The Polynymous Capsicum!
The botanical name of the vegetable (technically a fruit) is Capsicum annuum, which is why it’s called capsicum in India, Australia, and New Zealand. Some other interesting names that have been given to it are as follows :
The vegetable has a bell-like shape, which is why the word “bell” got associated with it. As regards "pepper", even though capsicum has no biological relationship with pepper, it shares a similar spicy taste and therefore the name stuck. So, if you’re in a North American food joint, ask for Bell Pepper toppings on your pizza.
Paprika / Peperone
In general, by paprika, we mean the ground spice made from capsicum, however, in many other languages such as Polish, Hungarian, Czech and Slovak it refers to the vegetable itself. The root of this word is in the Greek term “peperi”, meaning pepper. In Italy and parts of Switzerland, it is known as “Peperone”, which originates from the same root.
Poivron / Pimiento
In France, capsicum is called Poivron. While in Spain and Mexico, the heatless variety is called Pimiento. The root of these two terms is “Poivre” which again refers to pepper.
In Japan and South Korea, capsicum is called piiman, which seems to have originated from the Spanish word pimiento.
Shimla Mirch / Pahadi Mirch
When the Britishers brought capsicum to India, they first cultivated it in Shimla, so the name of the district is still taken to refer to the vegetable in Northern India and Pakistan. It is followed by “mirch” which means chilli in Hindi. Also, since Shimla is a hill station, the vegetable also came to be known as Pahadi Mirch ( “pahadi” means from the hills).
In Tamil, due to its appearance capsicum is known as Kodai Mozhagai, which means umbrella-like chilli.
In many midwestern regions of the United States, such as Indiana, capsicum is commonly called Mango. While this term is becoming archaic with the import of the tropical fruit Mango in wider latitudes, still many menus call stuffed capsicum a Mango.
While this study of nomenclatures is quite fascinating, the fact remains, capsicum by any other name would taste as palatable! It’s the taste that matters. Grow your very own capsicums at home to experience the freshness of flavours without any adulterations. At AllThatGrows, we offer pure, non-GMO capsicum seeds that you can easily grow in your kitchen gardens! Give it a start today and experience the joy of sowing and reaping.