How A Peanut Plant Grows

Peanut PlantPeanut seeds (kernels) grow into a green oval leaf plant about 18 inches tall which develop delicate yellow flowers around the lower portion of the plant. The flowers pollinate themselves and then lose their petals as the fertilized ovary begins to enlarge. The budding ovary or “peg” grows down away from the plant, extending to the soil. The peanut embryo is in the tip of the peg, which penetrates the soil. The embryo turns horizontal to the soil surface and begins to mature taking the form of a peanut. The peanut is unusual because it flowers above the ground, but fruits below the ground.

Types Of Peanuts

Although there are many varieties of peanuts there are four basic types:

Runners have become the dominant type due to the introduction in the early 1970's of a new runner variety, the Florunner, which was responsible for a spectacular increase in peanut yields. Runners have rapidly gained wide acceptance because of their attractive kernel size range; a high proportion of are used for runners peanut butter. Runners, grown mainly in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Texas and Oklahoma, account for 75 percent of total U.S. production

Virginias have the largest kernels and account for most of the peanuts roasted and eaten as inshells. When shelled, the larger kernels are sold as salted peanuts. Virginias are grown mainly in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. Virginia type peanuts account for about 21 percent of total U.S. production

Spanish type peanuts have smaller kernels covered with a reddish-brown skin. They are used predominantly in peanut candy, with significant quantities used for salted nuts and peanut butter. They have a higher oil content than the other types of peanuts which is advantageous when crushing for oil. They are primarily grown in Oklahoma and Texas. Spanish type peanuts account for 4 percent of U.S. production

Valencias usually have three or more small kernels to a pod. They are very sweet peanuts and are usually roasted and sold in the shell. They are excellent for fresh use as boiled peanuts. Valencias account for less than one percent of U.S. production and are grown mainly in New Mexico.

Did You Know?
Seven states account for 98% of US Peanuts.
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