You may be surprised to learn that the chiltepin is actually a pepper native to North America. Chiles grow wild in the southwest and Mexico, and are thought to be one of the oldest species of Capsicum peppers. The small round "berries" are slightly larger than peppercorns and are bright red or green in color. The plants are easy to grow, they are airy plants with spreading branches and tiny leaves.
My parents used to grow this pepper on Guam and when I saw this plant at the Master Gardener Plant Sale, I snatched up the very last one. The food memory of this pepper is so strong I just had to grow it even though it is much too spicy for me. We used to pop the little pepper in bottles of vinegar then splash the spicy vinegar onto fried fish and meats. Nostalgia got the best of me with this impulse buy.
Scoville heat units: 50,000 – 100,000. OUCH!