We have recently published ‘Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions’: i.e. tropical and sub-tropical regions. We rely on regular donations to keep our free database going and help fund development of this and another book we are planning on food forest plants for Mediterranean climates. Please give what you can to keep PFAF properly funded. More >>>

Follow Us:


Arachis hypogaea - L.

Common Name Peanut
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards Of greatest concern is possible contamination of damaged or spoiled seeds with the teratogenic, carcinogenic aflatoxins. Two principal toxins, aflatoxins B, and G, and their less toxic dihydro derivatives, aflatoxins B2 and G2 are formed by the aflatoxin producing moulds (Aspergillus flavus et al). Prevention of mould growth is the mainstay, there being no satisfactory way to remove the toxins from feed and foods (however, peanut oils are free of aflatoxins because of alkaline processing)[269]. Avoid if any suggestion of allergy.
Habitats Not known in a truly wild state.
Range S. America.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Arachis hypogaea Peanut

Arachis hypogaea Peanut


Translate this page:


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Arachis hypogaea is a ANNUAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 8 and is frost tender. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Arachis nambyquarae. Lathyrus esquirolii.

Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Oil  Oil  Seed  Seedpod
Edible Uses: Coffee  Oil  Oil

Seed - raw, cooked or ground into a powder. Peanuts are a staple food in many tropical zones and are widely exported to temperate area of the world. The seeds have a delicious nutty flavour and can be eaten on their own either raw or roasted[K]. The seeds are commonly ground up and used as peanut butter in sandwiches etc[269]. They can also be cooked in a variety of dishes and are also ground into a powder when they can be used with cereals to greatly improve the protein content of breads, cakes etc[K]. The seed is very rich in protein and oil, it is also a good source of minerals and vitamins, especially the B complex[200]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. A non-drying edible oil is obtained from the seed[200]. This is one of the most commonly used edible oils is the world. It is similar in composition to olive oil and is often used in cooking, making margarines, salad oils etc[200]. The oilseed cake is said to be a good source of arginine and glutamic acid, used in treating mental deficiencies[269]. The roasted seed makes an excellent coffee substitute[7, 269]. Young pods may be consumed as a vegetable[269]. Young leaves and tips are suitable as a cooked green vegetable[269]. Javanese use the tips for lablab, and germinating seeds to make toge[269].

References   More on Edible Uses

Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Seed (Fresh weight)
  • 500 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 13%
  • Protein: 29g; Fat: 45g; Carbohydrate: 15g; Fibre: 2.7g; Ash: 2.5g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 49mg; Phosphorus: 409mg; Iron: 3.8mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 15mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.79mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.14mg; Niacin: 15.5mg; B6: 0mg; C: 1mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes: The figures given here are the median figures of those quoted in the report.

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiseborrheic  Aperient  Demulcent  Emollient  Pectoral

The oil from the seed is aperient, demulcent, emollient and pectoral[218]. The seed is used mainly as a nutritive food[268]. The seeds have been used in folk medicine as an anti-inflammatory, aphrodisiac and decoagulant[269]. Peanuts play a small role in various folk pharmacopoeias. In China the nuts are considered demulcent, pectoral, and peptic; the oil aperient and emollient, taken internally in milk for treating gonorrhoea, externally for treating rheumatism[269]. In Zimbabwe the peanut is used in folk remedies for plantar warts. Haemostatic and vasoconstrictor activity are reported. The alcoholic extract is said to affect isolated smooth muscles and frog hearts like acetylcholine. The alcoholic lipoid fraction of the seed is said to prevent haemophiliac tendencies and for the treatment of some blood disorders (mucorrhagia and arthritic haemorrhages) in haemophilia[269].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Temperate Plants

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital media.
More Books

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital formats. Browse the shop for more information.

Shop Now

Other Uses

Biomass  Oil  Oil

The seeds yield a non-drying oil that has a wide range of uses including the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, soaps, cold creams, pomades and lubricants, paints, emulsions for insect control, and fuel for diesel engines[268, 269]. Peanut hulls are used for furfural, fuel, as a filler for fertilizers or for sweeping compounds[269].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a light humus-rich well-drained soil in a warm sunny sheltered position, though it will tolerate heavier soils[200, 269]. Plants prefer hot dry conditions when the crop is ripening[200]. Peanuts are quite tolerant of acid soils, and aluminium, requiring a minimum of lime for acceptable yields[269]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 8.7[269]. Plants are not frost-hardy and most cultivars require too long a growing season to make them a viable crop in Britain. Some cultivars, however (listed below), have a shorter growing season and are worthy of more research in this country[K]. The peanut is widely cultivated in the tropics and sub-tropics for its edible seed and oil contained in the seed, there are many named varieties[200]. It grows best between latitudes 40° south and 40° north[200]. Yields average about 1 tonne of unshelled nuts per hectare, about 80% of this weight is edible seeds (erect forms) and 60 - 75% (running forms)[200]. Crops can be grown at further distances from the equator but yields are likely to be poor[200]. There are three main groups of cultivars:- 'Virginia' has large seeds, 'Valencia' has four seeds per pod and 'Spanish' has the smallest seeds[200]. There are running and erect forms in each group[200]. The erect forms mature more quickly and are therefore more likely to succeed in colder areas[200]. 'Early Spanish' matures in 105 days and has cropped reliably as far north as Canada[183]. 'Spanish' matures in 110 days and crops in Canada if grown in a light sandy soil with southern exposure[183]. Plants are, in general, self-pollinating, though occasional outcrossing by bees occurs[269]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200]. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

Shop Now

Plant Propagation

Seed - pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and sow the seed in mid spring in a warm greenhouse. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots of fairly rich soil and grow them on fast, planting them out after the last expected frosts and giving them some protection (such as a cloche) until they have settled down and are growing well.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Range

Coming Soon

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Arachis glabrataPerennial peanutPerennial0.3 8-11 FLMHSNM103
Arachis pintoiPinto peanutPerennial0.3 8-12 FLMHFSNMWe003

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment



Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

   Tue Jun 6 2006

people, you don't know how to plant peanuts!!!! Yo don't soak them and you don't transplant them either... please be better informed about the crop because you mislead people!

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Arachis hypogaea  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.