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spinach

The botanical name for spinach is Spinacia oleracea. Spinacia comes from the Latin word for spine and refers to the prickly seed coat. The species name, oleracea, refers to a plant that is edible. True spinach has varying leaf shapes and textures. There are two major types of leaf textures. Smooth-leaf spinach produces light to dark-green leaves with an oblong shape. The leaves of savoy spinach are thicker, rounder, usually darker green, and range from very crinkled to only somewhat (the latter known as semi-savoyed). Breeders have crossbred both types so you may find a crinkled, savoyed leaf with the shape of a smooth-leaf type. An advantage one has over the other is that smooth-leaf types are easier to clean.