Chard (Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla), is a leafy green vegetable often used in Mediterranean cooking. Chard is also known by its many common names such as Swiss chard, silverbeet, perpetual spinach, spinach beet, crab beet, bright lights, seakale beet, and mangold. In South Africa, it is simply called spinach. Chard and the other beets are chenopods, a group which is either its own family Chenopodiaceae or a subfamily within the Amaranthaceae. Although the leaves of chard are eaten, it is in the same species as beetroot (garden beet), which is grown primarily for its edible roots. Both are cultivated descendants of the sea beet, Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima, but they were selected for different characteristics.
Chard has been bred to have highly nutritious leaves and is considered to be one of the healthiest vegetables available, making it a popular addition to healthy diets (like other green leafy vegetables). Chard has been around for centuries, but because of its similarity to beets it is difficult to determine the exact evolution of the different varieties of chard.