Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Not Starfish

These are fruits from my "Brazilian Starfish" chilli plant.

The only trouble is, they are not Starfish-shaped as they should be. This is what they ought to be like:

But mine look more like Scotch Bonnets, or even miniature "Bell Peppers".

I wonder what it is that determines the shape of a chilli. The seeds for my plant came from a very reputable source - Victoriana Nursery Gardens, in Kent - but presumably some local factor, weather, soil or whatever, has made it turn out different to its parents. For me this has been a disappointment. I grew this chilli specifically for its unique shape, not for its flavour or heat. Still, maybe I should celebrate the fact that it is probably unique!

Last year I had lots of problems with deformed fruit (especially tomatoes and chillies) caused by compost contaminated by weed-killer, and I have had some similar, but fortunately less severe, issues this year, so I rather suspect that the failure of Brazilian Starfish to come true to type is part of this. In any event I won't be saving seeds from the fruits pictured here. I still have some seeds from the original packet, so I will probably have another try next year.

I also grew a new plant from a side-shoot cutting of my Brazilian Starfish plant, and it seems to be doing well. I may be able to over-Winter it and see what happens next year...

This photo is from earlier in the year. The plant is much bigger now!

I will not be posting to my blog for a few days now, because we will be away visiting family. Back soon!


  1. It's disappointing when you don't get what you expected, it was the same with my Bishop of Llandaff dahlia this year which turned out to be something completely different. You might just find that the plant you're going to overwinter gives you some starfish shaped chillis next year, it's worth a try. You've won my giveaway, can you please let me have your address details so I can ask the publishers to post out your prize. Have a lovely time with your family.

  2. I think even very reputable sources aren't 100% secure from errors. It certainly looks that this plant may have some fraction of Starfish genes, but I would say something has crossed into it. Or the seed had some genetic fault. Can't really believe enviromental factors can influence the shape of fruit that much. Especially when other chilli plants grown in same conditions have been OK. Of course it may be the odd non true seed in the packet but I would buy new seed, to avoid possible disappointment two years in a row.

  3. I agree with the post above in that sometimes, crossing does happen even with seeds obtained from reputable companies. In my limited experience I've already had that happen with kale and I think that both Michelle and Dave have had the same situation with peppers.

    But sometimes unexpected surprises are of the good kind....congrats on winning the terrarium book!

  4. Mike had some chilli plants this year where the fruits turned out differently to expected, it is always disappointing when it happens.

  5. It could be that the seed company packed the wrong seeds in the Starfish packet. We have had that type of thing happen in the past

  6. I agree with Sue. I once had that happen. My big purple bell peppers ended up being small red Italian peppers, instead. But I do love the idea of a starfish shaped pepper. :o)


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