Beetroot vs Beet: Is There a Difference?

Written by August Buck
Published: July 10, 2022
Image Credit luis c. jimenez del rio/Shutterstock.com
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You may have heard a number of different names for one particular plant, is there truly a difference between a beetroot vs beet? Is there a regional difference between these two names, or are these actually two separate plants that have different traits and characteristics from one another? 

In this article, we will answer the question of whether or not beetroots and beets are the same plants. We will go over all of their physical differences and similarities, what their common uses are, and the various varieties of beets available for planting or purchase nowadays. Let’s get started and learn everything there is to learn about beetroots and beets now! 

Comparing Beetroot vs Beet

Beetroot vs Beet
Canada and the United States call the beet plant “beets”, while most other locations in the world call it the beetroot plant. 

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BeetrootBeet
ClassificationBeta vulgarisBeta vulgaris
DescriptionDeep red or purple root that bleeds on things when cut into, and has rings when sliced. Can also come in white or golden shades, and has a distinct earthy flavor when eatenCommonly a deep red or purple in color, with large edible leaves sticking out from the ground. Frequently bleeds on things when cut into, and has rings when sliced; refers to the entire beet plant as opposed to just the root
UsesUsed in culinary applications, dyeing processes, and for sugar production. Also used as biofuel, though in a limited capacityThe entire plant is edible and has many culinary uses. Also used to naturally dye a number of things, including other food products
Where Name is UsedBritain and the UK; other parts of the worldCanada and the United States
Variations and Other NamesSea beets, table beets, garden beets, dinner beetsRed beets, golden beets, white beets

Key Differences Between Beetroot vs Beet

Beetroot vs Beet
The beet or beetroot plant grows underground, as a bulbous vegetable.

LifetimeStock/Shutterstock.com

There are very few differences between beetroots and beets. In fact, they are identical plants to one another, but beets and beet roots are called such in different parts of the world. For example, Canada and the United States call the beet plant “beets”, while most other locations in the world call it the beetroot plant. 

Let’s check out all of the similarities and differences between these two plants in detail now. 

Beetroot vs Beet: Classification

There is no difference in the classification of the beetroot versus the classification of the beet. They both belong to the beet species, known scientifically as Beta vulgaris. This plant belongs to the amaranth family, which hosts a number of different species, including the beetroot. You will also find the chard plant and the sugar beet plant in this family as well. 

Beetroot vs Beet
Both of these plants are used in a number of culinary capacities, though you can use the entire beet plant, including the leaves, while beetroot often refers to only using the root or bulb of this particular plant. 

Ollinka/Shutterstock.com

Beetroot vs Beet: Description

Both beetroot and beets look the same, though one may argue that the name beet describes the entire plant, while the name beetroot only describes the roots or fruit of the plant. However, besides this slight discrepancy in the name, these plants are identical in their description as well as their very different types. 

For example, the beet or beetroot plant grows underground, as a bulbous vegetable. It comes in a variety of colors, including white, red, and yellow. It has a distinctly earthy flavor, and you can even eat the greens, which may be a slight difference from the name beetroot vs beet. One striking feature about both of these plants is the fact that beets often bleed when they are cut into, especially if they are of the red or purple variety. 

Beetroot vs Beet: Uses

Beetroot vs Beet
The United States and Canada frequently call this particular plant the beet plant, dropping the “root” portion of the name.

LeOPL/Shutterstock.com

As you may have already guessed, the uses of beetroot and beets are strikingly similar. In fact, both of these plants are used in a number of culinary capacities, though you can use the entire beet plant, including the leaves, while beetroot often refers to only using the root or bulb of this particular plant. 

Not only can you cook with beets, you can also dye with them as well. The vibrant color found within the beetroot is used to dye or color a variety of things, including other foods. There are also beet varieties that are used specifically in producing table sugar, which in turn becomes a potential biofuel, though more study is needed. 

Beetroot vs Beet: Common Names

Beetroot vs Beet
There are a number of different names for the beetroot or beet plant, depending on where you are.

julie deshaies/Shutterstock.com

The most obvious difference between the beetroot and the beet plant has to be their names. While they are obviously the same thing and are named very similarly to one another, there appears to be a regional difference as to why we call the beetroot its name, and the beet its name. 

For example, the United States and Canada frequently call this particular plant the beet plant, dropping the “root” portion of the name. However, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the world, the beet plant is commonly called the beetroot. There are also a number of different names for this particular plant besides beets, so let’s talk about some of those now. 

Beetroot vs Beet: Varieties and Variations

Beetroot vs Beet
While they are obviously the same thing and are named very similarly to one another, there appears to be a regional difference as to why we call the beetroot its name, and the beet its name.

luis c. jimenez del rio/Shutterstock.com

There are a number of different names for the beetroot or beet plant, depending on where you are. For example, in North America, the beet plant is commonly referred to as beets, or more specifically the variety of beets that someone is talking about. This includes golden beets, red beets, and sugar beets. Elsewhere in the world, beetroots are called sea beets, table beets, garden beets, and dinner beets.

beet sugar vs cane sugar

luis c. jimenez del rio/Shutterstock.com
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About the Author

I am a non-binary freelance writer working full-time in Oregon. Graduating Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre and a specialization in creative writing, I have an invested interest in a variety of topics, particularly Pacific Northwest history. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping along the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my home kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast iron skillet.

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