I recently noticed this on my outdoor chili pepper flowers, I find it difficult to describe so here are the images to start with: Deformed chili flower on the plant

Plucked deformed chili flower

As can be seen above, there is a green pod bulging out of the flower causing it to deform. Normally the pod starts to grow after the flower is pollinated and petals fall off. But here I am seeing it right when the flower blooms. On closer inspection I noticed that the flower buds are also deformed (the about to bloom buds are swollen since they have a green pod bulging inside). I have not seen this issue before and I was unable to find anything about it online. It would be very much helpful if anyone knows about this problem and what I should do to avoid it. Thanks!

Picture of normal chili pods on the same plant: enter image description here

  • What variety of chilis are you growing?
    – Jurp
    Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 14:06
  • I am not sure of the variety, I planted them from seeds of market bought dried red chilis. I'll add a picture if that would help. There are around 20 healthy pods growing on the plant.
    – Mr Saraf
    Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 15:46
  • I would guess (and find a few references to, but just paper abstracts e.g. agris.fao.org/agris-search/search.do?recordID=FR19900031280 ) it's parthenogenesis - the plant is reproducing asexually at these flowers that come with a pre-fertilized pod.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 19:02
  • Might even be a valuable mutation: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32461365 they term it parthenocarpy rather than parthenogenesis.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 22:08

2 Answers 2


On further observation I found that it was some type of fly that is entering the flower buds and infecting them. This causes it to bulge out. Another person I had asked about it told me that it could be Gall Wasps.

This tiny hole on the bud was the confirmation: hole on chili flower bud

There were these types of holes on more buds and also the deformed pods. The gall wasps make the hole and enter into flower buds.

For now I have removed all of the unhealthy looking buds and I will be spraying the plant with neem oil.

These are some observations I made to identify the infected buds and flowers:

  1. The buds look deformed and have a pale white/yellowish color
  2. Healthy flowers are bright white while infected ones where pale white/yellowish
  3. tiny hole on the bud & hole on infected chili pods
  4. Some of the infected buds just fell off on touching them
  5. Some buds where having dried petals
  6. And the initial observation in the question i.e. enlarged & deformed pods on the flower (refer image in the question)

Will be interesting to see what results. I'm fairly confident (now) that my guess in comments is correct, having poked about a bit more, though results are somewhat limited still. In a world where pollinators are in trouble, a plant that can fruit without pollination might indeed be worthwhile to save and see if it's stable and produces useable fruits.

Parthenocarpy (developing fruit without pollination) appears to be the more "precisely applicable" term; I suppose parthenogenesis (asexual reproduction) [or not] would depend on whether the seeds from that fruit are themselves viable (presumably as clones of the parent, if so.)

Certainly parthenocarpy with no seeds is commercially practiced (inducing fruit set via chemical means to produce seedless fruits.)

  • I see, so it could be a natural thing. But there are both normal flowers and flowers blooming with pods on the same plant. Another thing to note would be that one of these plants I had kept in a pot until first harvest (completely normal flowers). Then moved it into the ground as the pot was not sufficient (now it has these odd flowers). I'll wait and watch what happens to these odd looking flowers.
    – Mr Saraf
    Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 11:30

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