Botanical Name: Beta lomatogona
Synonyms: Beta vulgaris
Common Names: Beet or Beet root
Habitat: Beta lomatogona is native to Western Asia and the Caucasus. It grows well on Sunny slopes.
Beta lomatogona is an erect, herbaceous, perennial plant producing one to several stems 40 – 50cm tall from a long, woody root.
The roots can contain up to 30% sugars and have potential as an economic crop or for use in breeding programmes.
This genus consists of annual, biennial, or perennial species, often with fleshy, thickened roots. The stems grow erect or procumbent. The alternate leaves are petiolate or sessile, with ovate-cordate to rhombic-cuneate leaf blades, their margins mostly entire, with obtuse apex.
The inflorescences are long spikelike cymes or glomerules. Bracts can be leaflike (Beta macrorhiza) or very small, the upper half of the inflorescence often without bracts. The bisexual flowers consist of (3-) 5 basally connate perianth segments (either greenish, dorsally ridged and with hooded tips, or petaloid and whitish, yellowish, reddish, or greenish), 5 stamens, and a semi-inferior ovary with 2-3 (-5) stigmas.
The fruit (utricle) is immersed in the swollen, hardened perianth base. The fruit is indehiscent or dehiscence eventually circumscissile. The horizontal seed is orbicular or reniform, with dark brown, smooth or glossy seed coat. The seed contains an annular embryo and copious perisperm.
Cultivation: Species in this genus generally succeed in most soils but prefer a light neutral to alkaline soil.
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination usually takes place within 2 – 3 weeks at 15°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer.
Beet (Beta vulgaris) has an immense economic importance as sugar crop (Sugar beet), and a great importance as a vegetable (Chard, Beetroot), and as fodder plant (Mangelwurzel). This species is also used as medicinal plant, ornamental plant, dye and as renewable resource. It is the crop species with the highest economical value in the order Caryophyllales. Therefore, the members of Beta and the related genus Patellifolia are interesting as Crop wild relatives.
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