Cowpea: Thailand Long
(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.
This variety was obtained from a missionary in Thailand in the late 1980's. Selected for longer pods and bush-like growth habit, though in our trials here in south Florida it has more of a creeping growth habit. Because of the flat shape of the seeds and the thin skinned pods, it's possible this variety is more closely related to V. unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis (yardlong bean). Works well as a cover crop. Brown seeds with dark purple mottling.