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

Edibility of peppervine berries from Madison MS
February 09, 2012 - I am following up on a question I've posed to many well experienced foragers and naturalists regarding the pepper vine plant or Ampelopsis arbor. There are many conflicting stories regarding the edib...
view the full question and answer

Water requirements for fruit trees in California
January 15, 2013 - Dear Sir; In which of these options (fruit trees) the need for watering in irrigation process is higher than the others: -Olive tree -Nectarines and peaches trees -Hazelnut trees -Pistachios and ...
view the full question and answer

Non-fruiting Willamette raspberry plant in Wateford CA
May 23, 2013 - I have a 2 year old Willamette Raspberry plant that has many blooms, bees, great growing conditions, very healthy but has never set one fruit. I know about pruning. Any suggestions? It has been bloomi...
view the full question and answer

Is it safe to eat vegetables grown in the same bed as foxgloves?
August 12, 2012 - I have foxglove in my flower beds and have planted tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and cantaloupe in the flower bed and now I am concerned about the shared root system. Also, my tomatoes are touching the...
view the full question and answer

Is the fruit of American Beautyberry (French Mulberry) edible?
March 22, 2012 - I am trying to find out if the "American Beautyberry" or "French Mulberry" fruit is edible? Can you tell me? Your website's information about this plant has been the most informative informatio...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center