The Purple Bhut Jolokia – Buyer Beware

Does not exist!

Ok, to be fair a pepper does exist that is a called a purple bhut jolokia but in my opinion someone just named it a bhut jolokia so they could sell seeds.

1. It’s nowhere near as hot a bhut jolokia. Nowhere.

2. It doesn’t look a bhut jolokia, at all. Here’s a shot of some of my red bhut jolokias:
red bhut jolokia

And here’s a shot of the “purple” bhut jolokia:

3. The pods do turn purple but ripen to red. Here’s a shot of a purple bhut plant that clearly shows red pods on the plant:

No offense to anyone growing this pepper, from what I hear it’s a decent tasting pepper and the plants produce well. I’m just not sold on the name…it’s not a bhut and dos not finish to purple so should not be called a purple bhut. I believe the earliest mentions of this pepper were in mid 2010 from a user at TheHotPepper names JSKaiser. He’s been banned from the site for awhile and if memory is correct didn’t do right by a lot of folks in the pepper growing community and in general has a terrible reputation.

So there you have it. People can call peppers whatever they want but this is one of the cases where the name is completely misleading. I for one will not grow this pepper nor will I acknowledge that a true purple bhut jolokia even exists!

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28 Responses to The Purple Bhut Jolokia – Buyer Beware

  1. 3/5King says:

    Your plants are looking great! I haven’t had a Peach Bhut yet but It’s on the list. My mind is not made up on the Purple or White Bhut yet. I am looking to get seeds from the original source and grow them out. If that is at all possible. I’m not sure yet. But I will let you know what happens when I do. Keep up the good fight Jeremy!

    • pepperseed says:

      Thanks. The Peach bhut is doing great…hopefully it ripens to peach 🙂 I’m pretty sure the white bhut has been completely written off as a fake…it too ripens to red. There’s more info in this thread:

      I think the “purple bhut” name will stick even though to me that thing ain’t a bhut!

      Hope your season is going well, grow on.

    • SweeneySaidSeeds says:

      I have REAL GHOST seeds and real Trinidad Scorpions/(sold as) Carolina reapers but I am not so sure. Anyway, I will send you a few of each FREE. Just supply me with an address. Then next year when you go to purchase? I hope it will be me you come back to. My seeds can germ in as little as 10 days if treated properly. I use MG Organic choice seed starting soil. I sterilize it only because of past problems with fungus flies and aphids but this is not necessary just a suggestion. I place them on a garden heating pad but NOT directly. Once they are standing remove from heat source and provide a 12 hr light source. T-5 fluorescent light fixture is fine. I only suggest this because these are slow growers. I start mine in mid Jan but I live in the north so I want my plants BIG by May 1st, the earliest that I can start hardening.. Funny though, they are outside today and it is still Feb. 65 Today!!!

  2. Michele says:

    OK I have to comment since we have three of these plants. I know you warned us we’d be disappointed with these. What I do find interesting, is the baby pods on our plants actually start out as purple (some very vivid purple) and not green. The stems have also always been purple (even as seedlings) and parts of the leaves are also of a purplish tint. Some of the younger pods resemble the ones pictured above but some of the older pods seem to narrow and actually resemble ghosts or Bhuts. So far none of them have ripened to red yet but I figure they are going to ripen to some color eventually. I’m sure there are probably multiple versions of the “purple ghost” out there. They are interesting looking plants–I got to give em that. I guess we’ll see what happens with them in the near future!

    • pepperseed says:

      Thanks for comment Michele, keep us posted, would love to know how your purple bhuts turn out. Everything I’ve read and pictures I have seen indicate they ripen to red.

      • Michele says:

        I’m not saying you’re wrong. You know considerably more about these peppers than I do. I’m fully prepared for these peppers to ripen to red. I’m suprised by the fact that the baby pods were never green, they started out as purple.

      • KVerret says:

        I have 4 plants that are growing better than any of my other ghost and are full of peppers. I hate to know they are not ghost but i will let them go and are if they turn red. I found it funny they came out purple and the plants are purple also. This is my first time growing ghost, i have red yellow and white but they are growing slower than the purple.

    • john beers says:

      i too have one of these growing. the plant its self is a really good looking plant!, i have had 3 red ones, while i await for all others to turn from purple to red. the red ones i ate were hot, but not ghost hot as my peppers in the short, you can grow , eat it and enjoy it, its not a reaper, but its not a habanero either!

  3. jule100 says:

    Thank you for nice posting and information. I bought this BJ purple (lila) seeds end of year 2010 from Germany eBay. Unstable pod color is one of mysterious thing. Also when this has been named german “lila” purple I get more mysterious to this. Finally I get information and heart “right” name to this variety. This variety is not quite hot (IMO 9) .

    Here is some photos of my BJP or whatever it should be call.

  4. Michele says:

    A few of our Bhuts that started out purple are now a pale lemon yellow,but it’s not the vivid orange yellow that our other peppers get before they turn red. I’d say they are closer in color to a banana pepper at this point.

    • pepperseed says:

      That’s weird…do the pods look like the ones in the picture above? Can you post a picture?

      • Michele says:

        The normal sized pods are more narrow than the ones in the pic above. They almost look like a cross between the ones in the pic and authentic ghost peppers. The same plants also have some mini pods of a more rounded shape. Yesterday I discovered two of the mini pods had turned orange/red and one of the larger pods is losing it’s banana color and getting orange.

        • Michele says:

          UPDATE–The supposid “purple bhuts” are definately ripening to red. Two of the “mini” sized pods ripened to red first so my husband and his friend sampled them Friday. Wish I would have had a camera rolling. Things were rather boring till they hit the seed part. That’s when the cussing started, and my husband went running for a bag of chips to absorb some of the heat. They said (before their mouths began burning) that the flavor of the peppers was very good actually. I thought hell froze over when my husband commented, “That will take some getting used to.” They only got through half of one of the mini pods. Would those smaller pods be more intense of a heat than the normal sized pods? In any case the “Purple Ghost” (atleast the version we have) is literally hot as hell.

          • pepperseed says:

            Heat can vary significantly from pod to pod, even on the same plant. Whole pods of any of the super hots are too much for me!

  5. modelyacht says:

    I have a Ghost Pepper plant, the peppers look like a bhut, more than those purple ones in your photos, they started green, and they are turning purple…I’d be happy to send you a photo.

  6. cervisiae bibens says:

    I’ve got a ghost pepper plant that produced many flowers but few peppers all summer. The peppers were medium to large and looked exactly like the picture of the red ones above, except a little smaller. The plant has grown to more than 5 ft tall, and this fall suddenly put on hundreds of small peppers that have smoother skin and are turning bright purple. They have not ripened yet (and won’t since there will be frost here tomorrow night – I plan to pick them all) and I haven’t tasted the purple ones yet, but the red ones had the flavor and heat appropriate to bhut. I asked a botanist friend about this, who basically just suggested peppers can be weird. I wonder if they are cross pollinating.

    • pepperseed says:

      Cross pollination wouldn’t show until you grew seeds next season from this season’s plants. Could just be conditions…I’ve seen a lot of variety on the same plant as the season progresses. Not as drastic as what you’re seeing but variety none the less.

  7. Eddie says:

    Hi Pepperseed. I can’t vouch for the seed sellers claiming to have stable purple bhuts for sale. However, I can vouch for the fact that there are purple bhuts, and peach, and orange.

    A few years ago I grew nine regular bhuts, or what were supposed to be regular red ones. Six were indeed red ripening and hot as hell, with a nice bhut flavor. Then there were the three off colored ones: a peachy ripening one, one which ripened orange, and one which ripened a very light purple. They were all definitely bhut in shape, taste, and that slowly building heat. I saved seeds from them to attempt a grow the next year, but ended up having to do a rapid change of residence and the seeds ended up lost in the move. Would have liked to see if these color anomalies were just an expression of something off in the growing environment or was it genetic and would reproduce true from seed wherever it was grown.Maybe bhuts just randomly spit out color morphs as a regular part of adaptation to different environments?Pretty plants, though.

    So the purple bhut is no myth. But again, I can’t vouch for the seed being sold except to say that it is possible.

    • Mr. Dusty says:

      The biggest problem with the Purple Ghost, along with ALL of the other hybrids/ghosts out there is that most of them are extremely unstable variants that have been crossbred again and again by greedy, egocentric megalomaniacs who could care less whether you’re happy with your plants or not so long as they make money.

      The Naga Viper, the Carolina Reaper, etc…all of them are notorious for having various oddities due to the instability and variance of their DNA and thus is actually RESPONSIBLE for the mutations. Peach variants, along with many others (aside from chocolates which are often hybridized with that black anuum hybrid who’s name escapes me) , are made by isolating genetics that vary color akin to the way that amelanism, anerythrism, and other visual recessive traits can be bred in snakes.

      Overall this entire article is basically the author’s bias toward this specific pepper and it’s progenitor…which seems to border on personal. I have no idea why anybody would whine about what the name of this pepper is considering there are plenty of “ghosts” being sold that aren’t ghosts, many of which aren’t even super hots. If I wanted to make a bell pepper variety called a Ghost I could…and if it sold well due to popularity I’m sure somebody would whine “but it isn’t hot!” as if it matters.

      More or less the kind of childish crap that, coupled with the lack of ethics and care for quality overall in the field, keeps me from ever trying to sell my hybrids.

      • Padewan Pepperman says:

        I think it is kind of exiting getting the variations on my peppers. I used to get aggravated when I went to the Bakersville Festival and get plants from their vendors and they were not what I bought. Now it is exciting to see what I end up with. I end up with things I would never have gotten seeds for and end up enjoying them immensely. I just wonder how I ended up with a naga viper when I bought a reaper. I bought 5 reaper plants and ended up with one. My ghost pods are all different from red seed. The viper turns purple in the sun. Peppers are crazy.

  8. Michael says:

    My father harvested his seeds from last years plants and gave me 2 starters. The color progression from his plants last year were what we thought were the proper color progression in Green to orange to red. The plants I have look exactly like his did in shape and size, but my color progression has gone from green to purple. These came from the red plants. He does not have any other pepper plants on his property, not sure about the neighbors, so cross pollination is unknown.

    My question is… why? I am a newbie grower, but learning so much.

    Thanks for any help and comments.

  9. Mr. Dusty says:

    IMO this article seems to be little more than a biased slant toward the progenitor of this pepper more than anything else. Toward the end it even more or less says “the first person who mentioned the name of this pepper is a scammer,” and then goes onto whine about the subjective heat of the pepper.

    I have news for you all; Scoville ratings are often fudged significantly. The better pepper providers I’ve spoken with openly admit that most of the suppliers/industry does not care what the “real” scoville rating is; the numbers sell products and that’s all. Most of the ridiculously high-rated scoville peppers have failed to produce the same results…and little do people know that the Scoville measuresments, to this day, basically rely on the “honor system” as it is based on the subjectivity of the scientist testing said pepper at X time with absolutely no control methods. One simply cannot guarantee their palate, much less can any person truly say that we “know” what pain is like to the next person; it falls under the purview of Qualia.

    Furthermore; the name “Purple Ghost”/ “Purple Bhut Jolokia” is a name, and that’s it. I could breed a pair of bell peppers together until they look like a ghost, call it a ghost, and I’d have every right. This wouldn’t make me a “liar” for calling it so or for people’s idiotic assumptions that “all bhuts/ghosts are equal”…showing that the author’s highly opinionated and biased argument is basically moot. “Misleading” or not…they had every right to name it the way they did, and complaining that it isn’t “as hot” as X or Y pepper is as silly as saying that a Peach Bhut isn’t a “bhut”, because the scoville isn’t quite on par with the red or chocolate varieties.

    • pepperseed says:

      @Mr Dusty you’re trying to connect dots that aren’t there. My point behind this post was the “purple bhut” doesn’t look like a bhut, taste like a bhut or have the heat of a bhut. It also ripens to red. Maybe a more stable version has been found since I write this post but at the time the “purple bhut” was nothing more than a moderately hot pepper that turned purple on it’s way to being ripe.

  10. Bill Beckham says:

    I have grown red, white, peach and purple ghosts. The white stays white and the peach stays a peach color. Both are nearly as hot as the original ghosts and they have a flavor very much like a ghost but the purple is not a ghost at all. Though it has the shape of a ghost but the skin is very smooth and the heat level, I would say less than 1,000 scoville units.

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