Cowpea, (Vigna unguiculata), also called black-eyed pea or southern pea, annual plant within the pea family (Fabaceae). It is mostly used as food, feed, forage, fodder, green manuring and vegetable. The crop is mainly grown for its seeds, which are high in proteins, minerals and vitamins. Cowpea is warm weather and semi arid crop; it can grow under shade of tree but cannot tolerate cold or frost. Well drained loam or slightly heavy soils are best suited.