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Arachis glabrata is a herbaceous perennial plant with erect to decumbent unbranched, above-ground stems 5 - 35 cm long, arising from a mat of rhizomes. The rhizomes form a dense mat in the top 5 cm of soil.
Species in the genus Arachis have an interesting reproductive biology because the seed-containing pods mature underground instead of aerially as in most legumes. The flowers don't usually open, and are self-pollinated. After pollination, there is cell division below the young pod sending it down on a stalk and pushing it into the ground where it matures. Seeds yield a non-drying, edible oil, used in cooking, margarines, salads, canning, for deep-frying, for shortening in pastry and bread, and for pharmaceuticals, soaps, cold creams, pomades and lubricants, emulsions for insect control, and fuel for diesel engines. The oil cake, a high-protein livestock feed, may be used for human consumption. Other products include dyes, ice cream, massage oil, paints, and peanut milk. Seeds are eaten raw, whole roasted and salted, or chopped in confectioneries, or ground into peanut butter. Young pods may be consumed as a vegetable. Young leaves and tips are suitable as a cooked green vegetable.
Edible peanut is Arachis hypogaea, and the ornamental peanut is very similar species, Arachis glabrata.
This rather bizarre, perennial plant, which grows to a height of approximately 30 cm (11.8 in), propagates vegetatively by tubers. Its stem, underground, is broad and glabrous. Bloom color: Green, Purple, Brown/Bronze. It is considered toxic, in as much as the leaves and tuber are emetic, if swallowed. The plant contains calcium oxylate crystals. These cause an extremely unpleasant sensation similar to needles being stuck into the mouth and tongue if they are eaten.
It is pollinated by Ceratopogonid flies; these are the small, blood-sucking flies that pester humans and other mammals in the humid summer. The flowers of Aristolochia watsonii resemble a mouse's ear-translucent funnels with fur and veins-and give off a musty odor. The fly apparently expects to find a blood meal, and instead is trapped inside the flower tube overnight. During the night the flower releases pollen. The following morning the flower releases the pollen-covered fly. If the fly visits another flower it effects pollination.