Capsicum frutescens is a species of chili pepper. The Capsicum frutescens species likely originated in South or Central America. It spread quickly throughout the tropical and subtropical regions in this area and still grows wild today. Capsicum frutescens is currently native to the majority of Central America as well as Northern and Western South America. It is believed that C. frutescens is the ancestor to the C. chinense species. Pepper varieties in Capsicum frutescens can be annual or short-lived perennial plants. Flowers are white with a greenish white or greenish yellow corolla, and are either insect or self-fertilized. The plants' berries typically grow erect; ellipsoid-conical to lanceoloid shaped.
According to Richard Pankhurst, C. frutescens (known as barbaré) was so important to the national cuisine of Ethiopia, at least as early as the 19th century, "that it was cultivated extensively in the warmer areas wherever the soil was suitable."