Of the numerous cowpeas grown in Kerala, Shubra and Bhagyalakshmi are two (of the many) released by the Kerala Agricultural University. Of these, Shubra was developed by the ‘Plant Breeding and Genetics’ researchers of Vellayani Agricultural College, while Bhagyalakshmi is the brainchild of Vellanikkara Horticulture College, produced by researchers of the Olericulture Department. While Shubra is a seed variety cowpea, Bhagyalakshmi is a high-yielding bush cowpea.
Shubra is neither bushy nor a climber. They are erect with bright green stems and dark green leaves. These vegetable plants usually have a moderate number of branches and grow to an average length of 80 cm. Shubra has white flowers and each plant produces about 14 pods per harvest. These deep green pods will grow to approximately 12 cm and will contain about 13 peas (per pod). The pods will be ready for harvest within 67 days. Shubra promises a yield of 988 kg per hectare.
Bhagyalakshmi is the progeny of a selection from the germplasm introductions of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria. It is highly resistant to anthracnose disease. The plants are dwarfish and bushy with very long pods. These light green pods grow to about 30 cm and weigh approximately 7 gm to 13 gm. Each plant produced an average of 70-90 pods. Bhagyalakshmi has recorded a yield of approximately 6.48 tonnes per hectare. The white flowers of these plants take about 41 days for initiation. Around 25 kg seeds are required to cover a hectare.