chard Beta vulgaris ssp cicla. Also called Swiss chard, leaf beet, seakale beet, white beet, and spinach beet. It is related to sugar beet, but it produces large leaves and fleshy stalks, rather than a bulbous root. Its leaves taste something like spinach, but are coarser. There are many varieties, some verging towards the leafy sort (the old European, Indian, and Japanese leaf beets), and others where more emphasis is on the stalk (the Swiss chards). The stalks may be a pale celadon colour or vivid scarlet (rhubarb or ruby chard). The stalks and leaves are generally cooked separately, in different ways.