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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 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, yellow or red.[2]

Chard, like other green leafy vegetables, has highly nutritious leaves. 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;[3] it has many common names, such as silver beet, perpetual spinach, beet spinach, seakale beet, or leaf beet.[4][5]


Chard was first described in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus as Beta vulgaris var. cicla.[6] Its taxonomic rank has changed many times: it has been treated as a subspecies, a convariety, and a variety of Beta vulgaris. (Among the numerous synonyms for it 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)).[7] The accepted name for all beet cultivars, like chard, sugar beet and beetroot, is Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris.[8][9] 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.[7]


The word "chard" descends from the 14th-century French carde, from Latin carduus meaning artichoke thistle (or cardoon which also includes the artichoke) itself.[10]

The origin of the adjective "Swiss" is unclear. Some attribute the name to it having been first described by a Swiss botanist, either Gaspard Bauhin[11] or Karl Koch[12] (although the latter was German, not Swiss). Be it as it may chard is used in Swiss cuisine, e.g. in the traditional dish capuns from the canton of Grisons.

Swiss chard for sale at an outdoor market

Growth and harvesting[edit]

Chard is a biennial. Clusters of chard seeds are usually sown, in the Northern Hemisphere, between June and October, the exact time 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 continual process, as most species of chard produce three or more crops.[13]

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 estimated using US recommendations for adults,[14] except for potassium, which is estimated based on expert recommendation from the National Academies.[15]


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.[citation needed] '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 in color 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. In the Northern Hemisphere, chard is typically ready to harvest as early as April and lasts until there is a hard frost, typically below 25 °F (-4 °C).[citation needed] It is one of the hardier leafy greens, with a harvest season that typically lasts longer than that of kale, spinach, or baby greens.

Culinary use[edit]

Fresh chard can be used raw in salads, stirfries, soups or omelets.[16] The raw leaves can be used like a tortilla wrap.[16] Chard leaves and stalks are typically boiled or sautéed; the bitterness fades with cooking.[16]

It is one of the most common ingredients of Croatian cuisine in Dalmatia region, being known as "queen of the Dalmatian garden" and used in various ways (boiled, in stews, in Soparnik etc.). [17]

Nutritional content[edit]

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.[18] Also having significant content in raw chard are dietary fiber, vitamin K and the dietary minerals magnesium, manganese, iron, and potassium.[18] Raw chard has a low content of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.[18]

Cooked chard is 93% water, 4% carbohydrates, 2% protein, and contains negligible fat. In a reference 100 g serving, cooked chard supplies 20 calories, with vitamin and mineral contents reduced compared to raw chard, but still present in significant proportions of the DV, especially for vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, and magnesium (see table).


  1. ^ Librarie Larousse, ed. (1984). Larousse Gastronomique: The World's Greatest Cooking Encyclopedia. The Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited.
  2. ^ a b c d "Swiss chard varieties". Cornell Garden Based Learning. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University. 2016.
  3. ^ "Swiss chard". Growing Guide. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University. 2006.
  4. ^ "Beta vulgaris (Leaf Beet Group)". Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO. 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Production guidelines for Swiss chard" (PDF). Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Republic of South Africa. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 April 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  6. ^ Beta vulgaris var. cicla at Tropicos, accessed 2014-02-27
  7. ^ a b Sorting Beta names at MMPND Archived 2013-05-04 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris at Tropicos, accessed, 2015-02-27
  9. ^ Beta vulgaris L. subsp. vulgaris. In: Uotila, P. (2011): Chenopodiaceae (pro parte majore). – In: Euro+Med Plantbase, accessed, 2014-02-27
  10. ^ Chard, Online Etymological Dictionary
  11. ^ Forget Hip Kale, Get Your Green Fix From Swiss Chard Archived 2016-12-25 at the Wayback Machine, Clifford Wright, Zester Daily.
  12. ^ Chard, Centre for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture
  13. ^ Dobbs, Liz (2012). "It's chard to beet". The Garden. 137 (6). Royal Horticultural Society: 54.
  14. ^ United States Food and Drug Administration (2024). "Daily Value on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels". Retrieved 2024-03-28.
  15. ^ National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Food and Nutrition Board; Committee to Review the Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium (2019). Oria, Maria; Harrison, Meghan; Stallings, Virginia A. (eds.). Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium. The National Academies Collection: Reports funded by National Institutes of Health. Washington, DC: National Academies Press (US). ISBN 978-0-309-48834-1. PMID 30844154.
  16. ^ a b c "All about Swiss chard". UnlockFood.ca, Dietitians of Canada. 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  17. ^ "Blitva – Queen of the Dalmatian garden". croatiaweek.com. Croatia Week. 5 August 2023. Retrieved 20 August 2023.
  18. ^ a b c "Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Chard per 100 grams, USDA National Nutrient Database, version SR-21". Conde Nast. 2014. Retrieved 2013-04-15.