Animal feed resources information system

Rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata)

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This datasheet is pending revision and updating; its contents are currently derived from FAO's Animal Feed Resources Information System (1991-2002) and from Bo Göhl's Tropical Feeds (1976-1982).


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Common names 

Rhizoma peanut, perennial peanut, rhizoma perennial peanut, perennial forage peanut [English], arachide pérenne, arachide à rhizomes [French]; amendoim bravo, mendoim do campo baixo [Portuguese]; ถั่วลิสงเถา [Thai]


Arachis glabrata Benth. var. glabrataArachis glabrata Benth. var. hagenbeckii (Harms) F. J. Herm.

Feed categories 
Related feed(s) 

Rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata) is a summer growing perennial tropical legume. It provides high yields of forage that is mainly used for pasture, hay and silage production. It is grown in agroforestry, under coconuts or banana trees and can be grown in stand with grasses or other legumes. It is adapted to a range of latitudes. It withstands droughts and thrives on infertile acidic soils. It is also a good cover crop and a companion legume for for cool or warm season grains (Cook et al., 2005).


Rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata) is a perennial herbaceous legume that grows mainly in summer and forms dense mat of rhizomes. It remains rather short in height (35-45 cm). Rhizoma peanut is deeply taprooted. The plant develops from long spreading rhizomes. The stems arise from nodes on the rhizomes, they are erect or decumbent, hollow or pithy, 2-3 mm in diameter. The leaves are quadrifoliate, glabrous to sparsely pubescent. The leaflets are papery, very variable in shape (from linear lanceolate to cuneate), 0.6-3 (-4) cm long x 0.5-1.4 (-2) cm broad. The foliage of rhizoma peanut is similar to that of peanut (Arachis hypogea) but gets thicker and more leathery with ageing. The flowers are axillary borne, sessile, yelow to orange in colour. Rhizoma peanuts are scarse, underground (like peanuts) and small-sized (10 mm x 0.5-0.6 mm) (Cook et al., 2005; USDA-NRCS, 1997; Skerman, 1982).


Rhizoma peanut is mainly used as a forage legume that can be intensively grazed, or cut for hay or silage. It is particularly suited to infertile acidic soils (FAO, 2016). It can be grown in agroforestry systems and in mixed stands with tropical grasses or cool or warm grains (Cook et al., 2005). A good cover crop it is useful for erosion control in row crops and groves and for soil stabilization along roadsides. It is also planted as an ornamental in private gardens, parks and highways (USDA-NRCS, 1997).


Rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata) is native to South America (Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay) between 13° S and 28° S. It has been introduced to Australia, the United States, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Rhizoma peanut is a lowland species that can be found from 32°N to 35°S. It does well in places where annual rainfall is between 1000 and 2000 mm and where average monthly temperature is over 20°C. However rhizoma peanut can survive drought and grow in places where moisture is only 600 mm (evenly distributed) or 750 mm (over a 5-month wet season). Rhizoma peanut can bear short periods of flooding or waterlogging (up to 4000 mm/year) and short periods of frost down to -12°C: the leaves die but the plant recovers from the rhizomes. In the same way, rhizoma peanut can readily recover after fire (FAO, 2016; Cook et al., 2005).

Rhizoma peanut thrives on acidic infertile soils with pH down to 4.5 but was reported to grow also on alkaline soil with pH as high as 8.5. It has lower P requirement than Pinto peanut (Arachis pintoi). Rhizoma peanut is generally a full sunlight species but some cultivars are shade tolerant (Cook et al., 2005).

Forage management 


Rhizoma peantut (Arachis glabrata) can only spread by rhizome extension . In cultivation it is propagated from rhizomes. Clean seedbed and weeding are required during the first year of establishment since rhizomes do not grow well under competition (5-30 cm growth /year under grass competition vs. 2 m /year with no competition). Rhizomes should be dugged out during dormant phase (spring) and broadcasted and planted with the help of a disk. They can also be planted in rows (0.5 m in the row and 1 m intervel between the rows). Planting depth should be from 3- 6 cm (7-10) cm depending on soil conditions and authors (Cook et al., 2005; USDA-NRCS, 1997). A cultipack should be used to roll the soil immediately after planting and have the rhizomes well tamped. Inoculation is not necessary. Under adequate growing conditions, the stand can be fully covered at the end of the first growing season. It should however not be grazed during the first year of establishment unless it has become well established in association with a forage grass that is ready for grazing. Most often, it takes 2-3 years to achieve a dense cover. After establishment, rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata) can withstand heavy mowing and grazing and is readily managed in pastures (FAO, 2016; Cook et al., 2005; USDA-NRCS, 1997). 


Rhizoma peanut can be grown with grasses like Carpet grass (Axonopus fissifolius), Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), Pangola grass (Digitaria eriantha)Paspalum nicorae, Bahia grass (Paspalum notatum) or Signal grass (Brachiaria decumbens) and legumes (Aeschynomene villosa), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), and white clover (Trifolium repens) that are low-growing or creeping species. On the contrary, taller grasses will shade it out (Cook et al., 2005).


Rhizoma peanut yields about 10 to 16 t DM/ha under ideal conditions. In rubber and coconut plantations, yields of 5 t/ha have been reached. Three cuttings for hay production are possible in good seasons with 7-8 week cutting intervals. Cuttings should be limited to 2/year under restricted water availability. In grazed pastures, best regrowth is obtained when rhizoma peanut is cut to 20 cm stubble height on a 3-week cycle, or to 15 cm stubble height on a 6-week cycle (FAO, 2016; Cook et al., 2005).

Environmental impact 

Ornamental drought resistant cover crop

In Florida, rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata) is reported to form aesthetical groundcover were it is valued for its high resistance to drought, nematodes, and pathogens and its minimal fertilizer needs. In urban areas, the implementation of rhizoma peanut is promoted to save water (Rouse et al., 2019).

Buffer for N and P excess 

In waterways prone to runoff high in N and P, rhizoma peanut can also be used as a buffer (Rouse et al., 2019).

Nutritional aspects
Nutritional attributes 

Nutritive value varies with ecotype or cultivar, and declines with age of material. Values range from 10-18% CP and 45-68% IVOMD for material cut twice a year and up to 22% CP and 77% IVOMD for material cut more regularly. P levels of 0.15% have been recorded in rhizoma peanut growing in extremely infertile soils, and up to 0.52% in well-fertilised soils.  The overall nutritive value is similar to that of Medicago sativa (Cook et al., 2005) .

Rhizoma peanut is readily eaten by all classes of farm animals as hay, silage and pasture. The hay reported to be as palatable as Medicago sativa hay. The leaf meal compares favourably with yellow maize and alfalfa meal as xanthophyll pigment source for egg yolk colouring in laying hens (Cook et al., 2005).

Potential constraints 



Rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata) forage can be fed to all categories of ruminants including wildlife like deer and other browsers. Rhizoma peanut can be grazed in rotation, harvested for hay or haylage or ensiled. It is a tropical legume well known in Florida, combining the attributes of excellent nutritive value, competitive ability with tropical grasses, and high animal performance.

Nutritive value and degradability

Rhizoma peanut herbage CP and IVOMD was shown to vary between 13-23 and 55-75%DM respectively depending on the season (Valencia et al., 2001; Williams et al., 2004). Rhizoma peanut hay is considered of an equal quality to alfalfa hay with CP and IVOMD values around 12 and 60%DM respectively (reported in Hill, 2002).

Dairy cows

Rhizoma peanut silage (RPS) could replace 70% of corn silage in diets containing 50% concentrate without affecting dairy cow performance. Intake and digestion of the diet were depressed only when RPS was the sole source of forage (-2kg of DM intake and -2 to 3% of apparent DM digestibility) consequently affecting milk production (-1kg/cow/day) (Staples et al., 1997).

Based on nutrient content, in vitro dry matter degradability, and voluntary intake, Rhizoma peanut hay showed greater potential for dairy heifers as a forage source than Stylo and Pigeon-pea, showing a higher apparent digestibility of DM than the control tropical grass hay and a similar selective intake (Rodriguez et al., 2010). Cows and heifers being wintered on residual bahiagrass pasture and bahiagrass hay showed similar performances (body weight and body condition score changes, pregnancy rate, calf birth weight) when offered 2.3 kg of the perennial peanut hay than when fed with 0.9 kg of a 20% CP concentrate cube supplement (Hammond et al., 1992).

Growing cattle

In Florida, yearling bulls from temperate and tropical breeds were offered mixed pastures of Rhizoma peanut with bahiagrass, bermudagrass, Mexican tea, cogongrass, and blackberry, at different stocking rates and N fertilization levels. Summer average daily gain (ADG) averaged about 0.2 kg/d lower than spring ADG, due, in part, to seasonal declines in nutritive value. Because herbage allowance was never limiting, full-season ADG was not affected by stocking rate or N fertilization and averaged 0.61 ± 0.03 kg/d (Valencia et al., 2001). Steers finished on Rhizoma peanut tropical grass pasture in Florida experienced lower ADG during the growing and finishing periods (0.49 and 0.94 kg/d, respectively) than concentrate-finished steers (0.78 and 1.33 kg/d, respectively). Steers can be finished on rhizoma peanut-tropical grass pastures, but dark lean color and poor tenderness of carcasses may reduce beef quality produced on this forage (Bennett et al., 1995).

Creep grazing, defined as the utilization of a high quality forage species that only the calves have access to during the preweaning stage, may be another method of efficiently utilizing limited acreage of rhizoma peanut. Creep grazing enabled improvements in calf gains and body weight with greater benefits later in the grazing season as quality of the bahiagrass base pasture and cow milk production declined (Williams et al., 2004; French et al., 1988). However, creep grazing perennial peanut was less effective than creep grazing cowpea, both leading to lower calf performance than creep feeding with concentrates (Foster et al., 2013). Creep grazing the calves had no effect on cow performance (weight, ADG, or body condition score) (Foster et al., 2013; Williams et al., 2004).


Voluntary intake of DM, NDF and CP from ram lamb was higher when fed with rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata) hay (RPPH) than with grass hay (Digitaria eriantha, 80%, and Urochloa maximum, 20%). Daily supplementation with fish silage for the sheep fed the basal diet of RPPH slightly increased DM and CP digestibility but should be limited to 0.225% of BW (Diaz-Rios et al., 2008). Rhizoma peanut hay (first cut), supplemented at 50% of total diet DM (based on bahiagrass hay), increased DM and N intake and digestibility and improved microbial N synthesis of ram lambs (initial body weight 30.6 ± 5.5 kg) compared with no supplement or annual peanut, cowpea, pigeonpea or soybean hays (Foster et al., 2009).


Based on nutrient content, in vitro dry matter degradability, and voluntary intake, rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata) hay showed greater potential for goats as a forage source than Stylo and Pigeon-pea, showing a higher apparent digestibility of DM than the control tropical grass hay and a similar selective intake (Rodriguez et al., 2010). When offered the choice, mature goat bucks showed a strong preference during the autumn grazing (no preference in summer), spending 64.1% of their grazing time on rhizoma peanut plots compared to 35.9% for alfalfa, in relation with higher available rhizoma peanut DM. This preference was not associated with difference in quality of pre- and post-grazed rhizoma peanut forage, which indicates no selective grazing by the goats on these plots.

Growing goats fed peanut hay consumed approximately the same amount of dry matter (DM) but gained more body weight (+11-17 g/day) and were more efficient (-5-7 g DM/g gain) in converting DM intake into gain than those fed alfalfa hay or a combination of both forages (Gelaye et al., 1990). Goats fed rhizoma peanut hay (10% of the diet based on cracked corn, soybean meal and peanut hull) grew at the same rate and utilized most of the nutrients as well or better than goats fed alfalfa hay (10% of the based diet). In tropical and subtropical parts of the world, goat productivity could be improved by using rhizoma peanut extensively in their rations (Gelaye et al., 1991).


There is no literature available on the use of Rhizoma peanut by camels (April 2019).


Rhizoma peanut could be used in gestating sow rations to replace soyabean-maiza concentrate and resulted in very positive results (Lopez et al., 1986 cited by French et al., 1988). Diets containing rhizoma peanut at 0, 40, 60 and 80% of the ration were fed to sows during three gestation periods. Sows fed on 80% of rhizoma peanut farrowed more pigs than the other treatments and yielded an equivalent number of 1ive weaned pigs compared to the 100% corn/soyabean ration but differences were not statistically significant (French et al., 1988).

Body weight gain during gestation and litter weight were not significantly different, however the 60% inclusion yielded the highest value for sows and litter weight (French et al., 1988).


Laying hens

Rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata) foliage has been mainly used in poultry feeding in order to improve yolk colour by the provision of xanthophyll pigment.

In cameroon, it was found that rhizoma peanut could be included in laying hens diet in order to replace costly commercial pigments. Rhizoma peanut had no deleterious effect on egg parameters and it increased yolk colour significantly in comparison to the control (Teguia, 2000). These results were in accordance with former ones obtained in Florida where it was shown that laying hens couls be fed either on rhizoma peanut leaf meal or on alfalfa leaf meal in order to replace commercial pigments (Janky et al., 1986).

In Thailand, laying hens could be fed on rhizoma peanut (Arachis glarabrata) leaf at levels varying from 0 to 20%. However, increasing the level of inclusion of rhizoma peanut leaves in hens diet linearly decreased DM, CP, CF and energy digestibilities and decreased egg production, yolk colour . Moreover increasing rhizoma peanut level quadratically decreased whole egg weight, yolk weight and albumen weight (Nopparatmaitree et al., 2015).


In Cameroon, it was shown that rhizoma peanut foliage could replace up to 20% maize without hindering weight gain of finishing broiler chickens. At higher level, both weight gain and feed conversion ratio were impaired (Teguia et al., 1997).



Rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata) green forage is appreciated by rabbits, which are attracted by plantations of perennial peanut (Prine et al., 1999). It is why, plantation of perennial peanut is recommended in the south USA parts to provide protein rich forage to be browsed by wild deer or rabbits (Surrency et al., 2001). For domestic rabbits, rhizoma peanut (Arachis glabrata) hay was estimated equivalent or a little bit better than alfalfa hay in growing rabbits feeding (Gomez-de-Varela et al., 1983; French et al., 1988; Ruiz et al., 2007).
Hay can be distributed ad libitum as complement of a limited concentrate, and in this case perennial peanut hay represents about 25% of the daily dry matter intake (Garcia Gomez et al., 2006). In balanced complete diets it can be introduced as total replacement of alfalfa hay, at least up to 40% of the diet (Gomez-de-Varela et al., 1983). Thus rhizoma peanut can be considered for rabbits as a safe forage rich in protein (14 to 22% according to vegetative stage or cultivar) with a moderate content of fibre for a forage (22-28% crude fibre, 50-53% NDF) (Lebas, 2007; Ruiz et al., 2007). As in the other Arachis spp. forages, for rabbits, rhizoma peanut proteins are just balanced for lysine but deficient in sulphur amino acids.

Horses and donkeys 

Rhizoma peanut was reported to be good forage for horses in Porto Rico, in Florida and in Louisiana (Ruiz et al., 2007; Venuto et al., 1999). It has relatively high protein content for horses but its most interesting trait is its constant quality. Rhizoma peanut is deprived of dust and mold contamination and its protein content is constant (Venuto et al., 1999).


Other species 

Rhizoma peanut leaves were used to replace, 18% or 36 % Elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) in guinea-pigs diet in Cameroon. The inclusion of rhizoma peanut foliage increased blood N content but could not improve female guinea-pigs ovulation rate or decrease prenatal mortality (Kenfack et al., 2006).

Nutritional tables
Tables of chemical composition and nutritional value 
Datasheet citation 

DATASHEET UNDER CONSTRUCTION. DO NOT QUOTE. https://feedipedia.org/node/575 Last updated on July 1, 2019, 16:24