The peanut, or groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), is a species in the legume "bean" family (Fabaceae). The cultivated peanut was probably first domesticated in the valleys of Perú.
Food features:It is an annual herbaceous plant growing 30 to 50 cm (0.98 to 1.6 ft) tall. The leaves are opposite, pinnate with four leaflets (two opposite pairs; no terminal leaflet), each leaflet 1 to 7 cm (⅜ to 2¾ in) long and 1 to 3 cm (⅜ to 1 inch) broad. The flowers are a typical peaflower in shape, 2 to 4 cm (¾ to 1½ in) across, yellow with reddish veining. After pollination, the fruit develops into a legume 3 to 7 cm (1.2 to 2.8 in) long, containing 1 to 4 seeds, which forces its way underground to mature. Hypogaea means "under the earth."
Place of origin:China leads in production of peanuts having a share of about 41.5% of overall world production, followed by India (18.2%) and the United States of America (6.8%).
Nutrition:Peanuts are rich in nutrients, providing over 30 essential nutrients and phytonutrients. Peanuts are a good source of niacin, folate, fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, manganese and phosphorus. They also are naturally free of trans-fats and sodium, and contain about 25% protein (a higher proportion than in any true nut).
Dietotherapy function:Peanuts are used to help fight malnutrition. Plumpy Nut and Medika Mamba are high protein, high energy and high nutrient peanut-based pastes that were developed to be used as a therapeutic food to aid in famine relief. Organizations like the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Project Peanut Butter and Doctors Without Borders have used these products to help save malnourished children in developing countries.