Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player


Search in the Encyclopedia

Sea beet


plant: 30 to 80 centimeters


flower: green or reddish


June through September


self and cross-pollination, spread by wind and insects


seed, new rosettes in leaf axils


perennial, annual, biennial

  • Dut: Strandbiet
  • Lat: Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima
  • Eng: Sea beet
  • Ger: Wildrübe
Sea beet, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

Sea beet

Sea beet used to be very rare in the Netherlands. The plant grows mostly in southwestern Europe. The Netherlands was too far north. But now the plant is also found along the coasts of the Baltic Sea. It only grows along coasts, being very dependent upon a silty environment. Nowadays, sea beet is even cultivated as a silty vegetable. It is the forefather of all the other beets we eat, such as red beet and sugar beet. Sea beet grows in nutrient-rich soil, such as the flood mark at the foot of dunes and dikes and in sandy inlets, including harbors. Breaks in the dike have often created suitable habitats and helped this plant to flourish.

On Texel

Sea beet, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

Texel's silty vegetable farmer Marc Rijsselberghe began to experiment with cultivating sea beet on a large scale. In December 2010, he received a large amount of funds to support his project. He is working together with the University of Amsterdam and Wageningen, as well as a few other institutes. Other vegetables are also being tested, such as sea-kale and potatoes specifically suitable for silty farmland. Due to the increasing amount of land that is being inundated with saltwater seepage due to sea-level rising, farming silty vegetables is becoming a very important and interesting market.