Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp. ssp. ungui-culata) is grown throughout the tropics and sub-tropics. It is an important crop in Africa, its probable center of origin, but is also grown in Brazil, India, Southeast Asia, and the United States. There are three major subspecies of V. unguiculata; in addition to ssp. unguiculata, there is appreciable production of ssp. cylindrica (common names: catjang cowpea and Bombay cowpea) and ssp. sesquipedalis (common names: yardlong bean and asparagus bean), especially in Asia. All types are harvested as vegetables (shoots, leaves, and immature pods) or as dry, mature seeds.
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