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Botanical Description: Pigeon Pea

Botanical Description: Pigeon Pea

    Kiran Yadav

  (GBPUAT, Pantnagar)

Pegion pea belongs to family Leguminoseae. It is an erect shrub. The plant show considerable variations in height, ranging from 1-4 meters. In most of the types branching begins from the sixth to the tenth node, i.e. from 15-20 centimeters above the ground. The botanical description of main parts of pigeon pea plant is given below:

Root system

Root system of pigeon pea consists of a central tap root with numerous lateral and secondary branches. The length of the lateral roots differs with the variety; usually tall, upright varieties produce longer and more deeply penetrating roots, whereas spreading types produce shallower, more spreading and deeper roots.


Leaves are trifoliately compound; central leaflet longer than lateral ones. The leaflets are entire and densely silky on the lower surface. Stipules are small; lamina hairy with the under surface grayish due to dense hairs. The intensity of the green color of the leaves differs with the variety. The total length of the leaf, as also the size, shape and texture of leaflets also differ with the varieties.


The inflorescence is an axillary raceme often forming a terminal panicle. The size of inflorescence varies in different types. The flowers are distinctly papallionaceous. In the late maturing varieties, the flowers are usually grouped together at the ends of the branches, but in early maturing varieties, the flowers are produced at several points along the branches. Usually flowers open at a time on the same inflorescence, but the process of flowering continuous in each plant almost up to the time of harvest. The flowers are self pollinated, pollination takes place before the flowers open. Cross fertilization may also occur to some extent.


The fruit of pigeon pea is a pod. These vary in length, width and nature of markings. The length varies from 5 to 10 centimeter, width from 0.6 to 0.9 centimeter. The pods vary in color from green to dark brown. In some types, they are broad and pendant with their tips pointing downwards while in others they are quiet erect. The seed with in the pod may vary in number, but there are usually four to five in each pod in late maturing varieties and two to three in early maturing varieties.


Seeds are differing in great deal in size, shape and color. Seeds are round or lens shaped, the color of the seeds coat being dirty white to silver white, light brown to chestnut brown, dark mottled brown and pinkish black and the cotyledons yellow colored.

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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.