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Vigna is a genus of flowering plants in the legume family, Fabaceae, with a pantropical distribution.[1] It includes some well-known cultivated species, including many types of beans. Some are former members of the genus Phaseolus. According to Hortus Third, Vigna differs from Phaseolus in biochemistry and pollen structure, and in details of the style and stipules.

Vigna unguiculata Blanco2.286-cropped.jpg
cowpea (Vigna unguiculata)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Phaseoleae
Subtribe: Phaseolinae
Genus: Vigna
  • Ceratotropis
  • Haydonia
  • Lasiospron
  • Plectrotropis
  • Vigna
  • Azukia Takah. ex Ohwi
  • Condylostylis Piper
  • Dolichovigna Hayata
  • Haydonia R. Wilczek
  • Liebrechtsia De Wild.
  • Plectrotropis Schumach.
  • Scytalis E. Mey.
  • Voandzeia Thouars

Vigna is also commonly confused with the genus Dolichos, but the two differ in stigma structure.[2]

Vigna are herbs or occasionally subshrubs. The leaves are pinnate, divided into 3 leaflets. The inflorescence is a raceme of yellow, blue, or purple pea flowers. The fruit is a legume pod of varying shape containing seeds.[3]

Familiar food species include the adzuki bean (V. angularis), the black gram (V. mungo), the cowpea (V. unguiculata, including the variety known as the black-eyed pea), and the mung bean (V. radiata). Each of these may be used as a whole bean, a bean paste, or as bean sprouts.

The genus is named after Domenico Vigna, a seventeenth-century Italian botanist and director of the Orto botanico di Pisa.[4]


Root tubers of Vigna species have traditionally been used as food for Aborigines of the Northern Territory.[5]

Selected speciesEdit

The genus Vigna contains at least 90 species,[1][3][6] including:

Subgenus CeratotropisEdit

Subgenus HaydoniaEdit

Subgenus LasiospronEdit

Subgenus VignaEdit

Incertae SedisEdit


  1. ^ a b Aitawade, M. M., et al. (2012). Section Ceratotropis of subgenus Ceratotropis of Vigna (Leguminosae–Papilionoideae) in India with a new species from northern Western Ghats. Archived December 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Rheedea 22(1), 20-27.
  2. ^ Charles Vancouver Piper (1912). Agricultural Varieties of the Cowpea and Immediately Related Species. Bulletin (United States. Bureau of Plant Industry). U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 7.
  3. ^ a b Vigna. Flora of China.
  4. ^ Charters, M. Plant Names T-Z. The Eponym Dictionary of Southern African Plants.
  5. ^ NTFlora Northern Territory Flora online: Flora of the Darwin Region: Fabaceae. Retrieved 10 June 2018
  6. ^ Delgado-Salinas A, Thulin M, Pasquet R, Weeden N, Lavin M (2011). "Vigna (Leguminosae) sensu lato: the names and identities of the American segregate genera". Am J Bot. 98 (10): 1694–715. doi:10.3732/ajb.1100069. PMID 21980163.

External linksEdit