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Vigna subterranea

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds present no inherent problems in storage or germination. However, if they have not been properly dried and stored under optimal conditions, storage life and viability will be reduced.

Vigna subterranea (Image: S. Wood, RBG Kew)

Seed Storage

This species has Orthodox seeds - dry to 15-20% eRH and store at -20ºC, or as cool as possible.

Germination Requirements

Germinate on agar, germination paper or sand at constant temperatures of 25 or 30ºC, or using an alternating temperature regime of 30/20ºC.

Seed Morphology

After fertilisation, the tip of the peduncle bends towards soil and excavates a tunnel, drawing in the developing pods. The pods continue to develop underground.

The fruits (2 cm) are rounded, usually 1-seeded but occasionally 2-seeded. The seeds (1.5 cm) are round, smooth and hard, varying in size. The hilum is white, surrounded by a black eye. The fruits become wrinkled at maturity.

See more images of this species at the Digital Atlas of Economic Plants.

Vigna subterranea
(Image: S. Wood, RBG Kew)



Accepted name: Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.

Synonyms: Voandzeia subterranea (L.) Thou.

Common name: bambara groundnut

References and Links

  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (1994). Genebank Standards. FAO/IPGRI, Rome, Italy.
  • International Seed Testing Association (2010). International Rules for Seed Testing: edition 2010. ISTA, Bassersdorf, Switzerland.
  • Purseglove, J.W. (1968). Tropical Crops: dicotyledons. Longman Group Ltd., UK.
  • AFPD (African Flowering Plants Database) - Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Switzerland, and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, RSA: Vigna subterranea.
  • PROTAbase (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa) - Wageningen, Netherlands: Vigna subterranea.
  • SID (Seed Information Database) - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK: Vigna subterranea.
  • Tropicos - Missouri Botanical Garden, USA: Vigna subterranea.