Wednesday, July 11, 2007

New Habanero is Naturally Pest Resistant!

It’s bright orange, nematode resistant, and hot. Make that very hot!

It’s TigerPaw-NR, a new, groundbreaking habanero pepper developed and released recently by scientists at ARS’s U.S. Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina. It’s bound to make an impression on consumers whose desire for pungent peppers is on the rise.

Geneticist Richard Fery, who developed TigerPaw-NR with plant pathologist Judy Thies, says the pepper—named when a fellow scientist saw a picture of its fruit and claimed they looked like tiger paws—will interest casual gardeners and serious growers alike.

“Not only is it among the spiciest ever developed at ARS,” he says, “it’s also highly resistant to many important species of root-knot nematodes.”

How spicy is TigerPaw-NR? It scored a scorching 348,634 on the Scoville Heat Scale, placing it among the elite of the world’s hottest peppers. The Scoville scale shows peppers’ relative heat in terms of their content of capsaicin, the compound that produces a burning sensation on the tongue. Jalapeños fall into the 3,500-5,000 range of this scale, while habaneros rate 100,000 and higher.

But TigerPaw-NR’s true uniqueness lies in its nematode-resisting abilities. “All habanero-type cultivars currently available to commercial growers and home gardeners are susceptible to nematodes,” says Fery. These microscopic, soilborne worms are major pests of many other crops worldwide.

Read More on the Tiger Paw-NR Habanero...

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