The chili pepper (also chile pepper or chilli pepper, from Nahuatl chīlli [ˈt͡ʃiːli]) is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. In Britain, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, India, and other Asian countries, it is usually known simply as the chilli.
The substances that give chili peppers their intensity when ingested or applied topically are capsaicin and several related chemicals, collectively called capsaicinoids.
Chili peppers originated in the Americas. After the Columbian Exchange, many cultivars of chili pepper spread across the world, used in both food and medicine. Chilies were brought to Asia by Portuguese navigators during the 16th century.
India is the world's largest producer, consumer and exporter of chili peppers.Guntur in the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh produces 30% of all the chilies produced in India. Andhra Pradesh as a whole contributes 75% of India's chili exports.
Chili peppers have been a part of the human diet in the Americas since at least 7500 BCE. The most recent research shows that chili peppers were domesticated more than 6000 years ago in Mexico, in the region that extends across southern Puebla and northern Oaxaca to southeastern Veracruz, and were one of the first self-pollinating crops cultivated in Mexico, Central and parts of South America.