I walked down to check my super-hot peppers this morning and found that something had attacked my Trinidad Scorpion plant. Nearly all the leaves at the top of the plant were stripped off. Could slugs do this much damage in one night? I searched around the base of the plant and found an old enemy…the Tomato Hornworm.
The Trinidad Scorpion comes in at 1,463,700 on the Scoville scale (a measurement of the heat in peppers) and currently holds the Guiness World Record for hottest pepper. This being Mississippi, and not in fact Trinidad, the Tomato Hornworm had no idea what he was getting himself into. It was obvious from the state of the Hornworm’s carcass that the pepper plant exacted a torturous revenge on its assailant.
Before and after pictures are the only way to truly appreciate the horror that occurred in the garden sometime in the wee hours of this morning.
It’s a little difficult to identify the charred remains on the right…dental records will probably be impossible to obtain in this case. The tell tale markings of the species are there however. The scorched rear end of the Hornworm looks like it actually combusted. There are also what appear to be acid burns all along his side. This is a visual representation of what I believe is going on in my own gastrointestinal system half an hour after I eat a super hot pepper.
The Hornworm devoured at least twelve leaves before his demise…he must have been enjoying his meal for a while. I wonder what he was thinking when he first realized something was amiss. I wonder if it was a long or short journey from feeling slightly dyspeptic to having fire shoot out of his caboose. Is it wrong to take a secret delight in the poetic death of this hated garden pest?
There are still leaves at the bottom of the plant so I think my Trinidad Scorpion will recover. The pepper pods look healthy and ready to start turning red also. Very soon I will take my first bite of this homicidally hot pepper. Knowing the fate that befell the Tomato Hornworm, I’m more nervous than ever.
Here are a few brave souls eating the Trinidad Scorpion. This video gives me some insight into how things started to go wrong for that unfortunate Tomato Hornworm.