August 01, 2015


A weekly column featuring random wisdom gems, fun facts and school lessons re-discovered. Today: How do peanuts grow?

Turns out peanuts are actually not nuts? Unlike chest- or hazelnuts, peanuts don’t grow on trees, but underground. Technically that makes them a legume (In case you ever wondered why peanuts are off limits during your Whole30!). We only call them nuts, because that’s how we like to eat them: roasted and salted. However, as a plant they are much closer to a pea or bean. From planting to harvest it takes a peanut plant 4-5 months to grow. First the seedlings rise into an oval leaved plant some 18 inches tall (depending on variety I guess), then small yellow flowers appear. The flowers look very much like pea flowers, however once they are pollinated they lose their pedals and the peanut ovary emerges. The stalk or peg turns itself downwards and grows towards the ground pushing the fruit into the soil, where it matures. Other nuts that are no nuts (for various reasons): walnut, cashew nut, macadamia nut, pecan nut, pine nut.

More gems I discovered this week:

The camera that captured Pluto.

Brits like to gamble.

Seabirds smell their way.

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