It is not definitely known when and where the peanut was first cultivated. Several allied species of plants are natives of Brazil, and there is every indication that the common peanut originally came from tropical America. Peanuts were introduced into the United States during the earlier days of colonization, but did not become of commercial importance until about 1870. From that time until 1897 the growth of the peanut industry was gradual, but a great increase in the production and use of peanuts has taken place during the last eight or ten years. Botanieally the peanut belongs to the same group of plants as do the beans and peas, but it possesses' the character of maturing its fruit or nut beneath the surface of the soil rather than above ground, as do most other leguminous plants. The technical name of the peanut is Arachis Tiypogea, the name indicating the characteristic habit of the plant to mature its fruits underground. The peanut is known under the local names of "goober," "goober pea," "pindar," "ground pea," and "groundnut." The names "goober" and "goober pea" are more properly applied to an allied species having no true stem and only one pea in each pod which has been introduced and is frequently found growing wild in the Gulf Coast States. Properly speaking, the peanut is a pea rather than a nut, the term "nut" having been added on account of its flavor, which is similar to that of many of the true nuts. The small yellow flowers of the peanut are borne in the little pocket where the leaves are attached to the stems, and as soon as pollination has taken place the visible portion of the flower fades and falls, after which the short, thick stem that supports the lower portion of the flower elongates and the sharp-pointed ovary is thrust downward into the soil, where the pod develops. Should the ovary fail to reach or penetrate the soil no pod will be formed. The value of the commercial peanut crop of the United States for the year 1908 was estimated at $12,000,000.