Charles Simpson has spent 48 years collecting and maintaining wild peanut species from South America, and looking for traits that will improve domestic varieties.
Checking the wild peanut collection in Stephenville, Texas, is a time-consuming task for Charles Simpson, who has spent 48 years working with wild peanuts.
Colorful flowers are a distinct characteristic of this wild peanut species. The wild peanuts display radically different traits
Don Cawthon, resident director, Texas A&M Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Stephenville, looks over some wild peanut species plants with Charles Simpson, who maintains and works with the plants to find traits to improve domestic peanuts.
Explaining his work with wild peanut species, Charles Simpson recalls trips to several South American countries, where he collected thousands of plants.
The isthmus linking these peanut pods together may be a survival mechanism for this wild peanut species.
John Cason, right, works with Charles Simpson in Stephenville, Texas, greenhouses to maintain the wild peanut species collection.
Maintaining the wild peanut collection at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Stephenville becomes more difficult with budget cuts and increased costs.
Peanut seeds linked together by a thin isthmus help ensure survival of the species.
Pegs from a wild peanut species grow out of the container. Pegs of wild peanut species often grow differently than do pegs from cultivated species. Some wild peanut pegs go deep into the ground to be less susceptible to drought and wildfire.
Radical differences exist between these two wild peanut species. These differences could provide material for improved domestic varieties.
A small, delicate flower
A small, delicate flower pokes through the foliage of this wild peanut species.
The wild peanut species collection at the Stephenville Research and Extension Center requires constant maintenance to assure some species survival. The pink flags identify hybrids.
Wild peanuts may sometimes be small in size but can be very productive, says Texas A&M AgriLife peanut breeder Charles Simpson.