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Uses

Edible uses

Notes

Leaves and leaf stems - raw or cooked like spinach[1][2][3][4]. 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].

Leaves

Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Beta vulgaris cicla.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Although little used in modern herbalism, beet has a long history of folk use, especially in the treatment of tumours[5].

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[5]. 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[5]. 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[5]. The juice has been applied to ulcers[5]. A decoction is used as a purgative by those who suffer from haemorrhoids in South Africa[5]. Leaves and roots used as an emmenagogue[5]. Plant effective in the treatment of feline ascariasis[5].

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[5]. Beet juice in vinegar was said to rid the scalp of dandruff as scurf, and was recommended to prevent falling hair[5]. Juice of the white beet was said to clear obstructions of the liver and spleen[5]. Culpepper (1653) recommended it for treating headache and vertigo as well as all affections of the brain[5].
There are no medicinal uses listed for Beta vulgaris cicla.

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

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[6].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Beta vulgaris cicla. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

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[4][7]. 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[8]. 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[5]. 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[5]. 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[6].

Spinach beet is often cultivated by gardeners for its edible leaves[2], 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[9]. 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[10]. 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[11], though the growth of spinach beet is inhibited by runner beans, charlock and field mustard[11].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Beta vulgaris cicla. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Beta vulgaris cicla.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Beta vulgaris cicla
Genus
Beta
Family
Chenopodiaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
5
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Salinity
Ecosystems
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Life
Deciduous or Evergreen
?
Herbaceous or Woody
?
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
?
Mature Size
Fertility
?
Pollinators
Flower Colour
?
Flower Type











References

  1. ? 1.01.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
  2. ? 2.02.12.2 Simons. New Vegetable Growers Handbook. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-050-0 (1977-00-00)
  3. ? 3.03.1 Vilmorin. A. The Vegetable Garden. Ten Speed Press ISBN 0-89815-041-8 ()
  4. ? 4.04.14.2 Organ. J. Rare Vegetables for Garden and Table. Faber (1960-00-00)
  5. ? 5.005.015.025.035.045.055.065.075.085.095.105.115.125.135.14 Duke. J. Handbook of Energy Crops - (1983-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.1 Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Vegetables Macmillan Reference Books, London. ISBN 0 333 62640 0 (1995-00-00)
  7. ? Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant. Blackie and Son. (1878-00-00)
  8. ? Larkcom. J. Salads all the Year Round. Hamlyn (1980-00-00)
  9. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  10. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.1 Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants. Watkins (1979-00-00)
  12. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)