Swiss chard is one of four plants shared by the Beta vulgaris species and probably is the closest ancestral form of this species that grew in coastal Mediterranean. The earliest cultivated beet-like vegetable was probably grown for its leaves. Very popular with Mediterranean cooks, substitute for grape leaves in dolma wraps. Excellent steamed and with collards and kale. Diced fresh in salads. Chard is a variation of the Old French “cardon” for cardoon, a similar but unrelated vegetable grown for its celery-like leafy stalks. The Swiss part of its common name is also inaccurate as the crops origins are farther south in the coastal Mediterranean. Also known as silver beet and leaf beet.Also known as silver beet and leaf beet. Delicious chard recipes.