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!
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.
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:
- The buds look deformed and have a pale white/yellowish color
- Healthy flowers are bright white while infected ones where pale white/yellowish
- tiny hole on the bud & hole on infected chili pods
- Some of the infected buds just fell off on touching them
- Some buds where having dried petals
- 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.)