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Chapter 7 - Cowpea

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2009

Dominic Fuccillo
Affiliation:
University of Arkansas
Linda Sears
Affiliation:
International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome
Paul Stapleton
Affiliation:
International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome
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Summary

The major cowpea-growing countries are Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Togo, Benin, Ghana, Chad and Cameroon in West and Central Africa; Tanzania, Somalia, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique in East and Southern Africa; India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia and China in Asia; and Brazil, the West Indies, Cuba and southern USA in the Western hemisphere. The estimated area under cowpea cultivation in the world is over 10 million hectares with about 70% in West and Central Africa and 12% in Brazil (Singh et al. 1996).

BOTANY AND DISTRIBUTION

Taxonomy

Cowpea belongs to the family Leguminosae, subfamily Papilionoideae, tribe Phaseoleae and genus Vigna.

Vigna is a large and immensely variable genus consisting of more than 85 species, divided into seven subgenera: Vigna, Sigmoidotropis, Plectotropis, Macrorhyncha, Ceratotropis, Haydonia and Lasiocarpa (Marechal et al. 1978). Seven species are cultivated. Five Asiatic domesticated species – V. radiata (L.) R.Wilczek, V. mungo (L.) Hepper, V. umbellata (Thumb.) Ohwi & Ohashi, V. angularis (Wild.) Ohwi & Ohashi and V. aconitifolias (L). (Jacq.) M. M. & S. – falling under the subgenus Ceratotropis are genetically highly isolated from cowpea. Bambara groundnut (V. subterranea L.), like cowpea, is also an African domesticated species. It is classified under the same subgenus Vigna with cowpea, but in a different section Vigna. It has very little in common with cowpea.

According to Marechal et al. (1978), cultivated cowpea and their closely related wild species are classified under a single botanical species V. unguiculata (L.) Walp.

Type
Chapter
Information
Biodiversity in Trust
Conservation and Use of Plant Genetic Resources in CGIAR Centres
, pp. 82 - 99
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1997

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  • Cowpea
  • Edited by Dominic Fuccillo, University of Arkansas, Linda Sears, International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome, Paul Stapleton, International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome
  • Book: Biodiversity in Trust
  • Online publication: 22 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511470851.008
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  • Cowpea
  • Edited by Dominic Fuccillo, University of Arkansas, Linda Sears, International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome, Paul Stapleton, International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome
  • Book: Biodiversity in Trust
  • Online publication: 22 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511470851.008
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Cowpea
  • Edited by Dominic Fuccillo, University of Arkansas, Linda Sears, International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome, Paul Stapleton, International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome
  • Book: Biodiversity in Trust
  • Online publication: 22 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511470851.008
Available formats
×