En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - June 23, 2013

From: San Marcos, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Deer Resistant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Leaves of Chile pequin consumed overnight from San Marcus TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Something ate all the leaves of my Chile petin overnight. There is a ton of frass under the plants but no sign of a critter to be found. These plants have been in the same area for years and this is the first time they've been consumed. Any idea what it could be? Thanks.

ANSWER:

We don't have a "Chile petin" in our Native Plant Database, but we do have a Capsicum annuum (Chile pequin) and a Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum (Chile pequin), which we assume you are referring to. When you say "frass" underneath, the first thing we think of is caterpillars, but we could not find that the chiles were larval hosts for any moths or butterflies.

Frankly, the only thing that could do that much damage overnight is deer. In our Native Plant Database, Capsicum annuum (Chile pequin) is characterized as having "high" deer resistance and Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum (Chile pequin) "moderate" deer resistance. In point of fact, when it is as dry and hot as it has been lately, deer will eat almost anything. Since it is fairly early in the blooming period (May to October) of these plants, they may not yet have put on the peppers that the deer do NOT like, but if they have eaten all the leaves that fact doesn't do you much good. You can always check our Deer Resistant Plants list when you are selecting plants, but with the experience you have just had you should not be too surprised at what this paragraph that leads that list says:

"Deer Resistant Species

Few plants are completely deer resistant. Several factors influence deer browsing including the density of the deer population, environmental conditions such as drought, and plant palatability. Deer tend to avoid plants with aromatic foliage, tough leathery and/or hairy or prickly leaves or plants with milky latex or sap. Try using some of the plants listed here to minimize deer damage to your landscape."

We are truly sorry.

 

From the Image Gallery


Chile pequin
Capsicum annuum

Chile pequin
Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum

Chile pequin
Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum

More Edible Plants Questions

Will corn fall victim to allelopathy from hackberry in Clarkridge AR
March 30, 2013 - Will my corn be inhibited by a nearby hackberry and if so would it help to cut it down? I understand that sometimes the soil is full of the chemicals the tree produces.
view the full question and answer

Worms in wild plums
June 03, 2009 - Wild Plums... They are just starting to get ripe here in East Texas. Picked a few today and they all had dark spots on them. When I cut them open there were tiny worms inside. Does this mean they a...
view the full question and answer

Petals of flowers on cake from London
August 28, 2010 - Hi could you confirm that Gemini, Lisianthus and Lilies are non toxic if positioned onto a fresh cream cake (stem will be paced into a vial but the petals will come into contact with the cream). Thank...
view the full question and answer

Black chokeberry edible from Huntsville ON
May 04, 2013 - Can the fruit of the black chokeberry be eaten??
view the full question and answer

Can tulip tree sap be used to make syrup in Bunker Hill IN?
July 10, 2009 - I was just wondering if tulip tree sap could be used to make syrup. I saw the sticky stuff on the leaves and decided to taste test it and it was very sweet, unfortunately I later found out that I was ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center