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The name "cowpea" was probably coined for their use as a fodder crop for cows, and while grown for their edible bean, the leaves and pods can also be consumed. Black-eyed peas can be harvested as a snap bean, or dried, and are the main ingredient in Hoppin' John, a traditional Southern dish ritually served on New Year's Day.

Latin Name

Vigna unguiculata



Also Known As

Black-eyed pea Southern pea Yardlong bean Catjang Crowder pea

Type of Plant

Vegetables Vegetables
Annuals Annuals
Crops Crops

Bloom Season

July - August


Summer Summer


Max height Max Height: 2.5'
Max spread Max Spread: 4'


  • Edible
  • Crop
  • Vegetable

  • Sunlight Exposure

    Full Sun Full Sun

    Native Range

    Western and eastern Africa


    In Washington's May 6, 1786 diary entry, he writes "Found that all the large (Indian) Peas I had, had been sown with the drill plow yesterday, at Dogue run"..." only compleated 8 rows—after which, they proceeded to sow the small black eyed pea & finished with them."

    Other Details

    Pollinator Pollinator
    Grown by Washington Grown by Washington
    Sold at Mount Vernon Sold at Mount Vernon

    Planted at Mount Vernon

    Planted at Mount Vernon Slave Cabin Garden Fruit Garden & Nursery Pioneer Farm

  • Slave Cabin Garden
  • Fruit Garden & Nursery
  • Pioneer Farm

  • Hardiness Zones

    USDA basemap

    Average annual extreme minimum temperature 1976-2005

    map legend

    Bartlett Tree Expert Company has been working with Mount Vernon Estate since 2011 providing expert arboricultural care and GPS mapping for the estate’s historic trees, as well as support from their research facility.   Mount Vernon is proud to partner with Bartlett Tree Experts and appreciates their sponsorship of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Plant Finder App.

    Bring Washington's Garden Home

    Purchase our historic seeds, collected from plants grown at Mount Vernon and plant them in your own garden.

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