Of course, I'm just hypothesizing......