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Tabasco

The tabasco pepper a variety of the chile pepper species Capsicum frutescens. It is best known through its use in Tabasco sauce, a trademarked product manufactured by McIlhenny Company of Avery Island, Louisiana. (The word "tabasco" is rendered in lowercase when referring to the botanical variety, but in uppercase, "Tabasco," when referring to the actual trademarked brandname.) Even though the word "tabasco" is the name of a Mexican state, this variety of pepper was first grown in large quantities in Louisiana.

Like all frutescens chilis, the tabasco plant has a typical bushy growth, which commercial cultivation makes stronger by trimming the plants. The tapered fruits, around 4 cm long, are initially pale yellowish-green and turn yellow and orange before ripening to bright red. Tabascos rate from 30,000 to 50,000 on the Scoville scale of heat levels.

A large part of the tabasco pepper stock fell victim to the tobacco mosaic virus in the 1960s, and the first resistant variety (Greenleaf tabasco) was not able to be cultured until around 1970.

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