The spinach collection originates from the former Institute for Horticultural Plant Breeding (IVT), where it was used as a working collection for breeding purposes, in particular as a source for resistances to spinach downy mildew. The collection was adopted by CGN in 1987.

Since 1987 the collection has been extended with cultivated material from the Netherlands and abroad. More recently, expeditions were carried out in Central Asia (Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) in 2008 and the Trans Caucasus (Azerbaijan and Armenia) in 2011 to sample wild populations of  S. turkestanica and S. tetrandra, respectively. These expeditions were organized in cooperation with breeding companies from the Netherlands and abroad.