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Beta vulgaris craca - Alef.

Common Name Beetroot
Family Chenopodiaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known in a truly wild situation.
Range A cultivated form of B. vulgaris maritima that is grown for its edible root.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Beta vulgaris craca Beetroot


Beta vulgaris craca Beetroot

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Beta vulgaris craca is a BIENNIAL growing to 0.9 m (3ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

B. vulgaris rapacea.

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Root - raw or cooked[2, 16, 27, 132]. Well-grown roots are sweet and tender, especially when young, and can be grated and used in salads. Beetroots are traditionally boiled until tender then pickled in vinegar and used in salads. The roots can also be cooked and used as a vegetable, they are sweet and delicious when baked[K]. The root contains up to 8% sugar[143]. The root is tasteless when grown on very wet soils and dry when grown on clay soils[132]. Immature roots can be harvested in the summer and early autumn for immediate use, these are usually much more tender than the older roots[K]. Mature roots can be left in the ground all winter and harvested as required, though they might suffer damage in severe winters[K]. Alternatively, they are harvested in late autumn or early winter and will store for up to 6 months in a cool but not dry frost-free place[K]. Leaves - raw or cooked like spinach[183]. A reasonable spinach substitute, though harvesting leaves from growing plants can reduce yields of the roots[K]. Some people dislike the raw leaves since they can leave an unpleasant taste in the mouth[K]. A nutritional analysis is available[218].

Composition
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Fresh weight)
  • 45 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 86.4%
  • Protein: 3.2g; Fat: 0.4g; Carbohydrate: 8.1g; Fibre: 3.8g; Ash: 1.9g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 114mg; Phosphorus: 34mg; Iron: 3.1mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 3152mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.07mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.22mg; Niacin: 0.6mg; B6: 0mg; C: 50mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes: The figures for Vitamin a are said to be milligrammes.

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antitumor;  Carminative;  Emmenagogue;  Haemostatic;  Stomachic;  Tonic.

Although little used in modern herbalism, beet has a long history of folk use, especially in the treatment of tumours[269]. The root of white-rooted forms contain betaine which promotes the regeneration of liver cells and the metabolism of fat cells[254]. The root of red-rooted forms contains betanin - an anthocyanin similar to those found in red wine - which is partly responsible for red beet's immune-enhancing effect[254]. The root is carminative, haemostatic, stomachic and a tonic for women[218]. The root can be used as part of the diet, or the juice can be extracted and used as a health-promoting drink[254]. At least one litre of the juice from red-rooted forms must be taken each day in order to stimulate the immune system[254]. The juice is prescribed by herbalists as part of a cancer-treatment regime[254]. 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[269]. 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[269]. 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[269]. The juice has been applied to ulcers[269]. A decoction is used as a purgative by those who suffer from haemorrhoids in South Africa[269]. Leaves and roots used as an emmenagogue[269]. Plant effective in the treatment of feline ascariasis[269]. 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[269]. Beet juice in vinegar was said to rid the scalp of dandruff as scurf, and was recommended to prevent falling hair[269].

Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

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[33, 37]. 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[52]. 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[269]. 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[269]. 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[264]. Beetroot plants are generally hardy in Britain and can be left outdoors in the soil in most winters, though prolonged cold weather or severe winters can damage the roots. If the plants are exposed to prolonged temperatures below -10°c they will quickly run to seed[200]. This also applies to the young plants of most beetroot varieties if they are sown in early spring - a short period where temperatures fall below zero can fool the plant into believing that there has been a winter and it will then try to flower and produce seed. There are, however, come varieties, such as 'Bolthardy', that are more resistant to bolting and so more suited to these early sowings[200, 264]. The beetroot is widely cultivated, especially in temperate zones, for its edible root. There are two basic forms, those with rounded roots and those with elongated roots with many named varieties of each form. The roots can be available all year round from successional sowings. A fast-growing plant, some cultivars can produce a root ready for harvesting within 7 weeks from sowing the seed[264]. Most beetroot seed is actually a cluster of several seeds, though monogerm varieties have been produced that only have one seed - these monogerm varieties are less likely to require thinning once they have germinated[264]. A good companion for dwarf beans, onions and kohl rabi[18, 201]. Its growth is inhibited by runner beans, charlock and field mustard[18, 201].

Propagation

Seed - pre-soaking for 12 hours in warm water prior to sowing encourages mare rapid and even germination[264]. For the earliest crop, ready to harvest in late spring, sow the seed in situ in late February or early March, giving it some protection such as a cloche. The first outdoor sowings can be made in March in situ to provide a crop from early summer onwards. For both of these sowings it is important to choose varieties that are resistant to bolting in case there is a cold spell in the spring. Sowings for the main crop can be made in April to early June to provide roots for autumn, winter and early spring use. Late sowings of fast maturing varieties can be made in June and early July in order to provide fresh young roots in the autumn.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Beta lomatogonaBeet20
Beta trigynaBeet20
Beta vulgaris altissimaSugar Beet42
Beta vulgaris ciclaSpinach Beet42
Beta vulgaris flavescensSwiss Chard42
Beta vulgaris maritimaSea Beet22
Castanopsis tibetana 20
Clematis tibetana 02
Corylus feroxHimalayan Hazel, Tibetan hazelnut20
Cotoneaster conspicuusTibetan Cotoneaster, Cotoneaster00
Cyphomandra betaceaTree Tomato30
Hippophae tibetanaTibetan Sea Buckthorn43
Rubus thibetanus 20
Sorbus thibeticaTibetan whitebeam30
Taraxacum tibetanum 12

 

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Expert comment

Author

Alef.

Botanical References

200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Anne Fox   Wed Nov 7 2007

Thank you for your information.I wanted to know whether I could eat beetroot leaves and I am grateful for your notes.

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