Chard or Swiss chard (/ɑːrd/; Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris, Cicla Group and Flavescens Group) is a green leafy vegetable. In the cultivars of the Flavescens Group, the leaf stalks are large and often prepared separately from the leaf blade;[1] the Cicla Group is the leafy spinach beet. The leaf blade can be green or reddish; the leaf stalks are usually white or a colorful yellow or red.[2]

Red-stemmed chard
SpeciesBeta vulgaris
SubspeciesBeta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris
Cultivar groupCicla Group, Flavescens Group
OriginSea beet (Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima)
Cultivar group membersMany; see text.

Chard, like other green leafy vegetables, has highly nutritious leaves, making it a popular component of healthy diets.[3] Chard has been used in cooking for centuries, but because it is the same species as beetroot, the common names that cooks and cultures have used for chard may be confusing;[4] it has many common names, such as silver beet, perpetual spinach, beet spinach, seakale beet, or leaf beet.[5][6]


Chard was first described in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus as Beta vulgaris var. cicla.[7] Its taxonomic rank has changed many times, so it was treated as a subspecies, convariety, or variety of Beta vulgaris. (Some of the numerous synonyms are Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla (L.) W.D.J. Koch (Cicla Group), B. vulgaris subsp. cicla (L.) W.D.J. Koch var. cicla L., B. vulgaris var. cycla (L.) Ulrich, B. vulgaris subsp. vulgaris (Leaf Beet Group), B. vulgaris subsp. vulgaris (Spinach Beet Group), B. vulgaris subsp. cicla (L.) W.D.J. Koch (Flavescens Group), B. vulgaris subsp. cicla (L.) W.D.J. Koch var. flavescens (Lam.) DC., B. vulgaris L. subsp. vulgaris (Leaf Beet Group), B. vulgaris subsp. vulgaris (Swiss Chard Group)).[8] The accepted name for all beet cultivars, like chard, sugar beet and beetroot, is Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris.[9][10] They are cultivated descendants of the sea beet, Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima. Chard belongs to the chenopods, which are now mostly included in the family Amaranthaceae (sensu lato).

The two rankless cultivar groups for chard are the Cicla Group for the leafy spinach beet and the Flavescens Group for the stalky Swiss chard.[8]


The word "chard" descends from the 14th-century French carde, from Latin carduus meaning artichoke thistle (or cardoon, including the artichoke).[11]

The origin of the adjective "Swiss" is unclear since this coastal plant is native to Sicily, not Switzerland. Some attribute the name to it having been first described by a Swiss botanist, either Gaspard Bauhin[12] or Karl Koch[13] (although the latter was German, not Swiss). Chard is used in traditional Swiss cuisine, however, namely in a dish called capuns from the canton of Grisons.

Swiss chard for sale at an outdoor market

Growth and harvesting

Chard is a biennial. Clusters of chard seeds are usually sown, in the Northern Hemisphere between June and October, depending on the desired harvesting period. Chard can be harvested while the leaves are young and tender or after maturity when they are larger and have slightly tougher stems. Harvesting is a continuous process, as most species of chard produce three or more crops.[14] Raw chard is extremely perishable.

Swiss chard, cooked, no salt
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy84 kJ (20 kcal)
4.13 g
Sugars1.1 g
Dietary fiber2.1 g
0.08 g
1.88 g
Vitamin A equiv.
306 μg
3652 μg
11015 μg
Vitamin A6124 IU
Thiamine (B1)
0.034 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.086 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.36 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.163 mg
Vitamin B6
0.085 mg
Folate (B9)
9 μg
28.7 mg
Vitamin C
18 mg
Vitamin E
1.89 mg
Vitamin K
327.3 μg
58 mg
2.26 mg
86 mg
0.334 mg
33 mg
549 mg
179 mg
0.33 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water92.65 g

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.


Cultivars of chard include green forms, such as 'Lucullus' and 'Fordhook Giant,' as well as red-ribbed forms, such as 'Ruby Chard' and 'Rhubarb Chard.' [2] The red-ribbed forms are attractive in the garden, but as a general rule, the older green forms tend to outproduce the colorful hybrids. 'Rainbow Chard' is a mix of colored varieties often mistaken for a variety unto itself.[2]

Chard has shiny, green, ribbed leaves, with petioles that range from white to yellow to red, depending on the cultivar.[2]

Chard may be harvested in the garden all summer by cutting individual leaves as needed. It does not bolt. In the Northern Hemisphere, chard is typically ready to harvest as early as April and lasts until a hard frost, typically below 25 degrees. It is one of the hardier leafy greens, with a harvest season typically lasting longer than kale, spinach, or baby greens.

Culinary use

Fresh chard can be used raw in salads, stirfries, soups or omelets.[15] The raw leaves can be used like a tortilla wrap.[15] Chard leaves and stalks are typically boiled or sautéed; the bitterness fades with cooking.[15]

Nutritional content

In a 100-gram (3.5 oz) serving, raw Swiss chard provides 84 kilojoules (20 kcal) of food energy and has rich content (> 19% of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamins A, K, and C, with 122%, 1038%, and 50%, respectively, of the DV.[3] Also having significant content in raw chard are vitamin E and the dietary minerals magnesium, manganese, iron, and potassium.[3] Raw chard has a low content of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and dietary fiber.[3]

When chard is boiled, vitamin and mineral contents are reduced compared to raw chard but still supply significant proportions of the DV (table).


  1. Librarie Larousse, ed. (1984). Larousse Gastronomique: The World's Greatest Cooking Encyclopedia. The Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited.
  2. "Swiss chard varieties". Cornell Garden Based Learning. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University. 2016.
  3. "Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Chard per 100 grams, USDA National Nutrient Database, version SR-21". Conde Nast. 2014. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
  4. "Swiss chard". Growing Guide. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University. 2006.
  5. "Beta vulgaris (Leaf Beet Group)". Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO. 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  6. "Production guidelines for Swiss chard" (PDF). Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Republic of South Africa. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  7. Beta vulgaris var. cicla at Tropicos, accessed 2014-02-27
  8. Sorting Beta names at MMPND Archived 2013-05-04 at the Wayback Machine
  9. Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris at Tropicos, accessed, 2015-02-27
  10. Beta vulgaris L. subsp. vulgaris. In: Uotila, P. (2011): Chenopodiaceae (pro parte majore). – In: Euro+Med Plantbase, accessed, 2014-02-27
  11. Chard, Online Etymological Dictionary
  12. Forget Hip Kale, Get Your Green Fix From Swiss Chard Archived 2016-12-25 at the Wayback Machine, Clifford Wright, Zester Daily.
  13. Chard, Centre for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture
  14. Dobbs, Liz (2012). "It's chard to beet". The Garden. Royal Horticultural Society. 137 (6): 54.
  15. "All about Swiss chard"., Dietitians of Canada. 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.