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name for a low, annual leguminous plant (Arachis hypogaea) of the family Leguminosae (pulsepulse,
in botany, common name for members of the Fabaceae (Leguminosae), a large plant family, called also the pea, or legume, family. Numbering about 650 genera and 17,000 species, the family is third largest, after the asters and the orchids.
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 family) and for its edible seeds. Native to South America and cultivated there for millenia, it is said to have been introduced to Africa by early explorers, and Africans transported as slaves brought the plant with them to North America. In the United States it has been extensively cultivated only since the late 19th cent. It is now grown in most tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions, especially in India and China (the major world producers), W Africa, and the SE United States. The peanut plant is unusual for its habit of geocarpy: when the pod starts to form, it is pushed into the ground by the elongation of its stalk and matures underground. There are two types of peanut plant—bunch nuts and vine, or trailing, nuts—named for the way the plants grow.

The seeds of the plants—peanuts, also known as goobers, pinders, earthnuts, groundnuts, and ground peas—are eaten fresh or roasted and are used in cookery and confectionery. They are ground for peanut butter, an important article of commerce, and yield an oil used for margarine, cooking oil, soap manufacture, and industrial purposes. The herbage is used for hay, the residue from oil extraction (called peanut-oil cakes) for stock feed, and the whole plant, left in the ground, as pasturage for swine. Peanut crops are usually harvested by hand except in the United States. Europe is the chief importer and processor, especially for oil manufacture. In the United States the amount of the crop converted to oil depends on the demand for whole peanuts; it is usually only 15% to 20%. Because of its numerous uses (George Washington CarverCarver, George Washington,
1864?–1943, American agricultural chemist, b. Diamond, Mo., grad. Iowa State College (now Iowa State Univ.; B.S., 1894; M.A. 1896). Born a slave, he later, as a free man, earned his college degree.
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 developed several hundred), high protein content, and adaptability to varying demand, the peanut is an advantageous agricultural crop.

Peanut allergy became an increasing problem in the early 21st cent., leading many parents to avoid exposing their children to peanuts. After a study reported (2015) that young children with a peanut sensitivity were more likely to develop a peanut allergy if they avoided, instead of being regularly exposed to, peanuts, the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommended (2017) that children begin to be exposed, with medical supervision in some cases, to foods containing peanuts by around six months of age to reduce the likelihood of peanut allergy.

Peanuts are classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Leguminosae.


Arachis hypogaea. A low, branching, self-pollinated annual legume cultivated for its edible seed, which is a one-loculed legume formed beneath the soil in a pod.


a. a leguminous plant, Arachis hypogaea, of tropical America: widely cultivated for its edible seeds. The seed pods are forced underground where they ripen.
b. the edible nutlike seed of this plant, used for food and as a source of oil
References in periodicals archive ?
Each day, he sets up red squirrel feeding stations, leaving out monkey nuts.
The peanut shoot starts life in Thailand as a raw monkey nut, which has been extracted from the roots of the monkey nut bush.
In 2003, he pushed a monkey nut for seven miles with his nose to 10 Downing Street in a protest against student debt.
The veg looks and cooks like a bean shoot but it has a monkey nut flavour.
One of my most vivid memories is when the monkey nut boats came in.
In 2003 he rolled a monkey nut seven miles through the streets of London to Downing Street using his nose to protest against student debt.
Mr McGowan first hit the headlines earlier this year when he rolled a monkey nut seven miles through London to 10 Downing Street to protest against student debt.
A man protesting against student debt completed the bizarre stunt in September of rolling a monkey nut seven miles to Downing Street using only his nose.
Monkey Nut Puzzled cops in Stockholm are hunting a weirdo who goes about dressed as a gorilla and pounces on innocent women.
Which nut is also known as a monkey nut or earthnut?
Student Mark McGowan, aged 37, from Peckham, gets down to business as he attempts to wipe out his pounds 15,000 student debt by using his nose to push a monkey nut seven miles to Downing Street from Goldsmiths College in New Cross, south-east London.
The pair depriving the feathered flock of their winter rations even had a lookout, left, who munched on a Halloween monkey nut as his pals carried out the daring raid.