Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Vigna subterranea

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Vigna subterranea

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Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Vigna subterranea

Vigna subterranea (also known by its common names Bambara groundnut, Bambara-bean,[2] Congo goober,[2] earth pea,[3] ground-bean,[2] or hog-peanut[2]) is a member of the family Fabaceae. The plant originated in West Africa. Vigna subterranea ripens its pods underground, much like the peanut (also called a groundnut). They can be eaten fresh or boiled after drying.

Names in other languages[edit]

The name for the Bambara groundnut in the Bambara language (Bamanankan) is 'tiganingɛlɛn or tiganinkurun, literally "little hard peanut" (peanut is tiga). Bambara groundnuts are also known as jugo beans or in Swahili, njugumawe. In the Republic of Zambia, bambara groundnuts are known as either ntoyo (ciBemba),katoyo (kiKaonde), or mbwiila (chiTonga). In Shangaan they are known as tindluwa. In Malagasy, the language of Madagascar, they are known as voanjobory, which translates to "round peanut." In Hausa language it is variously referred to as "Gurjiya" or "Kwaruru". In Goemai language of Plateau State of Northern Nigeria it is known as "Kwam", and Kanuri people refer to it as "Ngangala". In Indonesia it is called "kacang bogor", which literally means "Bogor peanut", because this plant is widely cultured in Bogor, West Java. It is called "kacang poi" in Malay language, not to be confused with "kacang pool" which serves as one of popular dishes in the southern region of Malaysia. In the Shona language of Zimbabwe it is known as "Nyimo", and "indlubu" in the ndebele language. In the Ibo language in eastern Nigeria, it is commonly known as "Okpa"., it is commonly known as "Epa-kuta", and in the Gha Language, spoken by the people in Greater Accra, Ghana, the Bambara Bean is called "Akwei". In Silozi, they are called 'Lituu.'

Agronomic aspects[edit]

Freshly harvested Bambara nuts
Bambara plants in the field
Vigna subterranea - MHNT

Origin and regions of cultivation[edit]

The origin of the Bambara groundnut is West Africa[4] and the region of cultivation is Sub-Saharan Africa's warm tropics.[5]

Importance in the world food system[edit]

Bambara groundnut represents the third[6] most important grain legume in semi-arid Africa. “It is resistant to high temperature and is suitable for marginal soils where other leguminous crops cannot be grown”.[7] In addition, it makes very little demand on the soil[8] and has a high nutritive value with 65% carbohydrate[9] and 18% protein[9] content. For these reasons it is not prone to the risk of total harvest failure even in low and uncertain rainfall regions. "Due to its high protein value it is a very important crop for poorer people in Africa who cannot afford expensive animal protein."[8] Despite its nutritional value, it is still considered as one of the prioritized neglected and underutilized species in Benin.[10]

Product use[edit]

The seeds are used for food and beverage because of its high protein content[11] and for digestive system applications.[11] The entire plant is known for soil improvement[11] because of nitrogen fixation. In West Africa, the nuts are eaten as a snack, roasted and salted, or as a meal, boiled similar to other beans.

Soil requirements[edit]

Optimal soils for Bambara groundnut production are sandy soils to prevent waterlogging. Optimal soil depth is between 50 and 100 cm,[11] with a light soil texture.[11] soil fertility should be low[11] and soil pH is best suited between 5 and 6.5[11] and should not be lower than 4.3[11] or higher than 7.[11]

Climate requirements[edit]

The production is best suited between a latitude of 20° - 30°,[11] i.e. the tropical wet and dry (Aw)[11] and the subtropical dry summer (Cs)[11] climate zones. Optimal temperature is between 19°C[11] and 30°C.[11] Temperatures below 16°C[11] and above 38°C[11] are not suited for the production of bambara groundnut. The bambara groundnut is very drought resistant.[5] The minimal annual rainfall requirement is about 300 mm[11] and optimal annual rainfall is between 750 mm[11] and 1400 mm[11] and should not exceed 3000 mm.[11]

Cropping system[edit]

The cropping system is semi-permanent[11] and the Bambara groundnut can be cultivated as single crop or as intercrop.[11] Best suited intercrops are sorghum,[11] millet,[11] maize,[11] groundnut,[11] yams[11] and cassava.[11]

Bambara groundnut is mainly cultivated as intercrop, however the planting density varies between 6 to 29 plants per square meter.[12] For woodland savannas of Côte d'Ivoire the highest yield is attainable with a plant density of 25[13] plants per square meter.


Since Vigna subterranea is usually intercropped, no fertilizer is applied. A yield of 1000 kg seed and 925 kg leaves remove 55.7 kg N,[14] 26.2 kg K,[14] 25.1 kg C,[14] 7.8 kg P[14] and 6.6 kg Mg.[14] Since Bambara groundnut is a legume, phosphor is the most important nutrient. An application rate of 60 kg/ha[15] of P2O5 is recommended for bambara groundnut in Yola, Adamawa State Nigeria.


World production of Vigna subterranea increased from 29'800 tonnes[16] in 1972 to 79'155 tonnes[16] in 2005, while the yield during this period did not increase. "As an under-utilised crop, bemmbara groundnut has not received sustained research"[17] until recent years and therefore no yield increase occurred.

Production Year 2013 (Source FAOSTAT)[16]Area Harvested (Ha)Yield (kg/ha)Production (tonnes)
 Burkina Faso55,0008,90949,000
 Democratic Republic of the Congo4,82875014,000

Pest and diseases[edit]

Pest and diseases are not considered to be a serious problem for Vigna subterranea.[14]

Reported diseases:[14]

  • Leaf spot (Cerscospora canescens & Phyllosticta voandzeia)
  • Powdery mildew (Erysiphe sp.)
  • Wilt (Fusarium sp.)
  • Leaf blotch (Phomopsis sp.)
  • Stem rot (Scleorotium rolfsii)

Reported pests:[14]

  • Aphids (Aphis sp.)
  • Bruchids (Callosobruchus sp.)
  • Leaf hoppers (Hilda patruelis)
  • Termites
  • Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne javanica)
  • Rodents
  • Parasitic plants (Alectra vogelii and Striga gesnerioides)



The growth cycle is between (min-max) 90–170 days[11] and under optimal conditions the cycle is about 120–150 days[5] to pod maturity. Flowers appear 40–60 days[5] after planting. 30 days[5] after pollination the pod reaches maturity and during another 55 days[5] the seeds fully develop. Every 30 days they are produced again.

Generative reproduction[edit]

Generative reproduction is for the Bambara groundnut autogamous[5] (self-fertilization) and cleistogamous[5] (self-pollinating).


  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". 
  2. ^ a b c d "USDA GRIN Taxonomy". 
  3. ^ "Definition And Classification Of Commodities (Draft): 4. Pulses And Derived Products". Food and Agriculture Organization. 1994. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Hepper, FN (1963). "Plants of the 1957-58 West Africa Expedition II: The bambara groundnut (Voandzeia subterranea) and Kersting’s groundnut (Kerstingiella geocarpa) wild in West Africa". Kew Bulletin 16 (3): 395–407. JSTOR 4114681. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Nichterlein, Karin. "Vigna subterranea". Ecoport. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Ocran, V. K, (1998). Seed Management Manual for Ghana. Accra Ghana: MOFA. 
  7. ^ Yamaguchi, M (1983). World Vegetables. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. 
  8. ^ a b Baryeh, E.A. (2001). "Physical properties of bambara groundnuts". Journal of food engineering 47: 321–326. doi:10.1016/s0260-8774(00)00136-9. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Doku, E.V. (1995). Proceedings of the Workshop on Conservation and Improvement of Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranean (L.). Harare Zimbabwe: University of Ghana. 
  10. ^ Dansi, A.; R. Vodouhe; P. Azokpota et al. (19 April 2012). "Diversity of the Neglected and Underutilized Crop Species of Importance in Benin". The Scientific World Journal 2012: 932947. doi:10.1100/2012/932947. PMC 3349165. PMID 22593712. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac "Data sheet Vigna subterranea". Ecocrop. FAO. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  12. ^ Rassel, A (1960). "Voandzou, Voandzeia subterranea Thouars, and its cultivation in Kwango". Bull. agric. Congo belge 51: 1–26. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  13. ^ Kouassi, N’. J; I. A. Zoro Bi (2010). "Effect Of Sowing Density And Seedbed Type On Yield And Yield Components In Bambara Groundnut (Vigna subterranea) In Woodland Savannas Of Cote D’ivoire". Experimental Agriculture 46: 99–110. doi:10.1017/S0014479709990494. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h Mkandawire, Ceasar H (2007). "Review of Bambara Groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.) Production in Sub-Sahara Africa". Agricultural Journal 2 (4): 464–470. doi:10.3923/aj.2007.464.470. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  15. ^ Toungos, M.D.; A.A. Sajo and D.T. Gungula (2009). "Recommended Fertilizer Levels on Bambara Groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L) Verde) in Yola Adamawa State, Nigeria". Agricultural Journal 4 (1): 14–21. doi:10.3923/aj.2009.14.21. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  16. ^ a b c "FAOSTAT". FAO. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  17. ^ Massawe, F.J.; S.S. Mwale, S.N. Azam-Ali and J.A. Roberts (2005). "Breeding in Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.): strategic considerations". African Journal of Biotechnology 4 (6): 463–471. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
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