The Hidden Half



Spinach, Spinacia oleracea, is a flower that is best known for its edible leaves. It is thought the plant originated in Iran and then moved across the world until finally reaching the UK in the 14th Century.

The food became popular as it could be harvested in early spring when many other vegetables were not yet available. 

Thanks to the popular 1930’s cartoon character, many will be familiar with Popeye the Sailor’s love for spinach which gave him a boost of superhuman strength whenever he popped open a tin and ate its leafy green contents.

Image showing the root structure of a spinach plant.

The leaves are rich in vitamins such as vitamin K which is important for maintaining bone health. Although spinach is also high in iron, the form of iron present is not easily absorbed by our bodies.

This plant has a dense root system and has become bound by the pot. Similar to other plants in the Hidden Half, bean and pea, the roots originate from one main tap root in the centre of the pot.

3D Root Architecture

This video shows the root system of a spinach plant following 20 days of growth within a soil column. Although, pot bound the main tap root (highlighted in orange) develops roughly in the vertical with seminal roots branching from this main tap root and developing lateral roots to explore the horizontal soil regions.

The Hidden Half

Hounsfield Facility (A03)
Sutton Bonington Campus
University of Nottingham
Loughborough, Leics, U.K.
LE12 5RD

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