Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cow Pea, Cowpea, Southern Pea
Vigna unguiculata 'Blackeye'

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Vigna (VIG-nuh) (Info)
Species: unguiculata (un-gwee-kew-LAH-tuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Blackeye

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18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

Seed Type:
Open Pollinated

Growth Habit:

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Days to Maturity:
61 to 70 days

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

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

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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to view:

By Farmerdill
Thumbnail #1 of Vigna unguiculata by Farmerdill

By Farmerdill
Thumbnail #2 of Vigna unguiculata by Farmerdill

By Farmerdill
Thumbnail #3 of Vigna unguiculata by Farmerdill


3 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive EdlinUser On Jan 10, 2007, EdlinUser from Fayetteville, AR wrote:

Amazingly drought resistant.

During last years very dry weather in the Ozarks I abandoned a part of my veggie garden in early July. Most of the plants were dead in 2 weeks. The blackeye peas stopped growing but remained green. When the rains returned in August the blackeye peas resumed growing and had a fine crop of wonderful peas.

Positive melody On Apr 19, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Almost unstoppable in this area. Few pests and diseases bother cowpeas. The South would have starved without them...and that means man and beast.

Blackeye peas are eaten on Jan. 1 as a traditional food along with cabbage.

The cabbage signifies green for prosperity and the peas are for luck.

Positive Farmerdill On Oct 27, 2003, Farmerdill from Augusta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

The blackeye pea is the standard among cowpeas. No southerner would be caught without a mess for New Years dinner. It is suppose to bring luck. The fact that they taste good and will produce under all types of conditions probably helps. There are several cultivars in this group. I currently grow California #5 which is slightly larger than the Ramshorn which I grew for years. Flavor is the same.


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

Fayetteville, Arkansas
Sebring, Florida
Augusta, Georgia (2 reports)
Benton, Kentucky
Austin, Texas
Radford, Virginia (2 reports)

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