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Siling labuyo is a small chili pepper cultivar native to the Philippines. It belongs to the species Capsicum frutescens.[1] The cultivar name is Tagalog, and literally translates to "wild chili."[1] It is used widely in Philippine Cuisine, though not as ubiquitously as other chili cultivars on other cuisines of Southeast Asia.

'Siling Labuyo'
Capsicum 'Siling Labuyo' (Mindanao, Philippines) 2.jpg
'Siling Labuyo' pepper
Genus Capsicum
Species Capsicum frutescens
Cultivar 'Siling Labuyo'
Heat Very hot
Scoville scale 80,000 - 100,000 SHU


Taxonomy and namesEdit

Siling labuyo is officially known under the cultivar name Capsicum frutescens 'Siling Labuyo'. It belongs to the species Capsicum frutescens. Related cultivars to 'Siling Labuyo' include 'Tabasco', 'Malagueta', and 'African Birdseye'.[1]

The common name is Tagalog for "wild chili".[1] Other local names for it include chileng bundok, siling palay, pasitis, pasite (Tagalog), katumbal, kutitot, siling kolikot (Bisaya), silit-diablo (Ilocano), lada, rimorimo (Bicolano), and paktin (Ifugao).[2]

Red bird's eye chilies, are commonly mislabeled as siling labuyo in Filipino markets. But they are actually a chili pepper cultivar from a different species (Capsicum annuum) that came by way of Thailand.These are said to pack a little more heat than the native siling labuyo and are popular with retailers because their color and shape are more consistent and they have a longer shelf life.[1][3]


Like other Capsicum frutescens cultivars, siling labuyo has a compact habit, growing between 1 to 4 ft (0.30 to 1.22 m) high. They have smooth ovate to lanceolate leaves that are around 2.5 in (6.4 cm) in length with pointed tips. They produce small greenish-white flowers with purple stamens. These develop into a large number of small, tapering fruits that are around 0.6 to 1 in (1.5 to 2.5 cm) in length. The fruits are very pungent and are characteristically borne erect (pointing upwards). Immature fruits are deep green in color and usually ripen to a vivid red, but other varieties can have yellow, orange, white, purple, or even black fruits. Flowers and fruits are often clustered in groups of 2 to 3 at a node.[1][4][5]

Siling labuyo fruits are small but are very hot. It measures around 80,000-100,000 Scoville units which is at the lower end of the range for the hotter habanero chili. At one time it was even listed as the hottest chili in the Guinness Book of World Records but other hotter varieties of chili have since been identified.

Ingredient in cookingEdit

Toyomansi, a typical Filipino dipping sauce composed of soy sauce and calamansi spiced with siling labuyo

Although not as central in Filipino cuisine as bird's eye chilies are in other cuisines of Southeast Asia, it is still an often-used ingredient. The fruit of siling labuyo is popularly used to flavor vinegar to be used as a spicy condiment, while its leaves are usually consumed as a vegetable, such as in the dish Tinola.[1][6]

Other usesEdit

In medicinal terms, the labuyo fruit was earlier utilized as an herbal plant to ease arthritis, rheumatism, dyspepsia, flatulence, and toothache.[6]

It can also be used as a natural insect repellent or pesticide when mixed with water.[7][8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g DeWitt, D.; Bosland, P.W. (2009). The Complete Chile Pepper Book: A Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking. Timber Press. ISBN 978-0881929201. 
  2. ^ Capsicum Frutescens Linn. Sileng-Labuyo
  3. ^ Connie Veneracion (16 January 2016). "Correction: "siling labuyo" is not the same as bird's eye chili". CasaVeneracion. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  4. ^ "Siling-labuyo". Philippine Medicinal Plants. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  5. ^ "Hot pepper" (PDF). Republic of Philippines, Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Nagpala, Ellaine Grace. (2007). A fresh look at siling labuyo. BAR Chronicle 8(10). Retrieved 2009-10-22.
  7. ^ Aguilar, Ephraim. (2007-5-31). School teaches love for environment Archived 2009-07-25 at the Wayback Machine.. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
  8. ^ "Introduction to Natural Farming with Organic and Biological Technology: An Attempt to Get Back to Mother Nature".