Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.


Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.




Cytisus cajan L., Cytisus indicus Spreng.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Kacang, kacang dal, kacang hiris.
English Pigeon pea.
Indonesia Kacang Bali, kacang gude, kacang kayu.
Philippines Tabios, kardis, kidis.
Cambodia Sândaèk dai, sândaèk kroëb sâ, sândaèk klöng.
Laos Thwàx h'ê.
Thailand Thua rae, thua maetaai, ma hae.
Vietnam Cay dau chieu, dau sang, dau thong.
French Pois d'Angole, ambrévade.

Geographical Distributions

Cajanus cajan originated in India and spread to Southeast Asia in the early centuries of our era. It reached Africa in 2000 BC or earlier, and found its way to the America with the conquests and slave trade, probably through both the Atlantic and the Pacific. It is now grown all over the tropics and especially in the Indian Subcontinent and East Africa.


Cajanus cajan is a glandular-pubescent, short-lived perennial (1-5 years) shrub, usually grown as an annual that can reach up to 0.5-4 m high and with the thin roots measure up to 2 m deep.

The stems measure up to 15 cm in diametre. The branches are slender.

The leaves are arranged alternately, trifoliolate and with dotted glandular. The leaflets are elliptical and measuring 3-13.7 cm x 1.3-5.7 cm.

The flowers are in pseudoracemes, sometimes concentrated and synchronous (determinate), usually scattered and flowering over a long period (indeterminate). The petal is yellow or cream, dorsally red and orange or purple.

The fruit is a straight or sickle-shaped pod with (2-)4-9 spherical to ellipsoid or squarish seeds. The seeds are white, cream, brown, purplish to almost black and plain or mottled. The strophiole is usually virtually absent. The seedlings are hypogeal germination where the first leaves are simple.

Ecology / Cultivation

Flowering is triggered by short days and the plants grow vegetatively with long days, as in the rainy season of India. There are a few truly day-neutral forms. The optimum temperatures range from 18°C to 38°C and frost is not tolerated. Above 29°C, soil moisture and fertility need to be adequate. The rainfall optimum is 600-1000 mm/year and the waterlogging is harmful. C. cajan is rarely found above 2000 m altitude and the drained soils of reasonable water-holding capacity with pH 5-7 or more are favourable. The plant tolerates an electrical conductivity (salinity) from 0.6 to 1.2 S/m.

Line Drawing / Photograph


Read More

  1) Safety


  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 1: Pulses.