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Uses

Toxic parts

The leaves of most varieties of spinach are high in oxalic acid[1]. Although not toxic, this substance does lock up certain minerals in a meal, especially calcium, making them unavailable to the body. Therefore mineral deficiencies can result from eating too much of any leaf that contains oxalic acid. However, the mineral content of spinach leaves is quite high so the disbenifits are to a large extent outweighed by the benefits. There are also special low-oxalic varieties of spinach that have been developed. Cooking the leaves will also reduce the content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[2].

Edible uses

Notes

Leaves - raw or cooked[3][4][5][6][7]. Tender young leaves can be added to salads, older leaves are used as greens or added to soups etc[8][9]. The leaves contain oxalic acid (6 - 8% in young leaves, 23 - 27% in the cotyledons)[1], see the notes above on toxicity. A nutritional analysis of the leaves is available[1].

Seeds - raw or cooked. It can be sprouted and added to salads[8].

Chlorophyll extracted from the leaves is used as an edible green dye[10].

Unknown part

Leaves

Material uses

A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves[11].

Unknown part

Dye

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The plant is carminative and laxative[1]. In experiments it has been shown to have hypoglycaemic properties[1]. It has been used in the treatment of urinary calculi[12].

The leaves have been used in the treatment of febrile conditions, inflammation of the lungs and the bowels[12].

The seeds are laxative and cooling[12]. They have been used in the treatment of difficult breathing, inflammation of the liver and jaundice[12].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow in situ from March to June for a summer crop. Make successional sowings, perhaps once a month, to ensure a continuity of supply. The seed germinates within about 2 weeks and the first leaves can be harvested about 6 weeks later. Seed is sown in situ during August and September for a winter crop.

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



Cultivation

Plants grow best and produce their heaviest crop of leaves on a nitrogen-rich soil[5][6][13]. They dislike very heavy or very light soils[6]. They also dislike acid soils, preferring a neutral to slightly alkaline soil[13]. Plants require plenty of moisture in the growing season, dry summers causing the plants to quickly run to seed[14]. Summer crops do best in light shade to encourage more leaf production before the plant goes to seed[14], winter crops require a warm dry sunny position[3][14].

Young plants are hardy to about -9°c[13]. Spinach is often cultivated for its edible leaves, there are some named varieties[7][8]. These varieties can be grouped into two main types as detailed below:-

    Forms with prickly seeds. These are the more primitive forms. Their leaves are more lobed and they are in general more cold tolerant and also more resistant of summer heat[15]. They were more often used to produce a crop in the winter[13][15].
    Forms with round seeds have been developed in cultivation, These have broader leaves, tend to be less cold hardy and were also more prone to bolt in hot weather[15]. They were used mainly for the summer crop[13]. Most new cultivars are of the round seeded variety and these have been developed to be more resistant to bolting in hot weather, more cold tolerant, to produce more leaves and also to be lower in calcium oxalate which causes bitterness and also has negative nutritional effects upon the body[15].

Some modern varieties have been developed that are low in oxalic acid. Edible leaves can be obtained all year round from successional sowings[13]. The summer varieties tend to run to seed fairly quickly, especially in hot dry summers and so you need to make successional sowings every few weeks if a constant supply is required. Winter varieties provide leaves for a longer period, though they soon run to seed when the weather warms up.

Spinach grows well with strawberries[16][17]. It also grows well with cabbages, onions, peas and celery[9]. A fast-growing plant, the summer crop can be interplanted between rows of slower growing plants such as Brussels sprouts. The spinach would have been harvested before the other crop needs the extra space[13]. Spinach is a bad companion for grapes and hyssop[9].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Spinacia oleracea. 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 Spinacia oleracea.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Spinacia oleracea
Genus
Spinacia
Family
Chenopodiaceae
Imported References
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
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    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

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    "image:Spinazie vrouwelijke plant (Spinacia oleracea female plant).jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Spinazie vrouwelijke plant (Spinacia oleracea female plant).jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


    "image:Spinazie vrouwelijke plant (Spinacia oleracea female plant).jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Spinazie vrouwelijke plant (Spinacia oleracea female plant).jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

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    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.21.31.41.51.6 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    2. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.13.2 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.2 Simons. New Vegetable Growers Handbook. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-050-0 (1977-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.16.26.3 Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant. Blackie and Son. (1878-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.2 Bianchini. F., Corbetta. F. and Pistoia. M. Fruits of the Earth. ()
    8. ? 8.08.18.28.3 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.29.3 Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting. Cassell Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-304-34324-2 (1993-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.1 Brouk. B. Plants Consumed by Man. Academic Press ISBN 0-12-136450-x (1975-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.1 Polunin. O. Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide. Oxford University Press ISBN 0192176218 (1969-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.112.212.312.4 Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.113.213.313.413.513.613.7 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.114.2 Vilmorin. A. The Vegetable Garden. Ten Speed Press ISBN 0-89815-041-8 ()
    15. ? 15.015.115.215.3 Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Vegetables Macmillan Reference Books, London. ISBN 0 333 62640 0 (1995-00-00)
    16. ? Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants. Watkins (1979-00-00)
    17. ? Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)

    "image:Spinazie vrouwelijke plant (Spinacia oleracea female plant).jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    Facts about "Spinacia oleracea"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyChenopodiaceae +
    Belongs to genusSpinacia +
    Has binomial nameSpinacia oleracea +
    Has common nameSpinach +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partUnknown part +, Leaves + and Seed +
    Has edible useColouring + and Unknown use +
    Has fertility typeSelf sterile + and Wind +
    Has flowers of typeDioecious +
    Has growth rateVigorous +
    Has hardiness zone5 +
    Has imageSpinazie vrouwelijke plant (Spinacia oleracea female plant).jpg +
    Has lifecycle typeAnnual +
    Has material partUnknown part +
    Has material useDye +
    Has mature height0.3 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useCarminative +, Febrifuge +, Hypoglycaemic + and Laxative +
    Has primary imageSpinazie vrouwelijke plant (Spinacia oleracea female plant).jpg +
    Has search namespinacia oleracea + and spinach +
    Has shade toleranceLight shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy + and Clay +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy nameSpinacia oleracea +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedNo +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
    Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Spinacia oleracea +, Spinacia oleracea +, Spinacia oleracea +, Spinacia oleracea +, Spinacia oleracea +, Spinacia oleracea +, Spinacia oleracea + and Spinacia oleracea +