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Beta vulgaris cicla - (L.)W.D.J.Koch.

Common Name Spinach Beet
Family Chenopodiaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known in a truly wild situation.
Range A cultivated form of B. vulgaris maritima that is grown for its edible leaves.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Beta vulgaris cicla Spinach Beet


http://www.hear.org/starr/
Beta vulgaris cicla Spinach Beet
http://www.hear.org/starr/

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Beta vulgaris cicla is a BIENNIAL growing to 0.9 m (3ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Stem.
Edible Uses:

Leaves and leaf stems - raw or cooked like spinach[2, 16, 27, 33]. A very good spinach substitute, the leaves are large and easily harvested, yields are high[K]. Some people dislike the raw leaves since they can leave an unpleasant taste in the mouth[K]. Flowering stem - cooked. A broccoli substitute[K].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.



Although little used in modern herbalism, beet has a long history of folk use, especially in the treatment of tumours[269]. A decoction prepared from the seed has been used as a remedy for tumours of the intestines. The seed, boiled in water, is said to cure genital tumours[269]. The juice or other parts of the plant is said to help in the treatment of tumours, leukaemia and other forms of cancer such as cancer of the breast, oesophagus, glands, head, intestines, leg, lip, lung, prostate, rectum, spleen, stomach, and uterus[269]. Some figure that betacyanin and anthocyanin are important in the exchange of substances of cancer cells; others note two main components of the amines, choline and its oxidation product betaine, whose absence produces tumours in mice[269]. The juice has been applied to ulcers[269]. A decoction is used as a purgative by those who suffer from haemorrhoids in South Africa[269]. Leaves and roots used as an emmenagogue[269]. Plant effective in the treatment of feline ascariasis[269]. In the old days, beet juice was recommended as a remedy for anaemia and yellow jaundice, and, put into the nostrils to purge the head, clear ringing ears, and alleviate toothache[269]. Beet juice in vinegar was said to rid the scalp of dandruff as scurf, and was recommended to prevent falling hair[269]. Juice of the white beet was said to clear obstructions of the liver and spleen[269]. Culpepper (1653) recommended it for treating headache and vertigo as well as all affections of the brain[269].

Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in sun or light shade in moist soils but prefers a rich well-drained light neutral to alkaline soil[33, 37]. Beets grow well in a variety of soils, growing best in a deep, friable well-drained soil abundant with organic matter, but doing poorly on clay. They prefer an open position and a light well-drained soil[52]. The optimum pH is 6.0 - 6.8, but neutral and alkaline soils are tolerated in some areas. Some salinity may be tolerated after the seedling stage. Beets are notable for their tolerance to manganese toxicity[269]. Beet is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation of 23 to 315cm, an average annual temperature range of 5.0 to 26.6°C and a pH of 4.2 to 8.2[269]. Plants are tolerant of saline soils and respond positively if salt is added to non-saline soils at a rate of about 30g per square metre[264]. Spinach beet is often cultivated by gardeners for its edible leaves[16], it does not make a very good commercial crop since the leaves quickly droop after being harvested and so do not stand the journey to market. This plant is a good hot weather substitute for spinach[183]. The leaves are available all year round from successional sowings if the winters are not too severe[K]. In severe winters it is possible to dig up some plants and move them to a protected area such as a greenhouse in order to produce fresh leaves[1]. Plants usually self-sow freely if they are well-sited and the ground is disturbed by hoeing etc[K]. A good companion for dwarf beans, onions and kohl rabi[18], though the growth of spinach beet is inhibited by runner beans, charlock and field mustard[18].

Propagation

Seed - sow in situ in early April for the summer crop and again in early July to August for the winter and spring crop. It is also possible to obtain an earlier crop by sowing the seed in a tray in a greenhouse in March and planting out in April/May[264].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Beta lomatogonaBeet20
Beta trigynaBeet20
Beta vulgaris altissimaSugar Beet42
Beta vulgaris cracaBeetroot42
Beta vulgaris flavescensSwiss Chard42
Beta vulgaris maritimaSea Beet22
Castanopsis tibetana 20
Clematis tibetana 02
Corylus feroxHimalayan Hazel, Tibetan hazelnut20
Cotoneaster conspicuusTibetan Cotoneaster, Cotoneaster00
Cyphomandra betaceaTree Tomato30
Hippophae tibetanaTibetan Sea Buckthorn43
Rubus thibetanus 20
Sorbus thibeticaTibetan whitebeam30
Taraxacum tibetanum 12

 

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Expert comment

Author

(L.)W.D.J.Koch.

Botanical References

200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Louise Wisniewski   Thu Feb 15 2007

Very good! PLEASE, WHERE CAN I GET SEED OF WILD BETA VULGARIS (SEA BEET) FROM? IT IS A MOST WONDERFUL EDIBLE PLANT, FAR SUPERIOR TO SPINACH OR CHARD! I WOULD LOVE TO GROW IT! HAVE ONLY EATEN THE WILD LEAVES, LIGHTLY STEAMED, YUMMY! Louise Wisniewski

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Sun Feb 18 2007

The only seed supplier I know of for Beta vulgaris maritima is B & T World Seeds. Thier web address is http://www.b-and-t-world-seeds.com/

   Jul 13 2011 12:00AM

I have found this an excellent crop on my allotment to use in the winter when few other greens grow. I am not good at growing the cabbage family but this is pretty foolproof so long as you don't let snow lie on it and it has many tasty uses.

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