Forage Beet

Beta vulgaris L.

Order: Caryophyllales

Family: Chenopodiaceae

Names:

Beta is Latin for Beet.
Vulgaris is the Latin word meaning common.
Beetroot

Other Names:

Beet
Sugar Beet.

Summary:

An annual or biennial plant with a swollen, underground leaf base used as a forage and source of sugar for alcohol production.

Description:

Cotyledons:

Two.

Leaves:

Alternate, Lower leaves heart shaped at the base and form an erect rosette.
Stipules -
Petiole - Long.
Blade - Crinkly, broad, succulent, dark green, smooth edged, light veins.

Stems:

Flower head:

Flowers in small clusters forming a long, loose spike.

Flowers:

Bisexual.
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.
Petals -
Stamens - 5
Anthers -

Fruit:

Seeds:

Horizontal, lens shaped.

Roots:

Stout taproot.

Key Characters:

Biology:

Life cycle:

Annual or biennial herb.

Physiology:

Reproduction:

By seed.

Flowering times:

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:

None.

Hybrids:

Allelopathy:

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread mainly by intentional planting.

Origin and History:

Europe. Western Asia. North Africa.
Introduced as a forage crop.

Distribution:

ACT, NSW, NT, SA. QLD, TAS, VIC, WA.

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Habitats:

Climate:

Temperate. Mediterranean.

Soil:

Plant Associations:

Significance:

Beneficial:

Grown for alcohol production.
Fodder

Detrimental:

Toxicity:

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.

Symptoms:

Nitrate toxicity.
Oxalate toxicity.

Legislation:

None.

Management and Control:

Thresholds:

Eradication strategies:

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:

Related plants:

Beetroot (Beta vulgaris ssp. vulgaris)
Silver Beet (Beta vulgaris ssp. cicla)
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.

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.