Pigeon PeaPigeon pea is an erect, short-lived perennial leguminous shrub that usually grows to a height of about 1-2 m, but can reach up to 2-5 m high. It quickly develops a deep (2 m depth) poisonous taproot. The stems are woody at the base, angular and branching. The leaves are alternate and trifoliate. Flowers are pinkish-purple, in pendulous racemes of 30-50 flowers. Pods are cylindrical, containing 1 to 6 round, dark brown seeds.
Seeds are smooth, hard, and glossy. Pigeon pea is a drought-resistant crop that can flourish in dry conditions where other crops do not grow well. It can survive long periods of drought - up to one year if necessary - and only needs irrigation every six months.
Pigeon peas are mainly cultivated in tropical regions around the world, including the Caribbean, West Africa, South Asia, and South America. In these regions, the crop is grown primarily for human consumption.
Pigeon peas can be used in many different ways; they can be eaten when young and green or older and dried.
Pigeon peas are also good for the environment because it is short-lived perennial plant and does not require a lot of water to grow. The seeds have 23-25% protein, 36-38% carbohydrate, 10-11% fiber, 1.5-2.0 % fat and 3-5% ash.
The seeds provide the main ingredient for a porridge eaten in many regions, and also can be used to make tea. Because of its high protein content, it is sometimes fed to animals. The crushed seeds are often mixed into soil as a nitrogen fixer, improving fertility. Pigeon pea is a perennial that has many benefits, such as having high protein value and can improve soil quality.
Pigeon pea is one of the most drought-resistant crops in the world but can also withstand up to 100 cm of rain. It can grow in semi-arid conditions with an annual rainfall of 600-1200 mm and up to 4,000 m altitudes. Pigeon pea is well adapted to infertile, sandy soils with high salinity and acidity. The seeds are small (approximately 0.8 cm long). One seedpod contains four seeds.