The nutty enricher

SAVE WILD peanuts, enrich your soil. That's the latest slogan being drummed out by agronomists across the world. They have found that wild peanuts, most of which come from South America, are well adapted to the poor acid soils of the tropics and prevent erosion because they tenaciously cling on to even heavily grazed pastures (New Scientist, Vol 139, No 1884). These perennial varieties also fix nitrogen in the soil and discourage the growth of weeds.

While cultivated peanuts must be replanted each year, their wild cousins are hardy perennials. And it has been found that bullocks grazing on wild peanuts gain 20 times the weight gained by bullocks that graze on grass alone.