Edema (Oedema) on Pepper Fruit

Gordon Johnson, Extension Vegetable & Fruit Specialist; gcjohn@udel.edu

With recent wet, cloudy weather we are seeing some edema (or oedema) on bell pepper and banana pepper fruits. Edema is also called water blistering. The most common cause of edema is warm wet soils, high humidity in the air, low wind, and overcast (cloudy) skies. Under these conditions the roots of the pepper plant absorb water at a rate faster than is lost through transpiration. Excess water accumulates in the developing fruit, some fruit cells enlarge, stomatal openings become blocked by these enlarging cells, and water continues to accumulate in the fruit. The enlargement of these fruit cells then causes a rupture of the epidermis leaving raised bumps and scarring. To reduce edema, limit irrigation during cloudy, humid weather.


Edema in Banana Pepper Fruits. Note the raised brown bumps and scarring.


Magnified picture of ruptured epidermis on edema affected banana pepper fruit.