Although both nuts and peanuts are classified as nuts, they fall under very different categories. This might be quite confusing to someone who is not that familiar with it.
Mostly because people with peanut allergies also tend to have a nut allergy. Even, they are grown in different kinds of trees. They require different conditions for their growth and also serve us different functions.
To distinguish them we need to thoroughly learn the characteristics of the two. The first thing we need to know is how they grow.
Nuts vs Peanuts
The main difference between a nut and a peanut is how they grow. The nut grows on the trees while peanuts grow under the ground. For this reason, nuts are considered as fruit, and peanuts are considered as legumes, as they show respective characteristics.
Nuts are dry, indehiscent fruit. It develops from more than just a single carpel. It has a hard, woody protective cover, known as the kernel. It does not split open at the time of maturity, instead remains intact.
Peanuts are also known as the groundnut and are a false fruit. They have a dehiscent nature. They have multiple seeds attached to their ovary wall.
Its pericarp naturally splits open during its maturity, thus releasing the seeds.
Comparison Table Between Nuts and Peanuts
|Parameters of Comparison||Nuts||Peanuts|
|Category||Nuts are basically considered fruits. They possess characteristics as that of a fruit.||Peanuts are generally considered legumes. They possess characteristics as that of a legume. It is a false fruit.|
|Growth||They grow on trees, just like fruits.||They grow underground like potatoes.|
|Position||Their seeds are not attached to the ovary wall.||Multiple seeds are found to be attached to the ovary wall of their pods.|
|Nature||They are indehiscent in nature. It means that even when the fruit matures and falls of the plant, the pericarp remains intact.||They are dehiscent in nature. It means that the pericarp naturally opens when it gets matured and then releases the seeds.|
|Seeds||Nuts are mostly one-seeded or comprise two seeds in maximum.||Peanut contains multiple seeds in a single legume.|
What is Nuts?
A nut is a true fruit. According to the definition in botany, it is described as a fruit of a plant, covered by a shell. The shell is hard and edible and is termed a kernel. The shell is woody and remains intact even after maturity.
They are rich in iron. It contains other essential vitamins and minerals which include calcium, magnesium, and vitamin E. They also contain comparatively lower saturated fats and are high in protein value.
Thus possessing a positive effect on cholesterol and excellent natural fuel for unmodified fats.
They play a great role in protecting us from cardiovascular disorders. They also help to regularize blood lipids.
They grow on the plants which is one of the characteristics of the fruit. However, their seeds are not attached to the ovary wall. They are indehiscent.
What is Peanuts?
Peanuts are considered as legumes but the topic is quite controversial. They are commonly known as groundnuts. A single legume might contain multiple seeds. Their nature is indehiscent.
The scientific name of peanuts is Arachis hypogaea. It is originated in South America. They are mainly grown in the tropical and subtropical region, for their edible seeds which are rich in protein.
They are devoid of iron as compared to nuts but are rich in minerals and vitamins. However, overconsumption of peanuts might lead to critical heart conditions since it contains saturated fats.
Peanuts are low in carbs. This makes it a very good choice for diabetic patients. Also, the presence of phosphorus helps in the growth of body tissues.
Main Differences Between Nuts and Peanuts
- The most unique difference between a nut and a peanut is that nut grows on the trees whereas peanut grows underground. This is why nuts are considered as fruits and peanuts as legumes because of their characteristics.
- Another important point of difference is their biological structure as well as composition. Also, peanuts are comparatively more bioflavonoid as compared to nuts.Nuts are indehiscent. Their hard pericarp remains intact even when it matures and falls off. Whereas peanuts are dehiscent. The pericarp gets opened once the seed matures and it finally releases them.
- Nuts are recognized as a global crop and are generally grown in the states of the US. Peanuts are grown in the warm climate in the tropical and sub-tropical region, throughout the year.
- Peanuts are cheaper than tree nuts. We might wonder if they are not as healthy. The real reason is their processing. It is easier and cheaper to grow.
Last but not the least, examples are a great way to distinguish them. Normal nuts include almonds, groundnut, hazelnuts, and cashews. Peanuts include types like a Runner, Virginia, Spanish, and Valencia.
Grouping seeds into categories are sometimes a big deal because of their confusing characteristics. It may sound like a peanut falls under nuts but it possesses characteristics that of a legume.
Peanuts produce their fruit in a pod just like peas or beans. However, the protein present in it shows similarities in structure with the protein present in nuts.
This is why there is a great chance that a person who is allergic to nuts will also be allergic to peanuts. They are both rich in protein and have high nutritional value.
Different types of nuts help in different functions such as weight loss, protection against heart diseases. They also contain healthy fats. However, overconsumption of either of them might be harmful.
Peanuts and nuts might have their distinct characteristics but they do have certain overlapping features. Both nuts and peanuts are seeds but by definition, they belong to separate families.
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