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Bell Pepper Growing Green Inside – Causes & Fixes

Have you ever had a bell pepper that had something growing inside when you cut it open? It might have looked like a fully formed mini pepper or a green knob growing out from the seeds. What is this green thing inside the bell pepper?

This is called Internal Proliferation or Carpelloid Formation. It’s an abnormal growth in the pepper and is harmless. The reason it occurs isn’t known exactly, but it seems to be genetic or possibly caused by ethylene gas.

Now that you know this, you may have more questions. Let’s dive in and learn more about little peppers growing inside if it’s a rare occurrence, and more.

What is the growth inside a bell pepper?

The growth can either look like a small bell pepper, a malformed one, or just a green piece of pepper. It’s known as Carpelloid Formation or Internal Proliferation.

Bell peppers are classified as fruits due to the seeds inside. This internal growth can also occur in other fruits with seeds, such as eggplants, tomatoes, and citrus.

Peppers have a cluster of ovules inside the top, and the ovules develop into seeds. Sometimes, something goes awry, and one or more ovules get ahead of themselves and start to grow into a pepper.

How far this process has gone before you cut open the pepper determines how the growth appears. It may be anywhere from a little piece of pepper all the way up to a complete miniature one.

What Causes This?

There isn’t yet a definitive reason for this, but it appears to be genetic. Pepper growers don’t want this characteristic, so they reject these types of peppers for cultivation when they’re discovered.

It may also be caused by sudden changes in humidity or heat or from the ethylene gas used to accelerate ripening.

Bell Pepper Pollination

The flowers of a pepper plant contain both the pistil (female) and stamen (male). This means they are self-pollinating. This can occur from the wind blowing over the flower or from pollinating bees. Either way, the pollen travels from the stamen to the pistil.

The carpel is the part of the pistil that will transform into the bell pepper. It contains the ovules, which will become the seeds inside the mature fruit. The outer shell of the carpel becomes the pepper’s exterior wall.

When the pepper flowers are fertilized, the sperm in the pollen gets down to the ovules and fertilizes them. This leads to the ovules developing into seeds.

The Bell Pepper Matures

There are many ovules, and not all of them get fertilized. Sometimes one of the unfertilized ovules starts developing into a pepper. It is mutating into a carpel, which will then grow into a pepper, as carpels do.

As the pepper matures, the irregular ovule that has turned into a carpel begins growing into a mini pepper.

What Should the Inside of Bell Pepper Look Like?

The inside of a typical bell pepper should have a bunch of seeds attached to what is called the placenta. Capsaicin glands are the ribs that divide the pepper’s inside cavity into chambers. These chambers are customarily empty.

Is it Rare to Find a Pepper Inside a Pepper?

It’s not common for a pepper to have a little one growing inside it. So, it can be quite a surprise when you discover there’s one in your pepper.

At first, you may think there’s something very wrong with the pepper and be tempted to throw the whole thing out. But it’s just that a little ovule got ahead of itself.

Some people have commented that they’ve only noticed this abnormality in peppers from the grocery store. They’ve never seen it in home-grown peppers or ones from farmer’s markets. This backs up the theory about using ethylene gas as a cause.

Can You Eat the Pepper Growing Inside a Pepper?

Nothing is harmful about the little pepper inside, even if it’s not completely formed. It is perfectly safe to eat. The texture may be slightly different, but it will still taste like bell pepper.

There will be no seeds in it, so you’re spared the task of cutting and scraping them out of the little thing. You can go ahead and add it to your salad or cook it in your recipe along with the main pepper.


So, there’s the story about bell peppers having baby peppers. There is an old wives’ tale that the woman who cuts open one of these peppers will get pregnant. There is another old belief that these peppers signify good luck.

The tiny pepper will not have any seeds, so eating is OK. Think of it as a small gift from the pepper you’ve brought home from the grocery store. Are you now going to buy more peppers to see if you can find one of these?

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