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Green Dixie—First Green Blackeye Pea

By Hank Becker
August 10, 2000

Scientists at the Agricultural Research Service have released a new pea variety that is the first green blackeye-type southernpea.

Green Dixie Blackeye produces excellent yields of peas that can be harvested dry and still retain their fresh green color.

ARS geneticist Richard L. Fery and colleagues at the U.S. Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, S.C., developed Green Dixie Blackeye. It can be eaten fresh, frozen by home gardeners, or dried for storage and sale by the food industry.

Seed of Green Dixie Blackeye has been offered to over 240 commercial seed growers and food-processing companies so they can increase supplies. The new variety should be available to growers for the spring 2002 growing season.

The scientists developed Green Dixie Blackeye over a 10-year period by crossbreeding Bettergreen, a large cream-type green pea, and Bettergro Blackeye, a high-yielding popular blackeye-type pea. In 3 years of trials, Green Dixie Blackeye out-yielded top-producing Arkansas Blackeye #1 in 15 of 30 tests.

When harvested as dry peas and stored, Green Dixie Blackeyes make an attractive dry pack. Dry peas can be restored to their fresh-harvest seed size and green color by soaking them in water for 1 hour and then blanching them in boiling water for 3 minutes. Similarly treated, Bettergro Blackeye peas are a cream color.

Green Dixie Blackeye produces dry pods in about 71 days. Each pod produces about 14 peas. The dry peas resemble Bettergro Blackeye but are somewhat larger. Like Bettergro, Green Dixie Blackeyes have small, black eyes.

Breeder's seed will be maintained by ARS' U.S. Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston. Genetic material for developing new cultivars is available through the National Plant Germplasm System maintained by ARS, the chief scientific agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Scientific contact: Richard L. Fery, ARS U.S. Vegetable Laboratory, Charleston, S.C., phone (843) 556-0840, fax (843) 763-7013,