Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is an edible flowering plant in the family Amaranthaceae. It is native to central and western Asia.
It is an annual plant (rarely biennial), which grows to a height of up to 30 cm. Spinach may survive over winter in temperate regions. The leaves are alternate, simple, ovate to triangular, very variable in size from about 2–30 cm long and 1–15 cm broad, with larger leaves at the base of the plant and small leaves higher on the flowering stem. The flowers are inconspicuous, yellow-green, 3–4 mm diameter, maturing into a small, hard, dry, lumpy fruit cluster 5–10 mm across containing several seeds.
Common spinach, Spinacia oleracea, was long considered to be in the family Chenopodiaceae, but in 2003, that family was merged into the family Amaranthaceae in the order Caryophyllales. Within the family Amaranthaceae, Amaranthoideae and Chenopodioideae are now subfamilies, for the amaranths and the chenopods, respectively.