The cayenne pepper is a type of Capsicum annuum. It is usually a moderately hot chili pepper used to flavor dishes. Cayenne peppers are a group of long, tapering, 10 to 25cm long, generally skinny, mostly red colored peppers, often with a curved tip and somewhat rippled skin, which hang from the bush as opposed to growing upright. Most varieties are generally rated at 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units.
The fruits are generally dried and ground to make the powdered spice of the same name, although cayenne powder may be a blend of different types of peppers, quite often not containing cayenne peppers, and may or may not contain the seeds.
Cayenne is used in cooking spicy dishes either as a powder or in its whole form.
Cayenne powder may be a blend of different types of peppers. Cayenne powder is distinguished from 'chili powder' as it is made from cayenne peppers only, whereas chili powder is generally a spice mixture. It is employed variously in its fresh form, or as dried powder used on seafood, all types of egg dishes (devilled eggs, omelettes, soufflés), meats and stews, casseroles, cheese dishes, hot sauces, and curries.