Bambara groundnut is a grain legume grown mainly by subsistence farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. It is cultivated for its subterranean pods, is extremely hardy and produces reasonable yields even under conditions of drought and low soil fertility. The pods are approximately 1.5 cm long, and may be wrinkled and slightly oval or round, containing one to two seeds. The color of the seeds varies from black, dark-brown, red, white, cream or a combination of these colours. At harvest, i.e. when the pods ripen, the plant is extracted from the soil, exposing the subterranean nuts.
Bambara groundnut is indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa where it is widely cultivated. The center of origin is most likely North-Eastern Nigeria and Northern Cameroon, in West Africa. The species is also grown to a lesser extent in some Asian countries such as India, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.