Vigna lutea

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Hairypod Cowpea


Plant Specifics

Size:Scrambling vine.  Stems 6-10 ft or longer and can make mounds up to about 6 ft tall.
Life Span:Annual to short-lived perennial
Flower Color:Yellow
Fruit Color:Brown legume
Phenology:Annual to perennial. Can bloom year round. More likely to fruit in fall.
Noted for:Showy flowers


Recommended Uses:Naturalistic areas especially near the coast.  
Considerations:Tends to be weedy in behavior and appearance.
Availability:Native nurseries, FNPS plant sales, Seed
Light: Full Sun
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Somewhat moist, no flooding ----- to ----- Somewhat long very dry periods)
Moisture Tolerance: Somewhat moist, no flooding ----- to ----- Somewhat long very dry periods
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Some tolerance to salty wind but not direct salt spray.
Soil or other substrate:Humus (organic, upland), Lime rock, Sand
Soil pH:



Likely used as forage by species such as deer. 

Good cover.


Larval host for cassius blue (Leptotes cassius), dorantes longtail (Urbanus dorantes), gray hairstreak (Strymon melinus), and long-tailed skipper (Urbanus proteus) butterflies. 

Nectar source for gray hairstreak.

Attracts bees which are documented pollinators of the genus.

Native Habitats:Coastal areas, flatwoods, disturbed areas.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
10A 10B 11 8B 9A 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


Ethnobotany:The flowers and seeds are edibe.  This is botanicallly a bean kin to mung beans and black-eyed peas (also botanically a bean). The flowers can be eaten raw or cooked and apparently taste much like green beans.  The seeds and seed pods The seeds may be boiled and eaten.  Very young whole seedpods are eaten raw as a trailside nibble, although they tend to get stringy when they approach two inches long (Florida Foraging).  Can also be grown for forage and for soil enrichment.
General Comments:Range includes areas usually relatively near the coast in Southeastern United States west to Texas, north to North Carolina, and south to the Monroe County Keys; and Mexico,  the Neotropics and Bermuda. Rare in the northern parts of its range and in the Florida keys.