Beta vulgaris L.

Last updated: 16 April 2015

Scientific Name

Beta vulgaris L.


Beta alba DC., Beta altissima Steud., Beta atriplicifolia Rouy, Beta bengalensis Roxb., Beta brasiliensis Voss [Invalid], Beta carnulosa Gren., Beta cicla (L.) L., Beta cicla (L.) Pers., Beta crispa Tratt., Beta decumbens Moench, Beta esculenta Salisb., Beta foliosa Ehrenb. ex Steud. [Invalid], Beta hortensis Mill., Beta hybrida Andrz., Beta incarnata Steud., Beta lutea Steud., Beta marina Crantz, Beta maritima L., Beta noeana Bunge ex Boiss., Beta orientalis Roth, Beta orientalis L., Beta purpurea Steud., Beta rapa Dumort., Beta rapacea Hegetschw.,   Beta rosea Steud., Beta sativa Bernh., Beta stricta K.Koch, Beta sulcata Gasp., Beta triflora Salisb. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Bit [2]
English Garden beet, beetroot [2], beet, red beet , white sugar beet [3], fodder beet, mangel, mangel –wurzel,mangold, sugarbeet, yellow beet [4]
China Tien cai gen, tien tsai, chun ta tsai [3], hung choy tau, kwan taat choy, tim choy [4], hong niu pi cai, tian cai, zi luo bo, hong cai tou, zhu na cai, hai bai cai [5]
India Chiquander, chukandar [4]
Indonesia Bit [2]
Thailand Phakkat-daeng (Central); phakkat-farang (Bangkok) [2] [5]
Philippines Remolatsa (Bisaya) [2]
Vietnam C[ar]i d[uw][owf]ng, c[ur] d[eef]n [2]
Japan Kaen sai , sangojuna [3], aka kabu, biito, biitsu, kaensai, shokuyou biito [5]
Nepal Cukandar, guliyo muulaa [5]
Denmark Bederoe, rødbede [5]
Sweden Beta, rödbeta [5]
Netherlands Biet, kroot, kroten, rode biet [5]
Finland Punajuurikas [5]
Poland Burak zwyczajny [5]
France Betterave potagère [2], betterave rouge potagère [5]
Germany Rübe, rote beete, rote bete, rote rübe, rote rüben, runkelrübe [5]
Italy Barba, barbabietola, barbabietola da insalata, barbabietola rossa, barbabietole da orto, bietola a radice rossa, bietola comune, bietola rossa, bietola rossa e gialla [3]
Portugal Beterraba, beterraba de salada, beterraba-vermelha, patarrábia, terraba [5]
Russia Svëkla obyknovennaia, svëkla stolóvaia [5]
Spain Remolacha, remolacha colorada, remolacha de mesa, remolacha roja [5]
Republic Czech Flepa obecná [5]
Israel Selek adom [5].

Geographical Distributions

Beta vulgaris occur widely along the shores of the Mediterranean, extending eastwards as far as Indonesia and westwards along the coasts of the Atlantic up to southern Norway. [2]

Botanical Description

B. vulgaris is a member of the family Amaranthaceae [1]. It ishighly variable, robust, erect and usually biennial herb [2].

In vegetative plants, the leaves grow in a basal rosette and have long petioles. The leaves are arranged alternately, often ovate and cordate, measure 20-40 cm long, wavy margins except in spinach beet, leaf tissue puckered between nerves, nearly hairless, green, dark green or red and often shiny. The leaves in the inflorescence pass into the linear bracts. [2]

The inflorescence is with a long, paniculate, more or less open spike and measures 50-150 cm long. The flowers are greenish, sessile, bisexual, usually 2-3(-5) together and subtended by minute bracts. The perianth is with 5-partite and becomes thicker at the base as fruits ripen. There are 5 stamens. The ovary is 1-celled and surrounded by a disk. The short pistil is with 2-3 stigmas. [2]

The fruit is 1-seeded, enclosed within the swollen corky perianth-bases and measuring 3-7 mm in diametre where 1-6 fruits adhered in groups called glomerules or seedballs. The brown kidney-shaped seed is 1.5-3 mm in diametre and measures 1.5 mm thick. [2]

The main root is long, stout, tapered, side-roots which form a dense and with an extensive root system in the top 25 cm of the soil. The hypocotyl and the upper part of the main root are conspicuously swollen, being globular, flattened and cylindrical or tapering. The adventitious roots are occurring in two opposite rows on the lower part. The swollen root consists of the alternating layers of strongly coloured conductive tissue and light coloured storage tissue. [2]


B. vulgaris was taken into cultivation in the eastern Mediterranean or the Middle East and first mentioned in the literature in Mesopotamia in the 9th Century BC. It followed by the early trade routes to East Asia, reaching India in classical times and China in 850 AD. [2]

Temperatures over 25°C adversely affect the growth and colour development of B. vulgaris. An elevation of 600-1000 m altitudes in the tropics is the minimum for profitable production. B. vulgaris tolerates higher temperatures. It requires a fertile and moist soil for a good growth. It prefers a neutral to slightly alkaline pH. As it originates from sea-shores, it is tolerant to limited concentrations of salt. [2]

Presently, B. vulgaris is grown for their roots, petioles and leaves throughout the world. [2]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of B. vulgaris L.[2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Beta vulgaris L.[homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Apr 18; cited 2015 Apr 6]. Available from:
  2. Siemonsma JS, Piluek K, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 8. Vegetables. Wageningen, Netherlands: Pudoc Scientific Publishers, 1993; p. 82–86.
  3. Umberto Q. CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology (5 Volume Set). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1999. p. 297.
  4. Ong HC. Vegetables for Health and Healing. Kuala Lumpur: Utusan Publications; 2008. p.44.
  5. Philippines medicinal plants. Beet. Beta vulgaris Linn. [homepage on the Internet] c2014. [updated 2014 Nov; cited 2015 Apr 16]. Available from
  6. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of Medicinal Plants Used in Malaysia. Volume 1. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC-IMR; 2002. p.109.