Rutgers' UFO-Habanero (Capsicum Chinense)

Invention Summary:

    Rutgers' UFO-Habanero (UFO-Hab) is an open-pollinated pepper variety that was developed from a field cross between African and Mexican habanero peppers. The plant is bushy with bifurcative branching, 30-36” tall and 38-49” wide, and very attractive at maturity with red ripe pendulous fruit. It is an annual in NJ, but maybe perennial in tropical climate. Plant starts to flower 7-8 weeks after transplanting, and first fruit ripens about 12 weeks after transplanting. Average fruit number is 90/plant, and average fruit weight is 17.5 g. Ripe fruit durability (RFD) rated 5 on a scale of 1-5, four weeks after ripening (5 = fruit retains integrity same as at ripening). Ripe fruit is large and red with thick and firm wall, “unidentified flying object (UFO)” in shape and smooth glossy skin. Fruit has excellent shelf life postharvest (rated 4-5 at four weeks in cold storage at 45-50 oF, and 4-5 at 3 weeks when stored at room temperature [75-85 oF], where 1 = fruit completely rotted, 5 = fruit retains complete integrity same as at harvesting). Fruit is mild with heat level ranging from 30-60K Scoville Heat Units (SHU).


    UFO-Hab has been evaluated agronomically in the field in southern, central and northern New Jersey since 2011. Samples have been test-marketed in ethnic groceries and farmers markets in central NJ, while the Rutgers Dining Services in collaboration with the private sector has conducted a taste test on the quality of hot sauce and confirmed it is of high quality in flavor, taste and texture. 

Market Applications:

  • Fresh produce
  • Production of hot sauce


  • Unique fruit shape (UFO-like)
  • Crunchy fleshy wall with sweet taste
  • Mild heat (30-60K SHU) sought in the fresh and hot sauce markets
  • Prolonged RFD in the field
  • Long shelf life postharvest

Intellectual Property & Development Status: Available for licensing.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Deborah Perez
Associate Director, Physical Sciences & Ag
Rutgers University