Peanut plant

Characteristics of the peanut plant

The scientific name of the peanut plant is Arachis hypogaea, a herbaceous plant that is part of the botanical family of the Fabaceae, that is, the Leguminosae. The peanut is native to South America, probably from countries like Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. The plant is annual and reaches a height between 40 and 60 cm. Its leaves are opposite and made up of 4 smaller leaves with a variable length between 1 and 7 cm and a width of 1-3 cm. The flowers are yellow and have reddish veins. The fruits are legumes, pods with 2, 3 or 4 seeds, 3 to 7 cm long. To reach maturity, the fruits are buried by geotropism, at a depth of 5-15 cm. In fact, the name of the species (hypogaea, that is underground) derives from this characteristic. There are two subspecies of peanut: hypogaea subsp. hypogaea and hypogaea subsp. fastigata. The first includes the Virginia and Peruvian varieties and the second the Valencia and Spanish varieties.

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Peanut consumption

Peanuts are very popular and popular. The seeds are consumed after roasting and are considered as nuts, although botanically they are legumes. In the past, the peanut plant was very common in family gardens because it was easy to grow and its pods were easy to store. In the winter season, peanuts represented an excellent protein source, combined with a high calorific value, as well as a pleasant food. Currently, as there is no longer the problem of food restriction, the peanut continues to be enjoyed all year round. The plant is cultivated, as well as in Europe and South America, also in Africa and Asia. The most prized variety of peanut, however, is found in Israel. The seed of the peanut fruit is oval and dark yellow in color, covered with thin red skin. In non-European countries, peanuts are generally consumed boiled rather than roasted.

Peanut plant cultivation

The peanut plant, despite having tropical origins, is also successfully cultivated in our country. The sowing takes place in April-May, at an optimal temperature of 16 ° C, and the harvest takes place in the period between September and October. The seeds enter the earth without the pod but with the red integument. The distance between the seeds is 15 cm and the distance between the different rows is around 50 cm. Watering must be abundant in the first months, during which germination and flowering takes place. The water supply is interrupted during the ripening period. When the leaves begin to turn yellow, it is time to harvest. The whole plant is then uprooted and the pods are then left to dry. From 100 g of peanut seeds, including pods, one and a half kilograms of peanuts can be obtained,

Peanut Plant: Grow the peanut in pots

The peanut plantit requires little attention, just choose a sunny spot and it will give the satisfaction of a generous harvest. As the plant ripens its fruit underground, the substrate should be soft, preferably with river sand, avoiding clay or stony soils. A particular fertilization is not necessary initially. In pot cultivation it is necessary to place expanded clay on the bottom, in order to avoid water stagnation, which is harmful to the peanut. 3-4 seeds can be planted in a 40cm wide and deep pot. In the growing and burial phase, watering will be frequent. Once the yellow flowers have appeared, the soil must be fertilized with phosphorus and potassium. When the pods are buried, it will be important to add another 5 cm of soil on them and reduce the watering until it stops. When the plant turns yellow, the pods will be sand colored with the seeds formed and the harvest can be carried out.

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