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Pigeon Pea


Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp., syn. Cajanus indicus) is a member of the Fabaceae family and has many wild relatives. These include Cajanus scarabaeoid (L.) Thouars, C. sericeus (Benth. ex Baker) Maesen, C. acutifolius (F. Muell.) Maesen, C. Albicans (Wight & Arn.) Maesen, Rhynchosia aurea, R. bracteata Benth. ex Bak and Flemingia bracteata (Roxb.) Wight (van der Maesen 1985). The pigeon pea plant is an erect annual or short-lived perennial reaching a height of 1–3 m. Because the coarse bush is deeply rooted, it has wide adaptability and grows well in semi-arid areas. It has slender, pointed trifoliate leaves and yellow or yellow and red flowers. Pods are green and pointed with some reddish mottling. Several pods are produced in clusters on an upright stem. Pigeonpea is often cross-pollinated by bees (Megachile spp.). Cross-pollination ranges from 0–40% depending on genotype and insect pollinator populations (van der Maesen 1985). Consequently, precautions are needed during regeneration to preclude cross-pollination and preserve the genetic integrity of germplasm accessions.

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