Information on Sea Beet

Common Name: Sea Beet
Scientific Name: Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima
Irish Name: Laíon na trá
Family Group: Chenopodiaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Sea Beet is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


This is a fleshy, dark green perennial which grows in large clumps in coastal habitats such as shingle, salt-marsh margins, old sea walls, grasslands and sandy places.  It's a hairless plant with large, shiny, leathery leaves whose shapes vary from triangular to heart-shaped and are untoothed. These are borne on reddish stems and are ideally suited to withstand salt conditions.  Their tiny, green or reddish purple, petalless flowers appear from June to September and are tiny, in loose, slender spikes.  This is a native plant belonging to the family Chenopodiaceae. 

My first record of this plant is from 2005 at Bishop's Quarter, Co Clare and I photographed it at that time. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Sea Beet
Sea Beet

Sea beet is the precursor of common vegetable plants such as beetroot, Swiss chard and also our former agricultural crop, sugar beet.  It is also related to spinach and I have found recipes for many dishes which use this plant such as soups and quiche.