Regeneration guidelines for pigeonpea

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The information on this page was extracted from:
Upadhyaya H.D., Reddy K.N. and Sastry D.V.S.S.R. 2008. Regeneration guidelines: pigeon pea.
In: Dulloo M.E., Thormann I., Jorge M.A. and Hanson J., editors. Crop specific regeneration guidelines [CD-ROM]. CGIAR System-wide Genetic Resource Programme, Rome, Italy. 9 pp.

Before reading the regeneration details for this crop, read the general introduction that gives general guidelines to follow by clicking here.


Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp., syn. Cajanus indicus) is a member of the Fabaceae family and has many wild relatives. These include Cajanus scarabaeoides (L.) Thouars, C. sericeus (Benth. ex Baker) Maesen, C. acutifolius (F. Muell.) Maesen, C. albicans (Wight & Arn.) Maesen, Rhynchosia aurea, R. bracteata Benth. ex Bak and Flemingia bracteata (Roxb.) Wight (van der Maesen 1985). The pigeonpea plant is an erect annual or short-lived perennial reaching a height of 1–3 m. Because the coarse bush is deeply rooted, it has wide adaptability and grows well in semi-arid areas. It has slender, pointed trifoliate leaves and yellow or yellow and red flowers. Pods are green and pointed with some reddish mottling. Several pods are produced in clusters on an upright stem.
Pigeonpea is often cross-pollinated by bees (Megachile spp.). Cross-pollination ranges from 0–40% depending on genotype and insect pollinator populations (van der Maesen 1985). Consequently, precautions are needed during regeneration to preclude cross-pollination and preserve the genetic integrity of germplasm accessions.

Choice of environment and planting season

Pigeonpea growing in the field.
(photo: ICRISAT)

Climatic conditions

Planting season

Preparation for regeneration

Time to regenerate

Seed sample

Field selection and preparation

Method of regeneration

Pollination control

Planting layout, density and distance

Planting method


Crop management

Weed management




Common pests and diseases

Contact plant health experts to identify pests and diseases and appropriate control measures. Some of the major pests and diseases of pigeonpea are:

Pest and disease control


Post-harvest management

Regeneration of wild pigeonpea

Raising seedlings


All other procedures are the same as those for cultivated pigeonpea.

Monitoring accession identity

Compare for following traits in characterization data:

Documentation of information during regeneration

The following information should be collected during regeneration:

References and further reading

Bioversity International, ICRISAT, ICAR. 2010. Key access and utilization descriptors for pigeonpea genetic resources. Bioversity International, Rome, Italy; International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, India; Indian Council of Agricultural Research, India. Available here.

Gooding HJ. 1962. The agronomic aspects of pigeonpeas. Field Crops Abstracts 15:1–5.

Rao NK, Bramel PJ. 2000. Manual of genebank operations and procedures. Technical Manual no. 6. ICRISAT, Patancheru, India.

Reddy KN, Upadhyaya HD, Reddy LJ, Gowda CLL. 2006. Evaluation of pollination control methods for pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.) germplasm regeneration. International Chickpea and Pigeonpea Newsletter 13:35–38.

van der Maesen LJG. 1985. Cajanus DC and Atylosia W.& A. (Leguminosae). Agricultural University Wageningen Papers 85-4, 1985. Agricultural University, Wageningen, the Netherlands. 225 pp.

Whiteman PC, Byth DE, Wallis ES. 1985. Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.). In: Summerfield RJ, Roberts EH, editors. Grain Legume Crops. Collins Professional and Technical Books, London, UK. pp. 685–698.


These guidelines have been peer reviewed by Kameswara Rao, International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), Dubai, UAE.

The Genebanks

The 11 CGIAR genebanks currently conserve 730,000 of cereals and grain legumes, forage crops, tree species, root and tuber crops, bananas and crop wild relatives.