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The peanut or groundnut is a species in the Fabaceae family. In botanical terms, "nut" specifically refers to the fruit, but the peanut is not technically a nut, but a legume.


The peanut was first domesticated and cultivated in Paraguay. It is an annual herbaceous plant growing 30 to 50 cm (1.0 to 1.6 ft) tall.

Archeologists have dated the oldest specimens to about 7,600 years, found in Peru. Cultivation eventually spread to Mesoamérica, where the Spanish conquistadors found the tlalcacahuatl (the plant's Nahuatl name, whence Mexican Spanish cacahuate, Castillian Spanish "cacahuete," and French cacahuète) being offered for sale in the marketplace of Tenochtitlán (in Mexico City). The peanut was later spread worldwide by European traders. In West Africa farmers were already cultivating a plant from the same family, the Bambara groundnut, which also grows its seed pods underground.



Chocolate and peanuts are a very popular combination. Chocolate-coated peanuts (consisting of a coat of milk or dark chocolate) are mostly eaten in movie theaters. Both peanuts and chocolate can be mixed to do cakes, cookies, among others.