Crossing Chili Peppers

I’ve posted about Trinidad Moruga Scorpion chilli peppers not showing their original features. Instead they were different in appearance and had completely different pods. Trinidad Moruga Scorpions are supposed to be stable so they would grow more fruit and their physical appearance would be practically the same. I figured out that I most likely received first generation hybrids from Trinidad Moruga scorpion plant. Since I only grew one chilli the first season and the fact it’s self fertile with male and female parts on the same flower, I’m sure it was not cross-pollinated with another chilli. Weather was cold and wet most of the year and there were no other plants nearby, which means that pollination with pollen from plant growing nearby was highly unlikely.

A bit about genetics and making new chilli varieties

Hybrid chilli from self pollinated red chilli appeared orange because of recessive genes.

Hybrid chilli from self pollinated red chilli appeared orange because of recessive genes.

Chilli flowers are, as I mentioned above, self fertile, which means they are able to self pollinate, resulting in seeds that give very similar plants with similar features to their mother-plant. In case of cross pollination, chromosomes from mother and father plant mix and you can receive a plant, with combination of properties from both original plants. The first year, new plants usually show identical characteristics and there are no observable differences between the F1 (first filial generation) seedlings. These F1 seedlings will however show a mixture of characteristics from both, mother and father plant. Since F1 generation seedlings have the same combination of dominant and recessive genes, fruits can have nearly identical characteristics.
Things get more interesting the following season, when the first generation of seedlings produce new generation (F2) of seedlings. This time recessive genes kick in and the result is a vast amount of plants with different combinations of characteristics they received from their mother and father plants.
This way, it is possible to further promote peppers with good characteristics and throw away peppers that are either not appealing enough or have some kind of deficiency – sometimes they can even end up sterile or poorly fertile. When you take only seeds from good performing plants, you start creating new variety of chili peppers with features that you like the most. It’s important that next generations are self pollinated as well, so that the genetic material starts to stabilise.

First generations of seedlings (except the uniform F1 generation) show many different characteristics and those differences start to fade with each additional generation. After 8 generations of seedlings (F8), variety gets almost homozygous. Homozygous means, that the plant is having identical pairs of genes for any given pair of hereditary characteristics. Those plants are again mostly uniform and will show recessive gene characteristics only in small amount of seedlings. Only then after all the years, you can finally call your seedling a brand new chilli variety.:)

… And my Trinidad Moruga Scorpion chilli hybrid
In case of my seedlings I have no idea about what the mother and father plant looked like. Since I have bought Moruga chillies, I can presume, that the mother plant is Trinidad Moruga chilli. Based on characteristics, that will show up later in the process, I may be able to figure out the other parent. Most likely, the seeds have been cross pollinated continuously before I received them, so even the original plants might already have been hybrids.

Self pollinated F1 motherplant

Self pollinated parent plant

Self pollinated F1 parent plant

F2 seedlings

Seedling 1

Seedling 1 (F2)  from top

Seedling 1 (F2) from top

Seedling 1 (F2)  unripe pod

Seedling 1 (F2) unripe pod

Seedling 1 (F2)  ripening

Seedling 1 (F2) ripening

Ripe pod on the right

Ripe pod on the right

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Seedling 2

Seedling 2 (F2)  from top

Seedling 2 (F2) from top

Seedling 2 (F2)  unripe pods

Seedling 2 (F2) unripe pods

Seedling 2 (F2)  ripening

Seedling 2 (F2) ripening

Seedling 2 with almost ripe orange pod

Almost ripe orange pod

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Top performing Chillies.

Top performing Chillies.

Opened pods show some hot oil and quite thin wall

Opened pods show some hot oil and quite thin wall

Ripe and unripe pods of the second seedling.

Ripe and unripe pods of the second seedling.

Seedling 3

Seedling 3 (F2)  from top

Seedling 3 (F2) from top


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Seedling 4

Seedling 4 (F2)  from top

Seedling 4 (F2) from top

Seedling 4 (F2)  unripe pods

Seedling 4 (F2) unripe pods


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Seedling 5

Chilli Seedling 5

Seedling 5 (F2) from top

Seedling 5 (F2)  unripe pod

Seedling 5 (F2) unripe pod

Ripe pods - seedling no. 5

Ripe pods – seedling no. 5

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Seedling 6

Seedling 6 (F2)  from top

Seedling 6 (F2) from top

Seedling 6 (F2)  from top

Seedling 6 (F2) ripening

Seedling 6 (F2)  ripe pod

Seedling 6 (F2) ripe pod

Ripe pods from seedling no. 6

Ripe pods from seedling no. 6

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Despite poor conditions, chillies started ripening in large numbers in the fall

Despite poor conditions, chillies started ripening in large numbers in the fall

Seedling 7

Seedling 7 (F2)  from top

Seedling 7 (F2) from top

Chilli Seedling 7 unripe pods

Seedling 7 (F2) unripe pods


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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