The Q&A Archives: Perennial Peanut Ground cover in California (Arachis species

Question: Has the Perennial Peanut groundcover (Arachis species) been grown in the Los Angeles, CA region and how well has it survived as a ground cover? Are there any locations that you can mention where it has been used for Landscaping so that I could take a look at it?

Answer: The perennial peanut evolved in tropical conditions and is adapted to subtropical and warm temperate climates. In the northern hemisphere, this would include locations such as Hawaii, Florida and Georgia - places having a long, warm and humid growing season. I'm not aware of any widespread use of this groundcover in Los Angeles, but the University of California is currently testing it. You may be able to visit their turfgrass farms by contacting them directly.

Perennial peanut was first introduced from Brazil in 1936 and since that time no insect, disease, or nematode pests have been identified that cause economic loss. Since its introduction, it has not spread into natural areas or become a nuisance plant in unimproved properties. Rhizomal perennial peanut does not reproduce by seed; therefore, it can't be carried by birds or wildlife or transported in plant material to unintended areas.

Perennial peanut has recently shown promise as an ornamental groundcover due to its high resistance to drought, nematodes, and pathogens and its minimal fertilizer needs. This translates into savings in water, energy, dollars, and reduced impacts to the environment. It is not only beneficial to the environment since it requires no supplemental nitrogen or phosphorus fertilization or pest control, but it also is aesthetically pleasing, can be walked on, and has edible, peanut flavored flowers.

'Ecoturf' and 'Arblick' are available cultivars for landscape use. Both 'Ecoturf' and 'Arblick' were selected for landscape application due to their lower growth habit and profuse flowering. Planting material for 'Ecoturf' and 'Arblick' are available in limited supply. 'Florigraze' was released in 1978 for use in pastures and has been used recently in citrus groves and along roadways. 'Florigraze' also appears to be suitable for landscape use.

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