English Spinach

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Spinach is a generic term for certain vegetables which are grown, cooked and consumed for the high content of minerals and vitamins in their leaves. The term spinach may refer to plants from five different families, including English or common spinach (Spinacia oleracea), silverbeet or Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris), French spinach or orach (Atriplex hortensis), New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia expansa), Chinese spinach (Amaranthus gangeticus), water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica) and Indianspinach (Basella rubra).
English spinach and silverbeet belong to the family Chenopodiaceae. In Western Australia, the term spinach normally refers to English spinach. This is less vigorous and smaller in leaf than silverbeet. It is also softer and has a green rather than a white midrib. English spinach has a lower tolerance to heat than silverbeet.
Spinach is a minor crop in Western Australia but demand has increased in recent years. However, there has been competition with spinach due to the increase in consumption of Asian vegetables. Spinach is more popular in the eastern States, where it is widely used in pre-packs.

J.R. Burt
Department of Agriculture - Western Australia