Agronomic performance and genetic variability of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) Accessions

DOI: 10.18805/LR-450    | Article Id: LR-450 | Page : 757-762
Citation :- Agronomic performance and genetic variability of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) Accessions.Legume Research.2019.(42):757-762
D.K. Nkoana, Abe Shegro Gerrano and E.T. Gwata agerrano@arc.agric.za
Address : Agricultural Research Council Vegetable and Ornamental Plants, Private bag X 293, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa.
Submitted Date : 28-08-2018
Accepted Date : 6-05-2019


Cowpea is a drought tolerant food legume but yields are generally low in South Africa due to non-availability of improved varieties. The current study was undertaken to evaluate agronomic performance of cowpea germplasm and select the candidate accessions for breeding population and cultivation by small-scale farmers in South Africa. A randomized complete block design with three replications was used for the experiment. Data were collected on the agronomic traits including days to 50% maturity, days to 95% maturity, hundred seed weight, leaf area index, number of branches, number of internodes, number of seeds per plant, plant height, number of pods per plant, pod length, dry biomass weight per plant, grain yield per plant and grain yield per hectare. Highly significant differences were observed among the accessions for all traits. The grain yield per hectare was correlated positively and significantly with number of pods per plant and grain yield per plant showing a scope for simultaneous improvement of yield and yield related traits. Principal Component biplot revealed that accessions Acc2024, Acc5352, Acc2355, Acc4565, Glenda and L-cwp3 were the most genetically distinct accessions and can serve as potential candidate parental lines for hybridization to achieving transgressive segregation population in breeding programmes.


Farmers Heritability Principal components Vigna unguiculata.


  1. Aliyu, M.O. and Makinde, B.O. (2016). Phenotypic analysis of seed yield and yield components in cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.,) Walp]. Plant Breeding and Biotechnology, 4:252-261.
  2. Asiwe, J.A.N. (2009). Needs assessment of cowpea production practices, constraints and utilization in South Africa. African Journal of Biotechnology, 8(20):5383-5388.
  3. Anonymous. (1983). International biodiversity for plant genetic resources, Cowpea descriptors. International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, Rome, Italy.
  4. Asiwe, J.A.N. (2009). Needs assessment of cowpea production practices, constraints and utilization in South Africa. African Journal of Biotechnology, 8:5383-5388.
  5. Gerrano, A.S., Adebola, P.O., van Rensburg, W.S. and Laurie, S.M. (2015). Genetic variability in cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] gentypes. South African Journal of Plant and Soil, 32:165-174.
  6. Gerrano, A.S., van Rensburg, W.S. and Adebola, P.O. (2017). Preliminary evaluation of seed and germination traits in cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) genotypes. South African Journal of Plant and Soil, 34:399-402. 
  7. Gerrano, A.S., Jansen van Rensburg, W.S., Venter, S.L., Shargie, N.G., Amelework, B.A., Shimelis, H.A., and Labuschagne, M.T. (2019a). Selection of cowpea genotypes based on grain mineral and total protein content, Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B - Soil & Plant Science, 69:155-166. DOI: 10.1080/ 09064710.2018.1520290.
  8. Gerrano, A.S., Jansen van Rensburg, W.S., Kutu, F.R. (2019b). Agronomic evaluation and identificationof potential cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp] genotypes in South Africa, Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B. Soil and Plant Science, 69(4): 295-303, DOI: 10.1080/09064710.2018.1562564.
  9. Kamara, A.Y., Ewansiha, S.U., Ajeigbe, H.A., Okechukwu, R., Tefera, H., Boukar, O. and L.O. Omoigui. (2012). Improvements in grain and fodder yield of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) varieties developed in the Sudan savannas of Nigeria over the past four decades. Proceedings of the Fifth World Cowpea Conference, 171 - 188.
  10. Kamara, A.Y., Ewansiha, S., Ajeigbe, H., Omoigui, L., Tofa, A.I. and Karim, K.Y. (2017). Agronomic evaluation of cowpea cultivars developed for the West African Savannas. Legume Research, 40: 669-676.
  11. Molosiwa, O.O., Gwafila, C., Makore, J. and Chite, M.S. (2016). Phenotypic variation in cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] germplasm collection from Botswana. International Journal of Horticulture and Floriculture, 3: 168 - 178.
  12. Nwosu, D.J., Aladele, S., Adeosun, J.O., Nwadike, C. and Awa, E.N. (2013). Cross compatibility and F1 reproductive potential of cultivated cowpea varieties and a wild relative (subsp. unguiculata var. spontenea). Greener Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 3:391-395.
  13. Singh, B.B. (2005). Cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.]. Genetic Resources, Chromosome Engineering and Crop Improvement, 1:117-162.
  14. Timko, M.P. and Singh, B.B. (2008). Cowpea, a multifunctional legume. Genomics of Tropical Crop Plants. Springer, New York.
  15. Uguru, M.I. (1995). Heritable relationships and variability of yield and yield components in vegetable cowpea. African Journal of Crop Science, 3:23-28.

Global Footprints