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Peanuts were first brought to France and Africa from Brazil, and then later introduced into the U.S. during the 1700s. The first commercial peanuts were grown near Wilmington, NC about 1800. Contrary to popular belief, the peanut is not a nut. It’s actually a vegetable belonging to the legume family, which includes peas and beans. Since peanuts are tropical natives, they require about 120 days to mature, but fortunately the peanut plant can withstand light spring and fall frosts. The peanut plant is unique because its flowers grow aboveground, yet the pods containing the seeds develop in the soil.