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Plant Information

Scientific Name: Vigna vexillata var. vexillate
Alternative Names: wild cowpea (Eng.), wilde-akkerboontjie, wilde-ertjie (Afr.), mgcenga (siSwati), isikhwali, ubombo, umcwasibe, umnxwasibe (isiZulu)

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  • Perennial
  • Narrow-leaved Wild Sweetpea is indigenous to Africa and is found in Limpopo, North-West, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Eastern Cape Province.
  • It is a hardy, deciduous creeping or climbing herb, with beautiful and pleasantly scented, whitish to mauve or dark pink pea-like flowers in spring until summer.
  • The trailing stems are not very vigorous, and it will work well even in a small garden.
  • In Africa, V. vexillata is cultivated mainly for its nutritious seeds although the roots are also consumed.
  • By the time the fruits ripen, the roots are also ready for harvesting.
  • It produces several tubers on thread-like roots - these can lay quite deeply in the soil.
  • Narrow-leaved Wild Sweetpea can be grown in full sun.
  • Scarify the seeds before planting - they will take about 10 days to germinate.

Culinary Uses

  • The tubers have a soft, easily peeled skin and creamy, tasty flesh that can be boiled or roasted like sweet potato or cassava.
  • It has high protein (15%) - making it highly nutritious.
  • The young leaves, young pods, and seeds are cooked and eaten as a vegetable.
  • They are cut into small pieces and cooked with salt and chilli, and garnished with mustard seeds, curry leaves and onions in oil.

Parts Used

  • The leaves, seeds, pods and roots.

Other Uses

  • Narrow-leaved Wild Sweetpea is also grown as a green manure and ground cover crop, especially in poor soils and for erosion-control.
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff
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