The University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

Peanut Cultivars and Descriptions

John Beasley and John Baldwin, Extension Peanut Agronomists


Before discussing peanut cultivars, it is important to know how peanuts are classified. Peanuts are a legume; in other words, they have a symbiotic relationship with specific Rhizobium bacteria that help them fix, or produce, their own nitrogen. The scientific name of peanut is Arachis hypogaea L., and it is a self-pollinated plant species.

Peanuts are divided into two subspecies, hypogaea and fastigiata. The hypogaea subspecies do not flower on the main stem and, in general terms, mature later, have a high water requirement, have alternate branching patterns, and produce large seed. The fastigiata subspecies produce flowers on the main stem, have sequential branching, and, relative to the other subspecies, mature earlier, have a lower water requirement and produce smaller seed.

There are four U.S. market classes of peanuts: virginia, runner, spanish, and valencia. Virginia and runner types are in the hypogaea subspecies, while spanish and valencia are in the fastigiata subspecies. There are three major peanut producing areas in the United States: V-C area (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina), Southeastern U.S. (Georgia, Florida, Alabama) and Southwestern U.S. (Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico). Virginia market-type peanuts are grown primarily in the Virginia-North Carolina area, runners in the Southeastern United States (Georgia, Alabama, Florida), spanish in the Southwestern United States (Texas, Oklahoma), and valencia in New Mexico. Georgia accounts for approximately 40 percent of the total acreage and production of all peanuts grown in the United States.

Seed Size, Disease Rating and Maturity Range of Runner Type Peanut Cultivars Grown in Georgia1

Cultivar Seed
Per Pound2
Disease Rating3 Maturity Range4
Florunner 800   125-145 DAP
GK-7 770 TSWV (L) Same
Sunrunner 780   Same
Southern Runner 860 LLS, WM, TSWV(M) 2-3 weeks later
Georgia Runner 790   Same
Andru 93 770   10-14 days early
Marc I 840   10-14 days early
AT 108 680   Same - 7 days early
Georgia Green 825 TSWV(M) Same
AT 120 NA   10-14 days early
ViruGard NA TSWV(M) Same to 14 days early
SunOleic 97R 780   Same
Flavor Runner 458 800   Same
1 Source: Dr. William D. Branch, Crop and Soil Sciences Dept., Coastal Plain Experiment Station,
   The University of Georgia, Tifton.
2 Based upon sound mature kernels.
3 Disease Ratings, SSL = Late Leafspot, WM = White Mold, TSWV = Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus,
   (M) Moderate Tolerance, (L) Low Tolerance.
4 Days after planting relative to Florunner and Florigiant; weather conditions and stress can greatly
   influence maturity.

Runner Market Type

GK-7 is a runner cultivar, similar to Florunner, released in 1984 by AgraTech Seeds, Inc. Yield and grade are slightly higher than Florunner while maturity is the same. GK-7 has good peg attachment and uniform pod and seed size. One advantage of GK-7 is its prominent mainstem. This is very helpful in row identification. If vine growth is excessive, the prominent mainstem aids in lining up the digger-shaker. As a result, fewer plants are torn up during digging. High Oleic GK-7 will be available in 1998 in limited quantities.

Georgia Green is a new runner-type peanut cultivar released in 1995 by the Georgia Agricultural Experiment Stations. Developed at the University of Georgia, Coastal Plain Experiment Station, Georgia Green is highly productive and has very good stability across many environments. In numerous tests conducted in the Southeastern United States from 1990-1994, Georgia Green was found to have an approximately 10% higher yield and dollar return than Florunner. It also produced a significantly higher percentage of total sound mature kernels (TSMK). Georgia Green has also shown good resistance to tomato spotted wilt virus, comparable to Southern Runner.

Georgia Runner was released in 1990 by the Georgia Agricultural Experiment Stations and was developed at the University of Georgia's Coastal Plain Experiment Station from a cross made in 1980. Georgia Runner is highly productive, averaging the highest yield and grade tested compared to GK-7, Sunrunner, Southern Runner and Florunner in multi-location tests. It also produces over five percent more jumbo runner peanut seed compared to Florunner. Even though Georgia Runner has a much broader genetic background than other U.S. runner cultivars, it still has the typical runner growth habit, pink seedcoat color, a large proportion of normal-shaped pods. It is very similar to Florunner in maturity, pest resistance, chemical composition, and flavor characteristics. Georgia Runner is quick to emerge and grows vigorously early season under good growing conditions. Early canopy coverage by Georgia Runner is more rapid than Florunner. Georgia Runner offers the overall good qualities of Florunner but in a genetically improved cultivar.

Florunner is the oldest runner cultivar being grown in the Southeast and Georgia. It gained widespread popularity with peanut producers for its ability to yield relatively well under all types of environmental conditions. Florunner, derived from a cross made in 1960, was released in 1969 by the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. Florunner has a prostrate or spreading runner growth habit with a typical alternate branching pattern (alternate pairs of reproductive and vegetative nodes on the lateral branches and no fruiting nodes on the main stem). Florunner has a prolific fruiting habit with pods concentrated near the tap root.

In yield trials in the 1970s and early 1980s, Florunner consistently out-yielded other cultivars under all types of environmental conditions. Florunner has a high percentage of sound mature kernels, which results in higher grades. It also has desirable oil quality characteristics and good processing characteristics. However, most recently released runner cultivars are now available to producers that out-perform Florunner.

Southern Runner was developed and released in 1984 by the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. It was the first cultivar available with a moderate degree of late leafspot (Cercosporidium personatum Berk. & Curt) resistance. It was derived from a cross made in 1972 between Florunner (male parent) and a plant introduction line with leafspot resistance (female parent).

Southern Runner is later maturing than Florunner by two to three weeks. It has a more prostrate growth habit than other runner cultivars. Early season emergence and vegetative growth is slower than Florunner but total vegetative growth at the end of the season generally equals or exceeds that of Florunner. Leaf color is lighter green than Florunner. Southern Runner hulls also differ from other runner cultivars in that the outer hull layer has distinct striations that run the length of the hull. Seed coat (testa) color of Southern Runner is also distinctively lighter tan in color compared to the pink testa color of other runner cultivars and seed size is smaller.

Despite its resistance to late leafspot, Southern Runner does require some foliar fungicide for comparable yield to Florunner. The fungicide scheduling interval can be extended by approximately 7 days compared to Florunner. This may reduce the number of fungicide applications by 3 or 4 over an entire season. Yield and grade of Southern Runner under this reduced schedule is comparable to Florunner. More recent research indicates Southern Runner has approximately 50% less white mold (Sclerotium rolfsii) than Florunner and 50% less tomato spotted wilt virus.

Florida MDR 98 is a runner cultivar very similar to Southern Runner in maturity and disease resistance. It will have a larger seed size with normally 30% plus jumbos. It has a mid range on oleic acid (63-65%) which is much higher than other currently grown runner cultivars. In Florida tests it has consistently had higher yields and grades than Southern Runner.

Marc I is a runner cultivar released by the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station in 1990. It is earlier maturing than the other available runner cultivars in the Southeast. It was developed from a cross made in 1972 between a sister-line of Florunner and a component line of Early Bunch. Marc I has a runner growth habit but with a more prominent mainstem and lighter green foliage than Florunner. It matures 10-14 days earlier than Florunner. It tends to produce smaller seed than Florunner. One characteristic of Marc I is that it is more susceptible to leafspot than Florunner so it is imperative that producers maintain a strict fungicide program. Marc I would work well for producers that have large acreage and need to spread out harvest intervals or, when weather conditions or logistics require producers to plant later than recommended.

Andru 93 was developed at the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station and licensed to Anderson Peanut Company in Alabama in 1993. Andru 93 is a sister line of Marc I but has slightly larger seed size. Characteristics of Andru 93, including leafspot susceptibility, are similar to Marc I.

AgraTech 108 is a high-yielding runner peanut variety similar to GK-7, but matures slightly earlier. Growth habit is similar to GK-7 with less foliage and lighter green color than Florunner. The erect mainstem characteristic is less pronounced and shorter. Leaflet color and size is similar to GK-7. Pod attachment of AT 108 is strong; similar to GK-7. AT 108 pod lacks pubescence and the veins on the hull are less distinct than on GK-7. The midpod constriction is less defined on AT 108. AT 108 Seed size is similar to GK-7, with a higher percent of jumbo runner grade. Grades are similar to GK-7 with about 5% higher yield potential. Disease tolerance is similar to GK-7. AT 108 shells well and is commercially acceptable for a runner peanut variety.

AgraTech 120 is a high-yielding runner peanut cultivar, released in 1994 by AgraTech Seeds, Inc., that matures in about 120 days. This varies, but as a rule, maturity will be 10 to 14 days earlier than Florunner. Growth habit is a runner plant type with a Spanish flowering habit (flowers on the mainstem.) Fruiting occurs at every node and lateral branching is limited. The mainstem is erect and pronounced and leaflet size is larger than GK-7. Pod attachment is strong. Pod shape and reticulation is also similar to GK-7. AT 120 is a runner market type and produces a similar quantity of jumbos and medium runners as GK-7. Grades and disease tolerance are similar to GK-7. AT 120 shells well and has commercially acceptable characteristics for a runner peanut cultivar.

ViruGard is a new runner-type peanut cultivar released in 1997 by AgraTech Seeds Inc., that is to mature in about 135 days, however during the 1997 growing season it matured 10-14 days earlier than other commonly grown varieties such as GK-7 and Georgia Green when planted in the same field. There is some discussion as to the maturity of this variety and further testing will be conducted during the 1998 growing season. It is a cross between NC-7 and Florunner and has a spreading bunch growth habit. It is more upright than GK-7 with smaller leaflets. ViruGard has a light pink seed coat color and seed size is larger than most currently grown varieties with more jumbo kernels. Another attribute is TSWV tolerance/resistance similar to Georgia Green or Southern Runner.

SunOleic 97R is a replacement for SunOleic 95R and has a runner type growth habit and foliage color similar to Florunner and Sunrunner. It has an oleic oil chemistry similar to SunOleic 95R, approximately 80%. This oil chemistry provides greatly improved shelf-life for seed and products made from this seed. SunOleic 97R has no documented disease or pest resistance but appears to resist or tolerate tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) better than SunOleic 95R based on Florida data.

Flavor Runner 458 is a 'High Oleic' runner type variety released by Mycogen Co. The plant growth habit is prostrate with an alternate branching pattern. Flavor Runner 458 is similar to Floruner in regards to pod and seed color, seedling vigor, hull thickness, seed size, and disease and insect resistance.

Georgia Bold, a new large-seeded runner-type peanut (Arachis hypogaea L. subsp. hypogaea var. hypogaea) cultivar was released in 1997 by the Georgia Agricultural Experiment Stations. It was also developed at the University of Georgia, Coastal Plain Experiment Station in Tifton, Georgia. Georgia Bold has an excellent yield and grade combination. In 30 tests conducted at multiple locations in the southeastern United States from 1992 through 1996, Georgia Bold was found to be significantly higher in yield and dollar value by >15% over Florunner. It also resulted in a significantly higher grade percentage of total sound mature kernels (TSMK)than Florunner. Georgia Bold has moderate resistance to tomato spotted wilt tospovirus, and has significantly larger seed size than Florunner for both seed weight and percentage of extra large kernels (ELK).

Peanut Home Page