Ground-Nuts, or Ground-pease, the Arrachis Hypogaios Americanus of Ray, a plant cultivated in the West Indies by the Negroes. When in flower, it inclines towards the earth, into which the pointal enters, and extends to a certain depth, where the seed-vessel and fruit are formed ; so that the latter attains to maturity under ground. As large crops of this vegetable are produced on light sandy lands, of little value, it may perhaps be advantageously cultivated in the southern counties of Britain.
The seeds or fruit, when bruised and expressed through canvas bags, afford a pure, clear, and savory oil, which, in the opinion of Dr. Wat-son, may be used for the same purposes, both culinary and medicinal, as those obtained from olives or almonds. The oil of ground-nuts, however, possesses a great advantage, as it will admit of being kept for a considerable time, without becoming rancid, or requiring any particular care, even during the heat of summer. As one bushel of the seeds, when expressed, yields a gallon of pure oil without, and a much larger quantity, though of inferior quality, with the aid of heat, they deserve to be more generally known and imported. The value of a bushel of these nuts, in South Carolina, did not exceed eight-pence in the year 1768, when specimens of the seeds were produced before the Royal Society, and an account given in the 59th vol. of their Philosophical Trans-tions for 1769.