Could there be a Chocolate Carolina Reaper pepper without an additional cross? Shortly after Ed Currie, the Puckerbutt Pepper Company and Pepper Joe made the original Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper® pepper seeds, there were many accusations that the pepper was not yet a stable variety. Counter claims pointed out that no pepper is 100% stable and that those with complaints might be experiencing a unintended cross pollination in their own gardens. What ever the cause, it was clear that even if you purchased seeds directly from the original cultivator, there was always a chance that you would find s happy surprise in what you grow.
Chocolate Carolina Reaper: Happy Surprise
That is what I am calling what I found today in one of our organic gardens, a happy surprise. Instead of maturing from green to orange to red, one of my plants produced pods which matured to a brown / chocolate color. My first thought was cross pollination. Although this was a seed stock plant, thus being grown in isolation, assuring 100% isolation is essentially impossible. Accidents happen. However, I do not think cross pollination would cause the whole of the plant to develop chocolate Carolina reaper pods. That seems to be exactly what is taking place on this one plant.
Is the Carolina Reaper Stable?
My opinion is yes. The Carolina Reaper is what most people would call stable. Is it 100% stable? No more than any other pepper. So where did this happy surprise come from?
Keeping in mind that I am only a laymen in this field, my first suspicion was that two of my Carolina Reaper plants combined recessive genes to create the Chocolate Carolina Reaper pods. If that is the case, I suspect the resulting seeds will likely produce more Chocolate Carolina Reapers as long as they are grown in isolation.
My second thought is not nearly as hopeful of again growing this happy surprise. Although I isolate the plants I grow for seed stock as best as I can, many growers make no efforts towards isolation. It is possible the seed stock I purchased for this year’s grow contained a degree of cross pollination.
Either way, the plan is to grow the seeds from this happy surprise and see what they produce.
Tasting the Chocolate Carolina Reaper
I was impatient to taste the happy surprise. I am fairly acclimated to the heat of the Carolina Reaper and other super hots, so I ripped a bit off one of the pods to taste it. It was not what I expected. It seemed much hotter than the Carolina Reaper, hotter than the other Carolina Reapers growing right next to the thing. It was more floral than the Butch T Scorpion pepper, a lot more floral. So much that I can not say I like this variant nearly as much as the regular red Carolina Reaper.
Still, the plan is to save the seeds, grow in isolation next year, and see what comes of it.