A tongue-smoking red chili may stay out of hot water thanks to a new botanical area in Arizona, the first in the U.S. set aside to protect wild relatives of domesticated crops. The botanical area -- a four-square-mile parcel in the Coronado National Forest, 50 miles south of Tucson -- was officially dedicated to the preservation of the red-hot chiltepine last month. Photo by Jesús García. For more than 8,000 years, wild pea-sized chiltepines have grown in the Caribbean, Mexico, Peru, and the southwestern U.S. Now cattle grazing and fire threaten to eliminate the northernmost population of the chiltepines, a …
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Amy E. Nevala freelances from Seattle for ABC News online, Discovery online, Animals magazine, and the Washington Post.