Silverbeet

Beta vulgaris L. ssp. cicla (L.) Koch

Order: Caryophyllales

Family: Chenopodiaceae

Names:

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

Other Names:

Chard

Summary:

An annual or biennial vegetable with large leaves used as a vegetable.

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.
Introduced as a vegetable crop.

Distribution:

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

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Habitats:

Climate:

Temperate. Mediterranean.

Soil:

Plant Associations:

Significance:

Beneficial:

Green and cooked vegetable.

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)
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). #171.1.

Acknowledgments:

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