Spinach is a biennial plant that grows to about 30 cm in length. It has alternate leaves which are simple, ovate to triangular and they do vary in sizes ranging from 2-30 cm long and about 1-15 cm in width (Chitwood et al). The plant has small leaves at the apex of the stem while the larger leaves are found at the bottom of the plant stem. It has inconspicuous flowers of 3-4mm in diameter that are yellow-green that matures into a lumpy fruit of diameter 5-10mm. The fruit is small, hard and dry. Spinach is a dicot plant. It is a flowering plant that has two cotyledons with a stem which grows by the deposit on the outside. It has a floral formula of (Dudareva and Eran).
Scientifically, Spinach is known by the binomial name Spinacia oleracea. It is an edible flowering plant native to the Western Asia and Central. It is consumed as a vegetable as its leaves are edible. The Scientific classification of spinach is as follows, Kingdom-Plantae, order-Caryophyllales, family-Amaranthaceae, Subfamily-Chenopodioideae, Genus-Spinacia, Species-S.oleracea (Chitwood et al).
Spinach originated from ancient Persia and spread to other parts of the world in the year 647 AD. Spinach was introduced in Sicily by the Saracens in the year AD 827. Within the Arab Mediterranean, the spinach became a popular vegetable arriving in Spain towards the termination of the 12th Century whereby it was referred to as rais al-buqul. With the 13th Century, a Prickly-seeded Spinach form was known in Germany. It was until the 14th Century that the Spinach first appeared in France and England. Spinach gained quick popularity as it appeared in the early spring, a time when other vegetables were scarce, and also the consumption of other foods had been discouraged by the Lenten dietary restrictions. Spinach juice was served to the French soldiers who had been weakened by hemorrhage during World War 1(Chitwood et al).
Currently, the United States is the second largest spinach producer in the world with a 3% output of the world following China that account for an 85% of the output. Within the US, California, Arizona and the New Jersey are the major producing spinach states. Between the years 2004 and 2006, the US growers produced about 867 million pounds of Spinach. The farm value of the Spinach crop in the US averaged $175 million in the years 2004 and 2006 of which 94% was the fresh-market spinach. With the stronger Demand over the past Decade, the values of the fresh market spinach have more than doubled. The state of California accounts three-fourths of both the processing and fresh spinach crops value (Dudareva and Eran).
Spinach has a high nutritional value especially when steamed, quickly boiled or frozen, fresh as only a 100g provides 23 calories (Chitwood et al). It is a rich source of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Iron, Folate, and Manganese. It is a good source of Daily Value of the B vitamins, Vitamin E and the Dietary fiber. Spinach contains a palpable quantity of iron attaining the Daily Value of 21% in a 100g amount of the raw Spinach. Calcium is also contained in the Spinach. The consumption of spinach is paramount as it is highly nutritional.
Chitwood, Jessica, et al. "Effect of Temperature on Seed Germination in Spinach (Spinacia Oleracea)." Hortscience 51.12 (2016): 1475-1478. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Feb. 2017.
Dudareva, N. A., and Eran Pichersky. Biology of Floral Scent. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2006. Discovery eBooks. Web. 12 Feb. 2017.
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