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(spinach), a genus of herbaceous annual or biennial plants of the family Chenopodiaceae. There are three species in Europe, Asia, and North America. The garden spinach (S. oleraceae) is cultivated in regions having a temperate climate. In the USSR it is raised in southern parts of the European portion, in the Caucasus, and in Middle Asia.
The spinach plant is 25–50 cm tall. At the beginning of vegetation, it yields a rosette of leaves, which are used as food at this stage. The plant later produces a flowering stalk. The leaves are triangularly hastate or elongate-oval and range from smooth to crimped. Male plants have less foliage and form the stalk earlier than female plants. The male flowers are gathered into panicled inflorescences, and the female ones are located in the leaf axils. Spinach is a relatively cold-resistant early-ripening plant. The seeds sprout at 4°C. They are sown in open ground at the rate of 30–50 kg per hectare (ha). Sowing may be repeated several times a summer. The yield is 150–300 quintals per ha. To make maximum use of the planting area in greenhouses and hotbeds, spinach is planted in the interrows of crops that grow slowly during the beginning of the vegetative period. Spinach leaves are rich in proteins and carbohydrates; they also contain vitamin C, B-com-plex vitamins, carotene, and salts of iron and phosphorus. Spinach is used widely in cooking, canning, and the production of juice.
REFERENCESMarkov, V. M. Ovoshchevodstvo. Moscow, 1966.
Spravochnik po ovoshchevodstvu. Edited by V. A. Bryzgalov. Leningrad, 1971.