Chenopodiaceae Beta vulgaris L.
Source: Magness et al. 1971
Beets are grown primarly for the enlarged bulbous root which forms with the top of the enlarged root near or somewhat above the soil surface. The plant is normally a biennial, producing a rosette of leaves and the bulbous root one year, and a seed stalk the following year. Except for seed production, however, it is grown from seed as an annual. Plants are usually harvested for fresh market or processing when the near globular or oblate enlarged root is not more than 2 inches in diameter. At that stage the root is tender, but becomes harder and tougher with greater age. The beet develops best under cool conditions, so may be grown in winter in the far South, or in summer in the North.
Production in the U.S.: Fresh market 16,000 tons. Processing 190,000 tons.