Chillies are fascinating plants. They are thought to have been harvested and used as a flavouring since 7500 BCE or earlier. The chilli plant is a multi-branched, semi-woody small shrub. Its form is generally rounded, often down to ground level, but older plants may have a definite central trunk and a more vase-like shape, or a distinct canopy. Under ideal conditions some varieties will live for four years or more. When happy and healthy, the canopy of foliage will all but obscure the framework of branches.