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Chard, Beta vulgaris var. cycla / Chenopodiaceae
This vegetable is probably native to the coastal regions of Europe, from the species Beta marine or sea beet, obtaining on the one side chard (var.cicla) and beetroot (var.vulgaris) on the other. The Arabs initiated the culture towards 600 B.C. Both the Greeks as the Romans appreciated chards, not only as food but also as a medicinal plant.

In Spain, the culture of chard has a given importance in some areas of the Mediterranean coast (Barcelona, Murcia, Valencia, and Málaga) and also in Badajoz, Madrid and Zaragoza.

In 1999 the annual production of chards totalled 47,703 tons. Chards export is quite insignificant, being France the chief country of destination.

The total surface dedicated to chard culture in Spain is 2,070 ha and the production estimated in 1999 by communities was as follows:

AreaHectaresTons
Barcelona45010,835
Murcia2449,625
Valencia2446,832
Badajoz3005,400
Málaga2304,600
Cádiz2493,840
Madrid1903,800
Zaragoza1632,771

Source: La Horticultura Española (2001) Sech.

Chard culture in Spain is centred in Barcelona and Murcia. We must highlight that the region of Murcia, in spite of having the same area of land cultivated as Valencia, fully exceeds the latter’s production. This species is cultivated in all the horticultural areas for local consumption; due to its high perishabillity (bad conservation), it is produced for trade at great distances.
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