Black-eyed pea (Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata)
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The black-eyed pea, also called black-eyed bean, blackeye, lobiya (ar: لوبيا), rongi, feijão-frade, Alasandee (Kannada name) or chawli/chawle, is a subspecies of the cowpea, grown for its medium-sized edible bean, which mutates easily giving rise to a number of varieties, the common commercial one called the California Blackeye being pale-colored with a prominent black spot. The currently accepted botanical name is Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata, although previously it was classified in the genus Phaseolus. Vigna unguiculata subsp. dekindtiana is the wild relative and Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis is the related asparagus bean. Other beans of somewhat similar appearance, such as the “Frijol ojo de cabra” (“Goat’s eye bean”) of Northern Mexico are sometimes incorrectly called “black eyed peas” and vice versa.
Originally native to Africa, but widely grown in many countries in Asia, the black-eyed pea was introduced into the West Indies and from there to the Southern United States, where it is still a widely used ingredient in soul food and Southern U.S. cuisine. The planting of crops of black-eyed peas was promoted by George Washington Carver both because, as a legume, it adds nitrogen to the soil and for its nutritional value. Black-eyed peas are an excellent source of calcium (211mg in a 1 cup serving), folate (209mcg), and vitamin A (1,305 IU) among other nutrients.
The heat-loving crop is seeded after the danger of frost is past and the soil is warm. Sandy loam is preferred, but at least the soil should be well-drained, as the plants cannot stand excessive water. They are also known as a drought-tolerant crop.
The crop is relatively free of pests and disease. Root-knot nematodes can be a problem, especially if crops are not rotated. As a nitrogen fixing legume, fertilization can exclude nitrogen.
The blossoms are heavy nectar producers and significant areas can be a source of honey. Because the bloom attracts a variety of pollinators, care must be taken in the application of insecticides to avoid label violations.