Beta vulgaris L. ssp. vulgaris or Beta vulgaris var. esculenta Salisb.
Beta is Latin for Beet.
Vulgaris is the Latin word meaning common.
Other Names:Sugar Beet.
Summary:An annual or biennial vegetable with a swollen, underground leaf base used as a vegetable.
Leaves:Alternate, Lower leaves heart shaped at the base and form an erect rosette.
Petiole - Long.
Blade - Crinkly, broad, succulent, dark green, smooth edged, light veins.
Flowers in small clusters forming a long, loose spike.
Ovary - Half inferior. Short style with 2-3 stigmas.
Sepals - Tubular, 5 lobed. Tube joined to the ovary and thickened and hardened when it surrounds the fruit.
Stamens - 5
Horizontal, lens shaped.
Annual or biennial herb.
Flowering times:Seed Biology and Germination:
Population Dynamics and Dispersal:
Spread mainly by intentional planting.
Origin and History:Europe. Western Asia. North Africa.
Introduced as a vegetable crop.
Distribution:ACT, NSW, NT, SA. QLD, TAS, VIC, WA.
Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.
Grown for alcohol production.
May contain toxic levels of nitrate and oxalate. Poisoning usually occurs after peculiar weather, spraying with hormone herbicides such as 2,4-D or where large quantities are consumed.
Management and Control:Thresholds:
Beetroot (Beta vulgaris ssp. vulgaris)
Wild Beet (Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima) is probably the wild parent of Silverbeet, Beetroot and Sugar Beet.
Plants of similar appearance:References:
Black, J.M. (1965). Flora of South Australia. (Government Printer, Adelaide, South Australia). P293. Diagram.
Everist, S.L. (1974). Poisonous Plants of Australia. (Angus and Robertson, Sydney). P141-142.
Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #171.3.
Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.