Trinidad Moruga Scorpion: Scoville, Seeds & Pepper Grow Guide

The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is seriously hot at 1.2 to 2 million Scoville Heat Units (SHUs). This pepper is versatile in the kitchen but painful if you don’t have a high heat tolerance. Find answers to all your Moruga pepper questions, including how to grow Trinidad Scorpion plants at home.

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers

If you’ve hung around Grow Hot Peppers for a while, you probably know that the Habanero is Jesse’s favorite pepper. One of my (Jenny) most-loved chiles is the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion. 

Here’s why: The Moruga pepper is freaking delicious!

In my experience, nuclear peppers don’t lead with their flavor like the Moruga. The pleasantly surprising taste is why this chile is worth eating — and growing — if you’re up for it!

So: What do you do with these super hot peppers, and where can you buy some? I’ve rounded up these answers (and more).

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Facts:

Common NamesTrinidad Moruga, Moruga pepper, TS Moruga
Scoville Heat Units (SHU)1.2 to 2 million SHU
Capsicum SpeciesCapsicum chinense
Days To Harvest90 to 120 days
Size2 to 3 in (5 to 9 cm) long peppers; 3 to 4 ft (1 to 1.2 m) tall plants
FlavorSweet, fruity, and floral with notes of rose and geranium
Culinary UsesFresh salsas, chili, hot sauces, soups

Let’s keep learning about one of the world’s hottest peppers!

About Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers

about Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers grow to two to three inches long. It’s similar in shape to Habanero and Scotch Bonnets but has a wrinkly, pockmarked exterior and a tiny tail sticking out from the bottom.

Native to Moruga, a small village on the central south coast of Trinidad, this pepper was developed by a 70-year-old self-taught farmer named Wahid Ogeer.

In the 1990s, the pepper was studied by the University of West Indies before making its way to New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute [source]. It was there, in 2012, that the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion was identified as one of the hottest chilies in the world.  

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Scoville

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Scoville

On the Scoville scale, Trinidad Moruga Scorpions rate between 1.2 to 2 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU) [source]. That’s considerably spicier than a Ghost pepper (Bhut Jolokia) at about 1 million SHU but a little less aggressive than a Carolina Reaper (2.2 SHU).

So, yeah, the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is muy caliente

If and when you chow down on a Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, expect an intense burst of heat that takes at least 20 minutes to quiet down. (Some people refer to this as the “Scorpion sting.”) 

Moruga Pepper Varieties 

Moruga Pepper Varieties
Mustard Moruga, Trinidad Moruga (Red), Yellow Moruga, White Moruga

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers are green in the immature stage. As they continue to ripen, they become bright red. They also get shiny because of the oils coating the pepper. 

Of course, the exact appearance of the pepper depends on the variety.  

The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Chocolate, for example, is a deep cocoa brown. As for taste, it’s earthier, smokier and less acidic.  

There’s also the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Yellow. As its name suggests, this chili pepper is bright yellow with a slightly sweeter taste.   


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Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Seeds

Here’s where you can find seeds for different Moruga Scorpion varieties:

» Related: Best Places to Buy Hot Pepper Seeds Online

Trinidad Scorpion Taste

Trinidad Scorpion taste
Sliced Trinidad Moruga Scorpion

So, what’s it like to eat a Trinidad Moruga Scorpion? I find it to be flavor-forward, meaning you experience the delicious essence of the pepper before the intense heat comes. Trinidad Scorpion peppers have a flavor that (to me) is fruity and somewhat candy-like, with the burn coming in after a few seconds.

This is one of those peppers where a little goes a long way. They make an insanely delicious addition to food, but you need to take your time (unless you already have a high tolerance) because the heat is no joke. 

(Seriously, this is one of those peppers where you can track where it is in your digestive system after you eat it. Exercise caution! 🥵)

What Can You Do With The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion?

If you like to play with fire, you’ll love cooking with Trinidad Moruga Scorpions. 

These peppers are normally sold in their dried state. You can rehydrate them in soups and stews, or grind dry Moruga peppers into flakes and powders.  

With their complex, fruity notes, fresh Morugas are also the perfect addition to foods like salsas, marinades, and hot sauces. (To really impress your friends, you can also use them in sweet treats.)  

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Sauces On Amazon:

CAJOHNS

CaJohns Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Hot Sauce

MELINDA’S

Melinda’s Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper Sauce

RED TAIL

Red Tail Scorpion Chili
Hot Sauce

Be careful handling Trinidad Moruga Scorpions — they contain as much capsaicin as a shot glass of law enforcement-grade pepper spray [source]. Always wear gloves, goggles, and a mask, and avoid touching your skin and eyes after working with them.

If you do come in contact with the capsaicin, immediately wash the affected area with dish soap and water. If the capsaicin gets in your eyes, soak a paper towel in milk and use it as a cold compress. This method works because capsaicin is fat-soluble and is broken down by dairy.   

Is It Safe to Eat a Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper?

Considering the amount of protection required to handle these peppers, you’re probably wondering: Is it even safe to eat a Trinidad Moruga Scorpion?

The short answer is yes.

Sure, super spicy peppers can cause uncomfortable symptoms like sweating, diarrhea and nausea in some people. However, it’s a myth that spicy chilies can cause physical damage to the esophagus or tongue [source]. 

Researchers, in fact, are exploring the potential health benefits of capsaicin in treating everything from pain to diabetes [source].

Where Can I Buy Trinidad Moruga Scorpion?

where to buy Trinidad Moruga Scorpion on Etsy
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion on Etsy

Previously, I mentioned where to purchase Trinidad Moruga pepper seeds and hot sauces. Here’s where you can also buy Moruga Scorpion peppers (fresh and dried).

If you’re looking for fresh Moruga peppers near you, check for them during the summer months at farmer’s markets or grocery stores like Sprouts and Whole Foods. You can also search Instacart for Trinidad Scorpions to see what the search finds in your area – you never know what might pop up!

The Etsy marketplace is my favorite place for ordering whole, fresh peppers, dried chiles, pepper plants and seeds online. Availability depends on the time of year – as of this writing in November, I still see Trinidad Moruga Scorpion plants and dried Moruga pods for sale.

Note: You can also buy dried Trinidad Moruga Scorpions on Amazon.

Grow Trinidad Moruga Scorpion

grow Trinidad Moruga Scorpion

Generally, it takes up to seven months for the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion to grow from seeds to mature peppers. Below, you’ll find the growth stages of a Moruga Scorpion so you know what to expect when growing this plant. 

When To Start: Plant Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper seeds indoors about eight weeks before your last expected frost. This timing ensures you start your chile plants during the right growing season.

Germination: Sow Moruga seeds in moistened, seed-starting mix, add a cover, then put your containers on top of a plant heat mat to give seeds a warm environment (between 80 to 90°F or 27 to 32°C). Moruga seeds can take up to three weeks to germinate. 

» Related: Recommended Pepper Growing Supplies

Indoor Seedlings: After germination, give your pepper seedlings light (here’s my grow light recommendations). Start feeding your plants ¼ strength fertilizer after the first set of true leaves grow.

Moving Outdoors: Move (transplant) your Moruga seedlings to larger pots when they outgrow their current containers. Watch for nighttime temperatures to regularly get above 55°F (13°C) so that you can harden them off before going outside.  

Fruiting Plants: Position your plants in full sun (8 hours is best) and keep a regular water and fertilizer schedule. Your Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers should grow in about one month after flowers appear.

First time growing peppers from seed?

Learn to grow peppers with my step-by-step, illustrated ebook. It’ll help you skip a lot of beginner mistakes so that you can enjoy harvesting your own chilies!

When To Pick

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers are ripe when they are firm to the touch, about 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 8 cm) in diameter and reach a mature color. This is usually one to two months after green pods develop.

Lifespan: In my experience, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion plants can live for three years or more as long as you overwinter them during the colder weather. 

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion FAQs

Is the Trinidad Scorpion pepper hotter than the Carolina Reaper?

The Trinidad Scorpion pepper is one of the hottest peppers in the world, but the Carolina Reaper is officially hotter at 2.2 SHU.

How do you care for your Trinidad Moruga Scorpion chiles once they germinate?

Remove the cover, take your chiles off the plant heat mat and put them under a grow lamp so they have enough light to continue growing indoors. Here’s more on how to care for pepper seedlings for fertilizer, water, and other needs indoor chiles have before going outside.

How big does the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion plant get?

Moruga plants typically get up to 4 ft (1.2 m) tall.

Wrapping Up

I hope you enjoyed learning more about the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion. They’re definitely worth growing and eating!

What’s Next?

Check out the hottest peppers page for more on your favorite superhots.

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AUTHOR

Jenny is the creator of Grow Hot Peppers as well as the writer of the gardening guides and many recipes on this site. She’s been growing peppers and all kinds of veggies for over 10 years. When she’s not writing or gardening, she loves eating spicy foods, hiking and going to the ocean.