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Cowpea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Vigna
Species: V. unguiculata
Binomial name
Vigna unguiculata
(L.) Walp.
Synonyms

Vigna sinensis

The Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) is one of several species of the widely cultivated genus Vigna. Four cultivated subspecies are recognised:

  • Vigna unguiculata subsp. cylindrica Catjang
  • Vigna unguiculata subsp. dekindtiana
  • Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis Yardlong bean
  • Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata Black-eyed pea

Cowpeas are one of the most important food legume crops in the semi-arid tropics covering Asia, Africa, southern Europe and Central and South America. A drought-tolerant and warm-weather crop, cowpeas are well-adapted to the drier regions of the tropics, where other food legumes do not perform well. It also has the useful ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen through its root nodules, and it grows well in poor soils with more than 85% sand and with less than 0.2% organic matter and low levels of phosphorus. In addition, it is shade tolerant, and therefore, compatible as an intercrop with maize, millet, sorghum, sugarcane, and cotton. This makes cowpea an important component of traditional intercropping systems, especially in the complex and elegant subsistence farming systems of the dry savannas in sub-Saharan Africa.[1] Research in Ghana found that selecting early generations of cowpea crops to increase yield is not an effective strategy. Francis Padi from the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute in Tamale, Ghana, writing in Crop Science, suggests other methods such as bulk breeding are more efficient in developing high-yield varieties.[2]

Cowpeas are a common food item in the southern United States, where they are often called field peas . A subcategory of field peas is crowder peas, so called because they are crowded together in their pods, causing them to have squarish ends.

In Marathi, these are called Chawali/Chavali(चवळी). (Kārāmani or Kārāmani Payir or Thatta Payir Tamil) are an integral part of the cuisine in southern region of India. In Tamilnadu during the Tamil month of Maasi (February) - Panguni (March) called Kozhukattai/Adai (steamed sweet cake) prepared with cooked and mashed cowpea bean mixed with jaggery, ghee and other sub ingredients.

According to the USDA food database, cowpeas have the highest percentage of calories from protein among vegetarian foods.[3]

References

External links

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Noun

Singular
cowpea

Plural
cowpeas

cowpea (plural cowpeas)

  1. the black-eyed pea, Striga gesnerioides

Simple English

Cowpea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Vigna
Species: V. unguiculata
Binomial name
Vigna unguiculata
(L.) Walp.
Synonyms

Vigna sinensis

The Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) is one of several species of the widely grown genus Vigna.


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