The pigeon pea is thought to have originated in India, where it is still widely grown as a food crop. It is also used extensively as a cover crop, green manure, inter crop etc. in many sustainable farming systems in the tropics and subtropics, and in many home gardens in warm climates.
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The plant is a short lived perennial shrub. It grows to two to four metres and lives for about five years. The flowers are yellow or yellow and red. The leaves consist of three leaflets and are a dark green above and silvery underneath.