The Red Savina pepper is a cultivar of the habanero chili (Capsicum chinense Jacquin), which has been selectively bred to produce hotter, heavier, and larger fruit.
Frank Garcia of GNS Spices, in Walnut, California, is credited with being the developer of the Red Savina habanero. The exact method Garcia used to select the hottest strains is not publicly known.
The Red Savina was protected by the U.S. Plant Variety Protection Act (PVP #9200255) until 2011.
In February 2007, the Red Savina chili was displaced in Guinness World Records as the hottest chili in the world by the Naga Jolokia pepper. The Red Savina held the record from 1994 until 2006.
Red Savina peppers were reported to a score up to 577,000 on the Scoville scale, but this oft-quoted figure was never verified; a comparison experiment carried out by a group of researchers including Regents Professor Paul W. Bosland at the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University in 2005 revealed an average heat level of about 450,000 Scoville Heat Units for Red Savina habaneros. Orange Habaneros may get as hot as 350,000 Scoville Heat Units, but the average Orange Habanero is around 200,000 Scoville Heat Units. The average Bhut Jolokia pepper is 1,019,687 SHUs.