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Edible Native Plants

 
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What percentage of your permaculture plots are native plants? And edible or medicinal? Just wondering if there are others out there who've devoted a portion of the food forest to native plants, which ones, and how it's going.

I'm in year 2 of a long-term permie project, so I'm just now beginning to get to the harvest stage, but here are my native edibles:

- Wild plum
- Chokecherry
- Paw paw
- Persimmon
- Serviceberry
- Blueberry
- Elderberry
- Hazelnut
- Red cedar (berries)
- Blackberry
- Hibiscus

And medicinals:
- Echinacea
- Hyssop

 
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Yes, I'm including some in my gardens as we. Early spring starts with wild leeks, fiddleheads and violets. Then there are lambsquarters, burdock,wild sorrel,blackberry,raspberry, birch ,maple, chokecherry trees. And edible flowers including dayilies,roses and flox. Bushes include elderberry too. I like to let things grow that appear but have to keep things in balance which is a real task. I'm also trying to learn more about wild plants and their uses.
 
Lisa Brunette
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Candace, that's a great list. Where are you located? I didn't realize there was a wild sorrel. For the birches and maples, do you tap them for syrup? Other uses?

I have sworn off daylilies though after a bad experience: https://permies.com/t/140497/flower-petals#1122682
 
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We try to grow at least 50% natives.
We grow a lot of native medicinals because we host our Herb School to our farm. (Echinacea, beebalm, yarrow, New England Aster, Goldenrod, St. Johns Wort, Mullein, etc)
We also grow the following:

- Aronia
- Paw paw
- Persimmon
- Blueberry
- Elderberry
- Hazelnut
- Blackberry
- Wild black raspberries
- Wild Grapes


We incorporate pollinator attracting plants such as milkweed as well as blue false indigo as a nitrogen fixer.
 
Candace Williams
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Lisa Brunette wrote:Candace, that's a great list. Where are you located? I didn't realize there was a wild sorrel. For the birches and maples, do you tap them for syrup? Other uses?
 Yes we make maple syrup in the way spring here in northern Michigan. This year we were clearing a slice of land south of our usual garden site and cut a couple of yellow birch down. I used some of the inner bark,raspberry leaves and horsetail to make a tasty tea. It's tricky to get the inner bark out but worth the effort.
 Didn't realize some have trouble with day lilies. I got mine from a pioneer homestead which is abandoned. Around here folks back when my grandpa was growing up only had flowers they could eat in their yards. Anyway sounds like the toxin in families must build up in those who eat them. There are some mushrooms that do that but I  avoid them. What people here call beefsteak are in that catagory.
I have sworn off daylilies though after a bad experience: https://permies.com/t/140497/flower-petals#1122682

 
Lisa Brunette
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Crystal,

That's admirable. We also have amorpha fruticosa - distributed throughout the orchard and next to the elderberries, as they are good companions. We also have the same medicinals as you - what is your herb school?

The natives are the easiest to grow, don't you think? We're probably closer to 75% natives, with a ubiquitous ground cover of violets, a row of eastern red cedar, and all of the fruit you mention minus aronia and raspberries. Have you had problems with pawpaw? I've heard they are difficult to pollinate.

What use to you get from wild grape? I didn't think there were any edible varieties.

Crystal Stevens wrote:We try to grow at least 50% natives.
We grow a lot of native medicinals because we host our Herb School to our farm. (Echinacea, beebalm, yarrow, New England Aster, Goldenrod, St. Johns Wort, Mullein, etc)
We also grow the following:

- Aronia
- Paw paw
- Persimmon
- Blueberry
- Elderberry
- Hazelnut
- Blackberry
- Wild black raspberries
- Wild Grapes


We incorporate pollinator attracting plants such as milkweed as well as blue false indigo as a nitrogen fixer.

 
pollinator
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Location: Denmark 57N
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fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation
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Around 90% It's much easier to write what isn't native. the fig tree isn't, the pawpaws that have germinated and will hopefully come to something are not, and neither is the walnut tree.
Most non natives that we like to grow over in the annual garden need the greenhouse or starting very early under lights or both! With potatoes being an exception.

Apples, Pears, Plums, Hazelnuts, Hawthorn, silver birch, Cherry, beach, elder, raspberries, red and blackcurrants, goosberries and rhubarb are. as are nettles, wood avons, goosegrass, fat hen, pineapple weed, dandilions, sorrel, wood sorrel, ramsons, strawberries, burdock, wild parsnips, yarrow, tansey, oxeye daisy and silverweed.
 
Lisa Brunette
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That's awesome, Skandi! For me here in the Midwestern U.S., it's the pawpaws that are native and the gooseberries that aren't. I wish I had a greenhouse. How much of your plot was intentional planting and how much volunteer? I have quite a few native volunteers: Sycamore, red bud, sensitive fern, horseweed, pokeweed, Virginia creeper, violets as a ground cover everywhere.

Skandi Rogers wrote:Around 90% It's much easier to write what isn't native. the fig tree isn't, the pawpaws that have germinated and will hopefully come to something are not, and neither is the walnut tree.
Most non natives that we like to grow over in the annual garden need the greenhouse or starting very early under lights or both! With potatoes being an exception.

Apples, Pears, Plums, Hazelnuts, Hawthorn, silver birch, Cherry, beach, elder, raspberries, red and blackcurrants, goosberries and rhubarb are. as are nettles, wood avons, goosegrass, fat hen, pineapple weed, dandilions, sorrel, wood sorrel, ramsons, strawberries, burdock, wild parsnips, yarrow, tansey, oxeye daisy and silverweed.

 
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We've been discovering so many species on our property (especially in July as things ripen). So far I've found:
- dewberry (dwarf red raspberry)
- raspberry
- alpine strawberry
- blackberry (I think... we'll see when they ripen)
- feral apples
- sugar maple
- yellow birch
- beaked hazelnut!!!

We haven't decided on a percentage to dedicate to native plants, but our foremost question when deciding on a new plant is whether there is native, or localized, version. We're currently planning the makeover of our front "lawn" into a food forest. The edges of the front yard are where a lot of the above berries can be found (southern slope of a valley) although the hazelnut are so far concentrated at the opposite end of the property (on the north-facing side of our "mountain").

Because of the unique nature of our forest (the Acadian Forest) and the changing climate in our region, we have to make difficult decisions on what plants to support in our forest as it begins to lose some of the qualities the boreal forest prefers. It begs the question of what is "native", and how far do we go to protect plants that are not ideally suited to the changing climate (whether native or not). I expect our forest will look very different once we're gone, I just hope we make the right decisions for whomever occupies the land after us.
 
Skandi Rogers
pollinator
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Location: Denmark 57N
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fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation
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Lisa Brunette wrote:That's awesome, Skandi! For me here in the Midwestern U.S., it's the pawpaws that are native and the gooseberries that aren't. I wish I had a greenhouse. How much of your plot was intentional planting and how much volunteer? I have quite a few native volunteers: Sycamore, red bud, sensitive fern, horseweed, pokeweed, Virginia creeper, violets as a ground cover everywhere.

Skandi Rogers wrote:Around 90% It's much easier to write what isn't native. the fig tree isn't, the pawpaws that have germinated and will hopefully come to something are not, and neither is the walnut tree.
Most non natives that we like to grow over in the annual garden need the greenhouse or starting very early under lights or both! With potatoes being an exception.

Apples, Pears, Plums, Hazelnuts, Hawthorn, silver birch, Cherry, beach, elder, raspberries, red and blackcurrants, goosberries and rhubarb are. as are nettles, wood avons, goosegrass, fat hen, pineapple weed, dandilions, sorrel, wood sorrel, ramsons, strawberries, burdock, wild parsnips, yarrow, tansey, oxeye daisy and silverweed.



All the trees are intentional, as are the strawberries and ramsons, the rest are just "weeds" or rather self sown food.
 
Lisa Brunette
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Julian,
That seems like a unique challenge and opportunity. Thanks for sharing. Are the feral apples edible right off the tree?

Julian Williams wrote:We've been discovering so many species on our property (especially in July as things ripen). So far I've found:
- dewberry (dwarf red raspberry)
- raspberry
- alpine strawberry
- blackberry (I think... we'll see when they ripen)
- feral apples
- sugar maple
- yellow birch
- beaked hazelnut!!!

We haven't decided on a percentage to dedicate to native plants, but our foremost question when deciding on a new plant is whether there is native, or localized, version. We're currently planning the makeover of our front "lawn" into a food forest. The edges of the front yard are where a lot of the above berries can be found (southern slope of a valley) although the hazelnut are so far concentrated at the opposite end of the property (on the north-facing side of our "mountain").

Because of the unique nature of our forest (the Acadian Forest) and the changing climate in our region, we have to make difficult decisions on what plants to support in our forest as it begins to lose some of the qualities the boreal forest prefers. It begs the question of what is "native", and how far do we go to protect plants that are not ideally suited to the changing climate (whether native or not). I expect our forest will look very different once we're gone, I just hope we make the right decisions for whomever occupies the land after us.

 
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