Arachis hypogaea

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Arachis hypogaea is commonly called the peanut. Ground nut, monkey nut, nzungu (shona), amazambane (ndebele).


It is a low growing bushy annual, cultivated since ancient times. Leaves alternate, with two pairs of leaflets. The pods ripen below ground.
They are often planted between maize or millet rows, just after the first rains, and are ripening May to June.

Preparation and use

Pods are dried and shelled. And made into many dishes.


  • Peanut butter / dovi (sh).

Shelled peanuts are roasted and ground.

  • To flavour vegetables and mushrooms. Pounded, ground (made into peanut butter) and added just before cooking is finished.
  • Rupiza (sh). A thick soup made of beans or cowpeas, with peanuts ground to a coarse meal.
  • Roasted and with skins removed, they are pounded to meal wtih a little salt and water. Sundried, they can be stored for later cooking flavouring or food for a journey.
  • Boiled as a vegetable.
  • Pounded nuts added to fine gruel of finger millet and allowed to stand overnight, to make a sweet drink.
  • Boiled in their pods. Nuts extracted and served as a vegetable.
  • Ground nuts mixed with upfu, pounded together and mixed with water to form a flat cake, boiled, baked or fried.
  • The leaves may be boiled as a vegetable.


An important source of protein and oil. [1]

Peanuts are the world's largest source of vegetable oil, after soya beans. They are the main constituent of margarine. Stems and leaves may be used for winter stockfeed.

Further reading

  1. [Margaret Tredgold, Food Plants of Zimbabwe; with old and new ways of preparation] (Mambo Press, Gweru, 1986) Retrieved 6 January 2021"