Cowpea is traditionally grown in some regions of Europe. In Bulgaria cowpea is grown in a few regions near the boarders of Turkey and Greece. The cowpea seeds are still maintained on small areas by families and passed down through the generations. Cowpea is a drought tolerant crop, needs low inputs and can be grown under harsh environmental conditions. The only collection of cowpea (V. unguiculata L.) is maintained at the Institute of Plant Genetic Resources (IPGR). The origin of the collection is predominantly from abroad. In recent years, we collected local plant material to enrich the number of accessions with a local origin. Ten accessions originated from Svilengrad and Dimitrovgrad – these regions were evaluated by morphological, agro-biological characteristics and agronomic traits to select the best accessions with early maturity, yield per plant, pod and seed morphology. The characterization was done at the experimental field at the IPGR under dry conditions. Most of the accessions showed medium or late maturity with more than 75 days, only three accessions completed a maturation cycle for 72 days, as follows cat. No A4E0084, A4E0081 and A4E0007. The highest yield per plant was obtained by accessions with cat. No A8E0492 (32.6 g) and cat. No A4E0084 (29.8 g).
Keywords: collection, cowpea, characterization, local origin