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Qirui Cui, Haizheng Xiong, Yufeng Yufeng, Stephen Eaton, Sora Imamura, Jossie Santamaria, Waltram Ravelombola, Richard Esten Mason, Lisa Wood, Leandro Angel Mozzoni, and Ainong Shi

Cowpea [Vigna unguiculate (L.) Walp.] is not only a healthy, nutritious, and versatile leguminous crop; it also has a relatively high adaptation to drought. Research has shown that cowpea lines have a high tolerance to drought, and many of them can survive more than 40 days under scorching and dry conditions. The cowpea (Southern pea) breeding program at the University of Arkansas has been active for more than 50 years and has produced more than 1000 advanced breeding lines. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the drought-tolerant ability in Arkansas cowpea lines and use the drought-tolerant lines in cowpea production or as parents in cowpea breeding. A total of 36 University of Arkansas breeding lines were used to screen drought tolerance at the seedling stage in this study. The experiment was conducted in the greenhouse using a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with two replicates, organized in a split-plot manner, where the drought treatment (drought and nondrought stress) as the main plot and the cowpea genotypes as the subplot. Drought stress was applied for 4 weeks, and three drought-tolerant–related traits were collected and analyzed. Results showed that cowpea breeding lines: ‘17-61’, ‘17-86’, ‘Early Scarlet’, and ‘ARBlackeye #1’ were found to be drought tolerant.