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A picture of a Pigeonpea


Cajanus cajun

Also known as

Congo Pea, Red Gram, Yellow Dahl

Full Sun
Easy care
Light watering


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

Pigeonpea Overview

Pigeon pea is one of the most common tropical and subtropical legumes cultivated for its edible seeds. Pigeon pea is fast growing, hardy, widely adaptable, and drought resistant. Because of its drought resistance it can be considered of utmost importance for food security in areas where rainfall is not reliable and droughts are likely to occur. At the end of the dry season, pigeon pea provides green forage of outstanding value when other forages are not available. Considered a superfood for soil, as it improves soil fertility by adding atmospheric nitrogen. A good choice for a permaculture garden (a sustainable, organic garden).

Common problems with Pigeonpea

Alternaria blight (fungus) - Small irregular brown lesions on leaves. Apply fungicide to control spread. Aphids - insecticides are generally only required to treat aphids if the infestation is very high, plants generally tolerate a medium level of infestation. Fusarium wilt especially on wet soils.

Pigeonpea Companion Plants

As a legume most plants will benefit from growing alongside the Pigeon pea.

How to harvest Pigeonpea

Harvest flowers between 90-430 days after planting. Harvest young pods for eating pigeon peas fresh, but let them mature for dried peas.

How to propagate Pigeonpea


Soaking seeds overnight improves germination. Sow in spring; spacing 35 cm apart at a depth of 2.5–10 cm. Germination takes 2–3 weeks.

Special features of Pigeonpea

Attracts useful insects

Bees actively feed on pigeon pea and produce a honey with a distinctive colour (greenish) in the comb.

Hedge plant

Makes a good windbreak.

Drought resistant

Can go for extended periods without water.

Other uses of Pigeonpea


Pigeon pea is most commonly used in 'dhal' in Asian cuisine. Contains high levels of protein and Vitamin B. nutty and grain-like. The stems, fruits and tubers are edible.

Animal feed

Leaves, pods, seeds and the residues of seed processing are used to feed all kinds of livestock.

Green manure

Pigeon peas are in some areas an important crop for green manure, providing up to 90 kg nitrogen per hectare.

Edible trees

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