Members of the Capsicum family of peppers native to South America. The over 200 varieties of peppers vary in strength, from mild to extremely hot. They can be red, green, yellow or purple and range in length from 1/4 inch to 12 inches. Dried chilies also are available. The seeds of chilies are hotter than the flesh, and both the seeds and membranes contain irritating oils. To avoid transferring the oils to your eyes or skin, wash hands thoroughly after seeding or wear rubber gloves when handling.