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Beta vulgaris (maritima)Sea Beet

By Leanne Downs13 August 2018

Sea Beet or Beta vulgaris (subspecies maritima) is a close relative of Beetroot and Swiss Chard and can be found over much of the UK. It is sometimes referred to as Wild Spinach.

Where can I find Sea Beet

Sea Beet can be found throughout Europe and in many parts of the UK. It is a coastal plant and is abundant in England, Wales and Ireland. In Scotland it can only be found in more Southern parts. Its preferred habitat is shingle beaches, cliff-tops and salt marshland.

When can I find Sea Beet

This wild edible can be found all year round at various stages of growth. Its leaves are best eaten young in the spring but can be eaten right through the year. The plant flowers in late summer.

Sea Beet leaves are glossy and can very to be quite large in size

How to identify Sea Beet

Sea Beet has thick leaves which are a rich medium green in colour. They are slightly shiny and can grow up to 20cm wide and 40cm long. However the young leaves can be as small as 5 x 2cm. The stems are sometimes reddish in colour and its flowers are green, growing on long stems. It rarely grows to be very tall, instead sprawling along the ground.

Uses for Sea Beet

It’s leaves can be used in a similar way to those of spinach – either stir fried, wilted or even eaten raw (though this is best when young). Its flowers and seeds are also edible and can be sprinkled over dishes such as salads, or cooked into stir fries and other recipes. It is best to only harvest small amounts from each plant to ensure that they continue to produce.

Sea Beet flowers in late summer

Leanne Downs

About Leanne Downs

Leanne Downs is the content editor for Thryve and works as an outdoor writer, blogger and photographer. She loves hiking, hillwalking and wild camping.

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