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New Southernpea Released by ARS

By Jennifer Arnold
November 30, 2001

The Agricultural Research Service has released its 15th new southernpea variety, DoubleGreen Delight. It was developed by ARS geneticist Richard L. Fery of the U.S. Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, S.C. Industry can sell the new pea frozen or dried, and home gardeners can harvest it fresh.

Southernpeas are also called black-eyed peas, crowders, field peas, cowpeas or just peas.

DoubleGreen Delight evolved over an 11-year period. Scientists used a pedigree breeding procedure that included a single cross and repeated single-plant selections. The original cross involved two cream-type peas, Bettergreen and Freezegreen.

Bettergreen requires growers to harvest the crop immediately after pod drying to ensure a high-color product. But an advantage of DoubleGreen Delight is that it gives growers a considerably greater harvest window. DoubleGreen Delight produces dry pods in about 71 days, usually two to three days later than Bettergreen. Each pod produces about 16 peas.

DoubleGreen Delight’s pod color is light green when immature, green with a heavy purple shading and purple top vein when ready for mature-green harvest, and a dark straw color when dry.

Breeders’ seed will be maintained at ARS’ U.S. Vegetable Laboratory.

Genetic material for developing new cultivars is available through the National Plant Germplasm System maintained by ARS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific agency.