(Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata)
Vigna unguiculata is a grain legume that originates in Africa. Attributes such as vine shape (climbing, prostrate, or semi-erect), seed color (shades of white, pink, brown, and black), and seed maturation time (60 to 240 days) vary with variety. Pods appear in V-shaped pairs. It is an important source of edible, dry seeds. Immature/green pods, seeds, and leaves are also eaten. It makes an excellent green manure/cover crop and can be fed to livestock as hay, silage, or cut and carry forage. Best varieties for small-scale agriculture are usually those with spreading vines (for ground coverage/animal fodder) and high pod production (for human/livestock consumption). Early-maturing types are suited to short rainy seasons.
The best local cowpea variety from Magu, Tanzania. Mavuno is Swahili for "harvest". The plants grow as creeping vines with large leaves, long pods, and large cream colored seeds. This variety will flower when the days are short.