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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Perhaps You've Heard of Orchid HUNTERS...BUT Peanut Hunters!

Authors
item Williams, Mary
item Pittman, Roy

Submitted to: The Forage Leader
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: November 24, 2004
Publication Date: January 24, 2005
Citation: Williams, M.J. 2005. Perhaps you've heard of orchid hunters...but peanut hunters!. The Forage Leader. 10(3):14.

Interpretive Summary: Many people don't realize that most of the forages commonly grown in the US are not native to North America. While many forages such as tall fescue, bluegrass, white clover, and bermudagrass were accidentally introduced to this country, germplasm of others have been actively sought after and deliberately introduced. One of these forages is rhizoma peanut, the alfalfa of the Gulf Coast. Rhizoma peanut is a non-nut producing relative of the common cocktail peanut and was introduced to Florida from South America. Rhizoma peanut is adapted through-out the Gulf Coast region and are useful for commercial hay production, pasture, creep grazing, silage, balage, and living mulch. It is now estimated that about 16,000 acres of rhizoma peanut have been planted. In 2002 and 2003, Mimi Williams, Plant Physiologist, USDA, ARS, Subtropical Agricultural Research Station, Brooksville, FL, and Roy Pittman, Peanut Curator / Agronomist, USDA, ARS, Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit, Griffin, GA, went to Paraguay to 'capture' some new forage peanut germplasm to be added to the National Plant Germplasm System. Paraguay is the portion of the native range of rhizoma peanut that is most similar climatically to the Gulf Coast region of the US. During the two expeditions, Drs. Williams and Pittman traveled over 3000 miles in ten Paraguayan departments (states) and located over 70 populations of wild peanuts. One population was estimated to exceed 10,000 acres on a single cattle ranch. Some of these new rhizoma peanut introductions are currently being evaluated at six locations in the US. Illustrated versions of their trip reports can be found at http://www.pasturasdeamerica.com/relatos/relatos.asp.

Technical Abstract: Rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata)is a non-nut producing relative of the common cocktail peanut and was introduced to Florida from South America in the 1930s. Rhizoma peanut cultivars are adapted through-out the Gulf Coast region and are useful for commercial hay production, pasture, creep grazing, silage, balage, and living mulch. It is now estimated that about 8,000 ha of rhizoma peanut have been planted. The latest development with rhizoma peanut 'Ecoturf', an introduction that is gaining wide spread acceptance as a low maintenance turf or ornamental. In 2002 and 2003, Mimi Williams, Plant Physiologist, USDA, ARS, Subtropical Agricultural Research Station, Brooksville, FL, and Roy Pittman, Peanut Curator / Agronomist, USDA, ARS, Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit, Griffin, GA, went to Paraguay to acquire new forage peanut germplasm to be added to the National Plant Germplasm System. Paraguay is the portion of the native range of rhizoma peanut that is most similar climatically to the Gulf Coast region of the US. During the two expeditions, Drs. Williams and Pittman traveled over 5000 km in ten Paraguayan departments (states) and located over 70 populations of wild peanuts. One population was estimated to exceed 5000 ha on a single cattle ranch. Some of these new rhizoma peanut introductions are currently being evaluated at six locations in the US. Illustrated versions of their trip reports can be found at http://www.pasturasdeamerica.com/relatos/relatos.asp.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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