Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Pigeon Pea, Puerto Rico Bean, Gandul, Dhal, Congo Pea
Cajanus cajan

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cajanus (kaj-AY-nus) (Info)
Species: cajan (KAJ-an) (Info)

Synonym:Cajanus indicus

One vendor has this plant for sale.

13 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall
Late Fall/Early Winter
Mid Winter


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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There are a total of 9 photos.
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1 positive
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive ZAPATENSE On Nov 22, 2014, ZAPATENSE from Zapata, TX wrote:

I planted 4 seeds that I got from someone in Florida. the seeds germinated and took a long time to get of any substantial size but then all of a sudden they exploded and took off. I have two of the original seedlings which are now about 1.5 years old they have produced about 15 lbs. of seed and seem to be flowering on and off all year I harvest the gandul when they are still green to cook with rice and pork they are delicious, the excess I put in a bit of water and freeze them for when I want to use them. I'm in the dry area of South Texas and they have thrived the biomass is tremendous and I feed the young branches to my rabbits and the older mature branches that sometime have older pea pods to my goat and lambs they love it. it made it through the cold spells last winter hope this year it does the same. they are now about 12-14 feet high and they have a trunk caliper of about 4" to 4.5" they still are blooming and they still have green pods. I have collected and saved seed that is mature and dry that I will be growing indoors this winter to put out in early spring. I have heard that they live about five years and them you replace them. good windbreak and a good looking small tree that you can prune and shape and grow other crops below their canopy.

Neutral zeke350 On Sep 7, 2014, zeke350 from Zebulon, NC wrote:

My brother-in law's father has great success with growing gandules/pigeon peas in Pennsylvania so I decided to attempt growing them in North Carolina just east of Raleigh.

First year .. beautiful plants about 4 feet in height but no peas..

Second year.. started plants in doors .. transplanted after the first frost. The bushes reached a height of 4 feet but I only picked a few dozen pods.

Third year... Attained some seeds from a farm in Puerto Rico.. Started the seeds in-doors in October and transplanted twelve, 2-3 foot high plants after the first frost. It is now September and my trees have trunks that are 2 - 3 inches wide and have reached a height of nearly 14 feet or more. My problem is that it's September in North Carolina and my trees haven't bloomed to develop into seed pods!!

Obviously I planted a variety that grows more vigorously in a long tropical season but they are beautiful plants and I still have hope that they will survive an early frost and provide some peas to eat!! Is it possible to prune these trees back and cover them to survive a NC triangle winter?? Hoping that I may get a crop from this endeavor next season..

Any suggestions or advise would be greatly appreciated..

Zeke from Zebulon

Neutral htop On Feb 5, 2008, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this woody shrub to small tree. Pigeon pea, Puerto Rico Bean, Gandul, Dhal, Congo Pea (Cajanus cajan) is native to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Sri Lanka (Asia), Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda (Africa) and naturalized as well as cultivated throughout the tropics and subtropics. It has become naturalized in Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It is likely that pigeon pea originated in India and was transported to Africa a millennia ago where different strains arose. Then, in post-Columbian times, these were brought to the new world. Although it is a perennial, it is mainly grown as an annual as a food source.

Pigeon pea has a taproot that can grow to 2 meters in length and its root system is extensive. The trifoliate, alternate, pubescent leaves spiral around the stem with the oblong to lanceolate leaflets measuring 2 to10 cm long and 2 to 4 cm wide. They are green on the top surface and greyish-green on the undersides. Although the blooms are usually yellow, they sometimes have purple or red streaks. They may also be totally red. The acuminate, flat, pubescent seedpods are 5 to 9 cm long and 12 to13 mm wide. Each contain 2 to 9 round to oval seeds which vary in color from light beige to dark brown.

According to the Tropical Forages website:
Pigeon pea is "[p]rimarily grown as a grain crop for seed for human consumption (pulse, vegetable) with over 4 million hectares cultivated worldwide. The foliage may be cut and fed to livestock fresh or conserved. Stems are used for firewood. Foliage can be browsed but the branches are brittle and break as the animals pull the leaves. Can be used as a semi-permanent, perennial component in alley cropping systems. Grown as hedgerow for windbreaks, and as ground cover or shade cover for establishing plantation crops, e.g. coffee. Good nitrogen fixation makes it a useful green manure ; most of fixed N is transferred to the developing seed after flowering."


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Clearwater, Florida
Dunnellon, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida
Hollywood, Florida (2 reports)
Miami, Florida
Orlando, Florida (2 reports)
Port Charlotte, Florida
Thonotosassa, Florida
Zephyrhills, Florida
Zebulon, North Carolina
Austin, Texas

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