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Not all Peanuts are for People: The Perennial Peanut

Agent Jed Dillard with perennial peanut

Agent Jed Dillard discussing perennial peanuts

If you pay close attention you never know what you might find around you. Last week as the Extension staff took a tour of green industries we stumbled on a patch of perennial peanuts. I asked Jed Dillard the Ag Agent, “Why do they call them perennial peanuts” and in true extension form he provided me a quick and understandable researched based answer.

perennial peanut rhizoma

Picture of pernnial peanut rhizoma retrieved from University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

The perennial peanut is not the peanut that we cook and eat. In general, the perennial peanut produces very few seeds. It reproduces through and underground system of rhizoma. It is called a perennial peanut because it lives from year to year without replanting. The perennial peanut is used as a forage legume for grazing, as a high-value hay crop, and has been planted as a cover crop in citrus.

patch of perennial peanuts

Small patch of perennial peanuts

Traditionally, in Florida the perennial peanut is used as high-quality forage. With some additional research I found, Jacksonville and Tampa use the perennial peanut as groundcover in city landscapes. The perennial peanut shows promise as an ornamental groundcover due to its high resistance to drought, nematodes, and pathogens and its minimal fertilizer needs. This week Jefferson County Elementary School students will learn more about ecology (The study of the interaction of people with their environment) at ecology field day. If you want to find out more about the perennial peanut click:

Guide to Using Rhizoma Perennial Peanut in the Urban Landscape or Establishment and Management of Ornamental Perennial Peanuts. You can also contact your County’s Agriculture Extension Agent with specific questions.

 

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