The Bambara groundnut, also known as the Congo goober (Vigna subterranea), is a species of annual plant in the pea (Fabaceae) family, native to tropical Africa, but now cultivated in many tropical regions; it is particularly important in West Africa. It is closely related to the cowpea (V. unguiculata), adzuki bean (V. angularis), and mung bean (V. radiata). Like the peanut, the groundnut is characterized by geocarpy, where the flower head of the groundnut buries itself in the soil and there ripens into an edible seed. The plant can tolerate high temperatures and marginal soils where other legumes can’t grow. This, along with its high nutritive value, makes it the third most important legume in semi-arid Africa.
Featured image: The bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea). Photo courtesy of shutterstock.