From Old World to New World

George Washington Carver minded his peas.

Black-eyed Pea
Vigna unguiculata unguiculata


Black-eyed peas are an ancient African crop that spread from central Africa. Around 1700, slaves brought it to America. By 1903 George Washington Carver, the famous African-American agricultural chemist, was promoting black-eyed peas as excellent food for man or beast and as a plant that enriched farm soil with nitrogen.


Present Use

Today black-eyed peas are grown primarily as animal food and a cover crop to improve soil fertility. For Southerners, however, the new year starts with a bowl of black-eyed peas for good luck. Nigerians make a strong fiber from the seedpod hulls.


From Old World to New World