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Useful Temperate Plants

Beta vulgaris (Sugar Beet Group)

L.

Amaranthaceae

+ Synonyms

Beta vulgaris altissima Döll

Beta vulgaris saccharifera Alef

Common Name: Sugar Beet

Beta vulgaris (Sugar Beet Group)
Growing plant
Photograph by: 4028mdk09
Creative Commons License
Beta vulgaris (Sugar Beet Group) Beta vulgaris (Sugar Beet Group)

General Information

Beta vulgaris (Sugar Beet Group) is an erect, biennial plant producing a rosette of leaves from a swollen rootstock. It grows around 60cm tall, with a flowering stem that can be 150cm or more tall.
Sugar beet is the second most important sugar producing crop in the world and is grown on a very large scale in the temperate zone. Although not usually grown in gardens, the roots and leaves are edible.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

A cultivated form of Beta vulgaris, it is not known in the wild

Habitat

Not known in a truly wild situation.

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitBiennial
Height0.60 m
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusCultivated

Cultivation Details

Beta vulgaris is originally a native of the warm temperate zone, though it has spread further north to the cold temperate zone. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 15 - 25°c, but can tolerate 4 - 35°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -6°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at 0°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 600 - 1,500mm, but tolerates 500 - 2,500mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
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
Title
Rare Vegetables for Garden and Table.
Publication
 
Author
Organ. J.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1960
ISBN
-
Description
Unusual vegetables that can be grown outdoors in Britain. A good guide.
,
37
Title
The Gardener's Assistant.
Publication
 
Author
Thompson. B.
Publisher
Blackie and Son.
Year
1878
ISBN
-
Description
Excellent general but extensive guide to gardening practices in the 19th century. A very good section on fruits and vegetables with many little known species.
]. 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
Title
Salads all the Year Round.
Publication
 
Author
Larkcom. J.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1980
ISBN
 
Description
A good and comprehensive guide to temperate salad plants, with full organic details of cultivation.
]. The optimum pH is 6.0 - 6.8, but the plant can tolerate 5 - 8.3[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Some salinity may be tolerated after the seedling stage. Beets are notable for their tolerance to manganese toxicity[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
]. 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
Title
Vegetables
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Macmillan Reference Books, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0 333 62640 0
Description
Excellent and easily read book with good information and an excellent collection of photos of vegetables from around the world, including many unusual species.
].
Sugar beet is widely cultivated as a commercial sugar crop in temperate climates. About one third of all sugar production in the world is derived from this plant[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
]. There are several named varieties[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
].

Edible Uses

Root - raw or cooked. The root contains 16 - 20% sugar and this is often extracted and used as a sweetener[
142
Title
Plants Consumed by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Brouk. B.
Publisher
Academic Press
Year
1975
ISBN
0-12-136450-x
Description
Readable but not very comprehensive.
]. This plant is a major source of sugar in many temperate areas. The root can also be used as a vegetable. When cooked it is quite tender, but with some fibrous strands. It has a very sweet flavour that some people find too sweet[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. The raw root is rather tough, but makes a pleasant addition to salads when grated finely[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Leaves - raw or cooked. A very acceptable spinach substitute[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Some people dislike the raw leaves since they can leave an unpleasant taste in the mouth[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

Although little used in modern herbalism, the plant has a long history of folk use, especially in the treatment of tumours[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
]. Beet juice was formerly recommended as a remedy for anaemia and yellow jaundice, and was put into the nostrils to purge the head, used as ear drops to clear ringing ears, and as a mouthwash to alleviate toothache[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].

The root is carminative, emmenagogue, haemostatic, stomachic and is used as a tonic for women[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
]. The root can be used as part of the diet, or the juice can be extracted and used as a health-promoting drink[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. At least one litre of the juice from red-rooted forms must be taken each day in order to stimulate the immune system[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. The juice is prescribed by herbalists as part of a cancer-treatment regime[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
].

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
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].

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
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].
The juice has been applied topically to treat ulcers[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].
Beet juice in vinegar is said to rid the scalp of dandruff, and has been recommended to prevent falling hair[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].

A decoction is used as a purgative by those who suffer from haemorrhoids in South Africa[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

A good companion for dwarf beans, onions and kohl rabi[
18
Title
Companion Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B.
Publisher
Watkins
Year
1979
ISBN
-
Description
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
]. Its growth is inhibited by runner beans, charlock and field mustard[
18
Title
Companion Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B.
Publisher
Watkins
Year
1979
ISBN
-
Description
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
].

Other Uses

Sugar beet has excellent potential as a biomass crop, both as a source of sugar and also using the plant residue for fuel[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
]. The sugar can be fermented to produce ethanol, which can be used as a fuel.

Propagation

Seed - sow mid spring in situ.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2019-07-21. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Beta+vulgaris+%28Sugar+Beet+Group%29>

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