In my 2013 gardens, I found a single Chocolate Carolina Reaper plant among the Carolina Reapers I had been growing in isolation. Because all the pods on a single plant were brown / chocolate, I reasoned it was not the result of an accidental cross pollination here. My guess was that one of two things had taken place.
1. My original seed stock contained a few seeds that were cross pollinated with an unknown plant. It is possible. No matter how much a grower isolates, accidents happen.
2. Recessive genes. Although the Carolina Reaper is self pollinating, it is entirely possible two Carolina Reaper plants shared pollen. Although grown isolated from other cultivars, we had several Carolina Reaper plants growing in the same mini-green house that year.
Chocolate Carolina Reaper: Year Two
As planned, I grew the seeds from the 2013 plant out this year. I started them indoors and under lights. When it was time for them to go outside, the most vigorous went into one of the mini green houses until I ran out of room. The others were field grown and netted.
I now think it is more likely that the original single Chocolate Carolina Reaper plant was the result of recessive genes being combined between two Carolina Reaper plants. This seems the most likely case because all plants grown from last year’s seeds produced chocolate pods. Not all had the distinctive thin tail associated with the Carolina Reaper, but not all Carolina Reapers have that distinct tail.
While I do not know that the term stable should be used to describe this line as it is so unusual, I think it highly unlikely that a random cross pollination would result in seeds which have this level of stability.
Chocolate Carolina Reapers Elsewhere
My other reason for thinking this may be the result of recessive genes combining between two Carolina Reaper plants is that last year I thought I was alone in finding this apparition among my Carolina Reapers. This year I see that at least one other person has observed the same thing.
In fact, there are folk in the United Kingdom and Australia who are now selling Chocolate Carolina Reaper seeds. I do not know if they stumbled upon the cultivar as did I or if they purchased their seeds from the person who observed it this year.
Either way, I am none too sure it is a good idea for folk to be selling the seeds without being absolutely sure to disclaim stability. I have given away and traded what seeds I could spare. But even then, I was very clear to say I have no idea if this thing is stable.
If the 2015 grow produces the same excellent results, I will consider selling off my excess Chocolate Carolina Reaper seed. But what I am really looking forward to is the responses from folk who eat the thing. This last year’s grow produced that same overwhelming floral flavor and the same painful heat.
So here is looking to the Chocolate Carolina Reaper in 2015.