The cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) is an annual herbaceous legume from the genusVigna. Due to its tolerance for sandy soil and low rainfall, it is an important crop in the semiarid regions across Africa and Asia. Black-eyed peas (Vigna unguiculata) are a variety of the cowpea and are part of the family of beans & peas Although called a pea, it is actually a bean. Both peas and beans are legumes, and both have edible seeds and pods. Vining varieties are very vigorous and drought resistant, but they should be given extra room, or trellised, or planted so they can climb stalks of dent corn. Southern peas have cultural requirements similar to beans. They need warmer soil, so wait until 3-4 weeks after the last frost to plant. Cowpeas is a protein-rich bean crop that leaves nitrogen in the soil and therefore has a beneficial effect on the follow-up crop. Cowpeas can be planted as an intercrop or in rotation and can tolerate drought. Uses for cowpeas: The leaves and growth points can be picked and used as a vegetable dish.