Ebony Cow Pea

Vigna unguiculata


  • Easy to establish
  • Improves soil fertility through nitrogen fixation
  • Suited to a range of soil types
  • Greater drought tolerance than other pulses



    Ebony is released in Australia as a grazing type of cowpea suited to subtropical coastal areas with high rainfall or in areas with irrigation. It has good tolerance to Phytophthora root disease and has been recommended for use in dairy farms or cane rotations.


    Species Origin

    West Africa but widely cultivated as a grain crop in tropical and subtropical areas between 35⁰N and 30⁰S.


    Plant Characteristics

    Growth habit is variable depending on cultivars. It can be used for dual purpose – for grain and for forage. It is an annual with herbaceous growth habit – from prostrate trailing plant to climbing vine. It has high seed yields and both seed and plant parts have high nutritive value and palatability. It is easy to establish and is known to improve soil fertility through nitrogen fixation. It is adaptable to a range of soil types and has greater drought tolerance than other pulses. Commonly used for grain for humans and forage for livestock.


    Seed Characteristics

    Seeds are variable in size and shape – square to oblong shapes with 5,000 – 12,000 seeds/kg.


    Recommended Seeding Rate

    Commonly 10-40kg/ha, but higher seeding rate can be used under more favourable growing conditions.

    Tropical Legumes

    Unlike tropical grasses, Tropical legumes are often more digestible, have higher protein & energy. Whilst monocultures of tropical legumes can be grown, often they are used in conjunction with tropical grasses to improve the overall quality of tropical pasture systems.