The peanut, Arachis hypogaea L., is a legume native to South America. Wild species of the genus Arachis are confined to South America. The exact origin of the peanut is unknown, but present evidence favors Bolivia. It was widely cultivated in both tropical and subtropical regions of South America before dissemination into other parts of the world. The exact time and place of introduction of peanuts into the U.S. has not been documented, but it is speculated that it arrived on ships from Africa or by direct introduction from the Caribbean Islands. The first successful form introduced into the southeastern U.S. was a Virginia type with spreading, runner growth habit. 1