Why Bambara groundnut?
Bambara groundnut [Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc] is a grain legume grown mainly by subsistence farmers in semi-arid West Africa, where it is the third most important grain legume. It tolerates high temperatures and drought, fixes nitrogen and grows well on poor soils. It is cultivated for its subterranean pods, is extremely hardy and produces reasonable yields even under conditions of drought and low soil fertility. The pods are approximately 1.5 cm long, and may be wrinkled and slightly oval or round, containing one to two seeds. The color of the seeds varies from black, dark-brown, red, white, cream or a combination of these colours. At harvest, i.e. when the pods ripen, the plant is extracted from the soil, exposing the subterranean nuts.
17 samples of Vigna subterranea var. spontanea, the wild relative of Bambara groundnut, were collected in Nigeria. This species had previously been missing from genebanks.
- National Centre for Genetic Resources, Ibadan, Nigeria