Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) is ranked close to common beans as a food legume in Africa. It performs well in hotter and drier parts of Zambia replacing common bean as a food crop for grain and leaf in those areas.
Due to the development of a strong tap-root, cowpea has good drought tolerance which makes it better adapted to lighter and sandier soils than many other legumes.
Vigna belongs to the tribe Phaseolae of the sub-family Papilionoideae. Vigna unguiculata is sub-divided into five (5) sub-species, three (3) of which are cultivated types.
ub-species unguiculata, the common cowpea, is one of the cultivated sub-species and the most widespread and most diverse.
Cultivated cowpeas are annual herbs whose remarkable morphological diversity and the physiological basis for it, have been studied intensely over the past decade in both controlled and field environments.
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