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Pea, Southern

Cowpea, Black-eye pea, Callivance, Cherry bean, Frijol, China pea, Indian pea, Cornfield pea, Crowder pea

Leguminosae, Fabaceae Vigna sinensis (Torner) Savi

Source: Magness et al. 1971

This so-called pea is more closely related to the beans (Phaseolus) than to the peas (Pisum). it is an important food and stock-feed crop in the Southern States. Several slightly differing types are grown, as blackeye, brown eye, cream and cream crowder, differing in the flower color and color markings on the seeds. The plant needs warm weather, and is injured by any frost. It is bushy, or procumbent, twining but not climbing. Pods are 3 to 12 inches long and slender. Seeds are small, 1/6-1/4 inch in length. For food, they are harvested either at the green-shell state, while pods are still green, or as dry-shells, when ripe. Harvesting is usually by mowing and threshing in a viner, as with green peas. The pods may also be hand picked. For stock feed, the whole plant is harvested as hay, or pastured.

Season, bloom to harvest: Green-shell stage, 15 to 20 days. Dry-shell, 30 or more days.

Production in U.S.: 37,000 tons shelled dry; no data on green shell; 300,000 acres as feed and pasturage.

Use: Commercially, green-shell canned or frozen; dry-shell marketed dry.

Part of plant consumed: Seed only for food; whole plant for feed. Immature pods and seed may be used as snap beans.

Last update February 18, 1999 by ch