Bird's eye chilli is a chilli pepper of the species Capsicum frutescens in the family Solanaceae, commonly found in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore. It can also be found in India, mainly Kerala, where it is used in traditional dishes of the Kerala cuisine. This species is also found in rural areas of Sri Lanka, where it is used as a substitute for green chillies.
The bird's eye chili plant is a perennial with small, tapering fruits, often 2-3, at a node. The fruits of most varieties are red, some are yellow, purple or black. The fruits are very pungent. The flowers are greenish white or yellowish white.
Taxonomically, it has long been thought that the bird's eye chili belongs to Capsicum frutescens,, but there are now some who list the bird's eye chili as belonging to Capsicum chinense.
The bird's eye chili is small but packs quite a lot of heat. 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. It measures around 50,000-100,000 Scoville units which is at the lower end of the range for the hotter Habanero chili.