What Is the Difference Between Green Chilies & Green Jalapeno Peppers?

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What Is the Difference Between Green Chilies & Green Jalapeno Peppers?
"Green chillies" refers to a wide variety of chilli peppers, including the jalapeño. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

There are many types of green chilli peppers, a generic term referring to any type of green plant in classified under the genus Capsicum. Green jalapeño peppers are one example of a green chilli plant. Other examples include green bell peppers, poblano peppers and some paprika peppers.

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Jalapeño peppers originated in Mexico, but grow as far north as the middle belt of the United States and as far south as Brazil. Jalapenos thrive in hot weather and do not tolerate frost. If grown in a climate with winter frost, such as Georgia or Tennessee, the plant dies in the winter and must be replanted in the spring. If it is grown in a frost-free climate, it reappears each year. Green chillies do not fit this description. Some green chillies, like aji peppers and Bishop's Crown peppers, predominantly grow in mountainous regions, such as in Bolivia and Peru. Other green chillies are most commonly found in the year-round tropical climates of Thailand.


Jalapeños are commonly found in Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking. It is a common ingredient in salsas. The chipotle method of Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking involves smoking a dried jalapeño pepper. Green chillies vary widely in their uses and in the types of world cuisine where they are used. The green Bishop's Crown peppers are found in Bolivian cooking, while green bell peppers, which have a very mild spice profile, are a common feature in raw salads and grilled kebabs.

Time to Harvest

Jalapeño peppers require 75 days to go to harvest. In temperate climates, they can be planted in the spring when frost danger has disappeared, which means they will produce their first crop by midsummer. In frost-free climates, they grow year-round and are harvested every three months. Green chillies vary widely in the time they take to harvest. Green bell peppers harvest best in the fall, while the green canary pepper harvests in the early summer. The green Key Largo pepper requires only around 60 days to come to harvest, while the Valencia pepper, which is available as both a green and orange pepper, requires 90 days.

Scientific classification

The jalapeño pepper is classified as a Capsicum annuum, a species of pepper found in North and South America that also includes mild, sweet peppers such as bell peppers. Green chillies, however, include everything in the Capscium genus, such as C. frutescens, a species that includes the green Malagueta pepper, found in Brazil and parts of Africa and commonly used in Brazilian cooking. Green chillies also include C. chinense, which features green aji peppers, and C. baccatum, which includes the green Bishop's Crown pepper.

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