Bambara peanut

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Bambara peanut
The underground fruits of the Bambara peanut (Vigna subterranea)

The underground fruits of the Bambara peanut ( Vigna subterranea )

Order : Fabales (Fabales)
Family : Legumes (Fabaceae)
Subfamily : Butterflies (Faboideae)
Tribe : Phaseoleae
Genre : Vigna
Type : Bambara peanut
Scientific name
Vigna subterranea
(L.) Verdc.

The Bambara peanut ( Vigna subterranea ), also known as pea or Angola pea in German-speaking countries , and formerly also known as the creeping earth borer , is a species of plant that belongs to the subfamily of butterflies (Faboideae) within the legume family (Fabaceae or Leguminosae). This crop is closely related to a number of other crops called " beans " .

It originates from West Africa and is now cultivated across Africa, Asia, Australia and Central and South America. Their name is derived from the Bambara people . The main producing countries are Burkina Faso , Mali , Cameroon and Niger , as well as Nigeria , Chad and Ghana . It is an extremely drought-resistant plant that can also tolerate nutrient-poor soils. Similar are the commonly used seeds of the cowpea or the ground bean .

Description and ecology

Field with the Bambara peanut ( Vigna subterranea )
Fruits and seeds

Vegetative characteristics

The Bambara peanut is an annual, originally flat creeping, domesticated upright herbaceous plant up to 30 centimeters high with a taproot. The threefold leaves are alternate, with stems up to 30 centimeters long. The short-stalked, up to 10 centimeters long leaflets are elliptical to ovate with a rounded to indented tip. The stipules ( stipules ) of the leaflets are very small. The one to three-flowered, hairy stalked inflorescences are near the ground. The short-stalked, whitish-yellow and hermaphrodite butterfly flowers have a five-lobed short calyx and ten stamens, only one of which is free. The unicameral ovary is on top, with a long, curved stylus with a bearded upper part and a two-part stigma. There are extra-floral nectaries present, often on an abortive flower bud.

Generative characteristics

The mostly round or seldom elongated, up to 2.5-4 centimeters long and light brownish, slightly wrinkled legume usually contains only one or rarely two smooth seeds. The approximately 1 centimeter large, round to ellipsoidal, partly flattened and hard seeds are of different colors (light, red, orange, black, also spotted). A colored "eye" is sometimes formed around the white hilum . The pods grow like the peanut on a long carpophor under the ground, but they are harder. This is an adaptation to bushfires that prevents the seeds from burning. So it is a geocarp (soil, soil fruited) plant.

The number of chromosomes is 2n = 22.


You can use the young legumes or the dried seeds. The latter are either soaked and boiled or ground into flour.


Vigna subterranea belongs to the section Vigna in the subgenus Vigna within the genus Vigna .

In 1648, Marcgrave de Liebstad first described her as "Mandubi d'Angola". It was first published in 1763 under the name ( Basionym ) Glycine subterranea by Carl von Linné . The new combination to Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc. was published in 1980 by Bernard Verdcourt in Kew Bulletin , Volume 35, p. 474. Synonyms for Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc. are: Voandzeia subterranea (L.) Thouars ex DC. Further synonyms were Arachis africana Burm. and Cryptolobus subterraneus Spreng.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Voandzeia subterranea at In: IPCN Chromosome Reports . Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis
  2. ^ A b Vigna subterranea in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.

Web links

Commons : Bambara peanut ( Vigna subterranea )  - Collection of images, videos and audio files