Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata)

Cowpea, also known as black eyed pea, is an herbaceous annual crop belonging to the Fabaceae family. Due to its tolerance for sandy soil and low rainfall, it is an important crop in the semiarid regions but it could become increasingly popular in Europe as well. It requires very few inputs, as the plant’s root nodules are able to fix atmospheric nitrogen, making it a valuable crop for resource-poor farmers and well-suited to intercropping with other crops. Cowpeas are grown mostly for their edible beans, although the leaves, green seeds and pods can also be consumed. Grains are rich in protein with most improved varieties containing between 20-25% protein on a dry weight basis.