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Cow Pea, Cowpea, Southern Pea 'Little Red Peanut Peas'

Vigna unguiculata

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Vigna (VIG-nuh) (Info)
Species: unguiculata (un-gwee-kew-LAH-tuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Little Red Peanut Peas
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10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Seed Type:

Open Pollinated

Growth Habit:


Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Unknown - Tell us

Days to Maturity:

81 to 90 days

91 to 100 days

Bloom Color:


Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

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

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Corryton, Tennessee

Spicewood, Texas

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 29, 2002, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

These are wonderful plants! They grow densely so do make a great screen or annual grondcover. The yield may not be as much as other peas, but I think the beauty of the plants more than makes up for it.

They self-seed here in my zone 8b Texas garden. All the pictures I uploaded here are of plants that grew from dropped seed from last year's plants that also grew from dropped seed. Also, I didn't water these regularly ~ maybe every other week. We did get a lot of unseasonal rain up until and through the first week of July, but nothing since ~ it's now August 29, 2002. Temps have been in the high 90s daytime and 70s at night.

The information in the second paragraph in the above comment is exactly what I got from the SSE member when I obtained the seeds fi... read more


On Jul 11, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

The seeds were given to me by Wingnut, who obtained them from a SSE member. The packet says: "Prolific vines and pretty 1" lavender-purple blooms here and there. The 7" pods hold 15-20 small red peas (they look a lot like Texas Fair brand canned field peas from HEB, though don't know if they taste the same.) They don't climb well on their own - tie them on a fence and they'll fill in quickly. give them lots of room."

The SSE member passed along this information with the seeds: "Not sure if this is a cowpea...immature pods have a pleasant slightly jasmine flavor, more mature pods tend to be tough, prolific grower, shared with me by a gardener named Brunner from Brooksville, FL, on whose property they had been growing for over 50 years."

Planted in late Ju... read more