Arachis hypogaea (peanut or groundnut) is an AABB allotetraploid whose precise ancestry is not yet clear. Its closest diploid relatives are the annual and perennial wild species included with it in the section Arachis. Variation in these species for 11 different enzymes was studied by starch-gel electrophoresis. Differences attributed to at least 13 genetic loci were found among eight enzymes, while three enzymes appeared uniform throughout the section. Values for Nei's genetic distance were calculated for all pairs of species and were used to estimate relationships. All diploid species, apart from two whose validity had previously been questioned, could be distinguished by their overall zymotypes, but few contained unique alleles. When species were grouped by their mean genetic distances, they formed two clusters, which agreed reasonably well with the division of the section into annual versus perennial species. The single B-genome species was an outlier within the annual group. A. hypogaea showed fixed heterozygosity at four loci (in ssp. hypogaea) or six loci (in ssp. fastigiata), which agrees with previous conclusions that the peanut is an allotetraploid. None of the diploids included in this survey could be conclusively identified as donors of either the A or the B genome to the tetraploids. The two subspecies of A. hypogaea differed consistently in two of the thirteen putative loci studied. This may call into question the simple hypothesis that A. hypogaea originated from just two diploid species.