FACT CHECK: No, There Are Not Male And Female Bell Peppers

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook over 220 times claims a bell pepper is either male or female depending on the number of bumps it has on the bottom.

Verdict: False

The plant that grows bell peppers has both male and female reproductive systems. The bumps on bell peppers do not determine the sweetness of the fruit.

Fact Check:

Bell peppers are a fruit from a plant with the scientific name Capsicum annuum, according to CAB International. The image in the Facebook post shows two green bell peppers – one with three sections ending in bumps at the bottom, and one with four.

“Did you know there are male and female bell peppers?” the image states. “Males have 3 bumps on the bottom and females have four bumps. Females are sweeter when eaten raw and males are better for cooking.” (RELATED: Did Klaus Schwab Tweet That The World Economic Forum And The Biden Administration Are Working To Ensure ‘Most People Will Survive The Coming Food Shortages’?)

Bell peppers are not, however, divided into two sexes. They, along with other fruits like tomatoes and eggplant, are the fertilized and ripened ovaries of the particular plants’ flowers, according to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. Each flower on a bell pepper plant has male features that fertilize its own ovaries with pollen to create viable seeds, The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences states.

The sweetness of a bell pepper is determined by the color and ripeness of the pepper, not the number of bumps it has, meaning yellow, orange, red and purple bell peppers are sweeter than green bell peppers, which are the least ripe of colored peppers, according to The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. A bell pepper’s variety and the environment where it grows influence how many bumps it forms, the Oregon State University Extension Service website explains.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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