WorldCrops - World Crops for the Northeastern United States

Chipilín Crotalaria spp.

Chipilín growing at the UMass Research Farm in Deerfield, Mass. (Photo by Frank Mangan)

Chipilín is a leguminous plant that is used as a leafy green in Central America, Guatemala and parts of Southern Mexico. It is a perennial that can be grown as an annual in temperate climates.

ChipiIín in El Salvador is Crotalaria longirostrata. In Oaxaca Mexico, the name used for this leguminous leafy-green is Chepil, and it is a different species than C. longirostrata. The most common species found in the literature is Crotalaria pumila. It appears that Crotalaria longirostrata is also used in Oaxaca, where it is called Chepil de hoja ancha (wide leaf chepil). In a visit of several markets in Oaxaca in January 2014, no Crotalaria longirostrata was found; only Crotalaria pumila.

Chipilín is used in soups and tamales. It has a distinctive, earthy aroma when cooked; it is never eaten raw.

Woman selling chepil at a market in Oaxaca Mexico in 2014. (Photo by Frank Mangan)

Chipilín can be direct seeded or produced by transplants. Given the very small seed and the short growing season in the Northeaster US, using transplants is recommended.

Chipilín produced in Massachusetts for sale at a Latino store in Worcester, Massachusetts. (Photo by Frank Mangan)

Seed Sources
There are no commercial seed sources available at this time. Research on this crop is being conducted at the University of Massachusetts with the assistance of the CENTA in El Salvador (Centro Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuario y Forestal)

Chipilín under row cover at the UMass Research Farm in Deerfield MA in June of 2008. (Photo by Zoraia Barros)

A collaborative project produced by: Rutgers Cooperative Extension, UMASS Extension, and Cornell Cooperative ExtensionSponsored in part by: RMA and Northeast Region SARE
WorldCrops - World Crops for the Northeastern United States