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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

28 July, 2016

Sea Beet: the wild spinach

Looking down along the shore line, especially on mudflats or at the base of cliffs, you will undoubtedly soon come across this very common plant of the sea shore, the sea beet (Beta vulgaris). It is widespread along the coasts of Dorset and especially in our large harbours. It also had the ability to grow on sea walls and in some unusual places.
Not an attractive plant, perhaps, but the long yellowish flower spikes look quite impressive when they are all out together. Flowering from July to September it is one you can hardly miss on your day out at the seaside.
Sea beet is an ancestor of several of our present day food crops; beetroot, chard and sugar beet for example. Sea beet has edible leaves, they can be eaten raw or lightly boiled, and are described in Wikipedia as having a "pleasant taste" and so this plant is also known as wild spinach.
Sea Beet: the wild spinach