THE peanut, also known as the groundnut or the goober and taxonomically classified as Arachis hypogaea, is a legume crop grown mainly for its edible seeds. It is widely grown in the tropics and subtropics, being important to both small and large commercial producers. It is classified as both a grain legume and, because of its high oil content, an oil crop.
World annual production of shelled peanuts was 42 million tonnes in 2014. Atypically among crop plants, peanut pods develop underground rather than aboveground.
It is this characteristic that the botanist Linnaeus used to assign the specific name hypogaea, which means “under the earth.”
As a legume, the peanut belongs to the botanical family Fabaceae; this is also known as Leguminosae, and commonly known as the bean, or pea, family. Like most other legumes, peanuts harbor symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria in root nodules.
This capacity to fix nitrogen means peanuts require less nitrogen-containing fertilizer and also improve soil fertility, making them valuable in crop rotations.
Peanuts are similar in taste and nutritional profile to tree nuts such as walnuts and almonds, and as a culinary nut are often served in similar ways in Western cuisines. The botanical definition of a “nut” is a fruit whose ovary wall becomes very hard at maturity.
Using this criterion, the peanut is not a true nut, but rather a legume. However, for culinary purposes and in common English language usage, peanuts are usually referred to as nuts.
Family name: Leguminosae
Botanical name: Arachhis hypogaea
English name: Groundnut, peanut
Igbo name: okpa ekere, ahu ekere, opapa
Yoruba name: Epa
Hausa name: Geda
Description: An annual erect, straggling herb 30cm long. The genus consists of 40spp. This fruits is geocarpic.
Chemical constituents: Potassium, magnesium, vitamins A, B, B2, C, E, amino acids, niacin, proteins, resin, rayon, fibre and essential oil.
Actions: Bechic, emollient, demulcent, diuretic, aphrodisiac, antidote, haemosthatic, digestive, tonic, nutritive.
Parts used: Seed, leaves, plant, nuts and oil.
- The seed strengthens the nervous system, sex glands and muscles.
- Stimulates digestion and regulates heartbeat.
- It also provides energy.
- Slows down aging and promote fertility.
- The leaves and caly with little water to rub off swelling leg or stomach and breast problem or at kidney side.
- Plant is used to relieve colitis, enteritis and dysuria.
- An emulsion is taken for wasting disease and pleurisy.
- Leaf sap is used to instill into weeping ears.
- Maceration is taken as a diuretic.
- Used to promote pelvic decongestion.
- Nut is used for cure of blennorhoea and haemophilia.
- Oil is a laxative in healing gall-stones.
- An antidote for corrosive poisoning.
- It prevents dental caries.
- Used as an eye wash for chronic ephthalmias.