I live in zone six and just acquired my ½ acre. I am working out my planting list now. I have my fruits and nuts worked out but are thinking of trees that can be used as pot herbs and salads. Martin Crawford was showing in a video some things he used as lettuce replacements that were trees. Any ideas would be great.
I am the first generation of my family to grow up on the grid eating out of the super market. I hope to be the last.
You might want to try perennial "tree" collards- they are not really a tree- they get to be about 2 feet tall- but they are about the toughest vegetable in my food forest garden. They are gaining in popularity on the West Coast and are really quite delicious- a lot like regular collard greens and good for salads, slaws and stir frys. I would guess they can survive in your hardiness zone, but I'm not certain. (I live in zone 8.) They are also incredibly nutritious and high in protein and calcium. They even resist slug and aphid attacks- unlike other Brassicas! John Jeavons on tree collards: "contains the same amount of general protein (not amino acids) as milk and 50%-100% more calcium than milk, yet produce up to 6 times the cups per unit of area".
Martin mentioned in an interview or his book hat his favourite salad tree was "Lime Tree" tillia species. Not sure the hardiness but it is on my list of things to look into. I think another name of the tree is Basswood.
martin crawford talks a lot about littleleaf linden, tilia cordata, as a good salad plant... he keeps them coppiced low to have a fresh supply of tender leaves, an edible hedge... he uses them like lettuce... another good one is the chinese mahogany toona sinensis... he uses this one raw and cooked as well... i guess it has a garlic flavor... cheers ! both of these trees are fully hardy... i know the chinese mahogany is hardy to zone 5 and I think the linden is hardier yet...
Just checked crawfords book; for "trees with edible leaves" the only ones listed are the two that gobeaguru mentioned.
Tilia is used as a salad crop and listed as zone 2-5. Several species are listed; americana (basswood), cordata (small leafed lime), platyphylllos (large leaved lime) and tomentosa (silver leaved lime). The cordata type is noted as having the best quality salad leaves.
toona sinensis (Chinese Cedar) notes the leaves are usually cooked. Zone 5.
I am on the hunt for tilia cordata, as usual finding a Canadian source looks like it will be challenge.
Tilia cordata grows quite happily in zone 9 in Portugal, complete with it's super-hot, dry summers.
We have one which we bought last year but it's not well enough established yet to start pulling leaves off it. Tilia flowers are very popular for tea here. The trees are planted along roadsides in the city, and you will see old folk out on the pavements with ladders so they can climb up and harvest the flowers. The local farm shop sell them, but they are a bit pricey and they usually only sell quite tall ones with no low side branches, and I can't bear the thought of buying one and then chopping the top off to make it go bushy.
What about the moringa. mentioned by Chellle a lot of threads back i think tha is a tree and if i remember right the leaves are tremndously nutrative. I should look it up before writing. agri rose macaskie.
I planted a couple basswoods last year. Something is eating the leaves off of them as fast as they grow. If I don't stop is soon, they will not survive. Having said that, the few leaves I tried tasted OK.
Rose of Sharon has good leaves when they first leaf out. They get tought pretty quick though. The flowers are good. Double check before you poison yourself, but I'm pretty sure any of the mallow/hibiscus family are edible. All of the ones I've tried were good.
Redbud leaves are another that are good raw or cooked when they are young and tender.
Grapes/blackberries/raspberries/greenbrier/rose are not trees, but will co-exist with them just fine. All have edible leaves and/or shoots in the spring.
Mulberry leaves are supposed to be OK cooked, but not to be eaten raw. I haven't really tried them.
There are others, but that's all I can think of for now.
I read, a fair while ago now, that trees are capable of putting a nasty taste into their leaves if they are very attacked by insects or animals, and that they can pass information that it might be a good idea to do the same on to nearby trees. The comment was made by some one commenting plants ability to comunicate certan information to eachother, there is a horror film about this. So your deliciouse salad leaf may sometimes be bitter and the bitterness is not its normal state but a reaction to a predator. I have noticed this with elm leaves, i have a habit of chewing them and infact elm leaf is used traditionally in the north of spain as salad. They are like lime leaves in taste, as are mulberry leaves. I used to and still do a bit but should not, eat leaves without knowing if I could or not.
I have checked out on moringo leaves and they are eaten and of very high nutritional value. It is a pretty hot country tree though. I have looked up curry leaved trees and they are eaten too, both choopped small and eaten fresh and fried as the first step in making a curry and fried and sprinkled on food. I t is meant to be a lovely smelling tree, lemony, but does not survive too much frost . I found out from the behavior of plants on my balcony that some some plants, i have a lot of succulents, i filled muy balconies befor ei read about permaculture and thought of growign food on them, survive a day or two and more of frost but they dont survive being frozen day after day. So dont despair if sensitive things have had one or two or more days of frost, it is still worth bringing them in and seeing if they will survive it instead of saying it must be too late and leaving them to indure more days of frost. If the leaves of your curry leafed tree die in spring, wait they will likely as not regrow. Peopl ealso eat the leaves of the keffir lime as flavouring to dishes. THte fruit is not juicy but its zest is good so if you can grow citrus fruits in you district a keffir lime. agri rose macaskie.
burra maluca I bought one and the dear ate the top off, so if you have deer, then you dont have to do the dirty deed yourself. I have heard those who say it is good for trees to have their tops cut off. agri rose macaskie .
Goji berry bushes have an edible leaf that can be used in salads...or as a tea. The berries, of course, are a superfood - highest source of beta carotene on the planet, plus they have all essential aminos and minerals.
The dried berries at health food stores will usually germinate easily.
yukkiuri_kani How do you get the gopji berrries to germinate? I have tried to seperate out the seed when i eat the berries and then put it on soil but had no success doing this. It seems a bit mean to grow the one thing the tibetans can export. Suppose everyone else is so what does it matter. talking of teathe tea tree just looked it up it is the camelia sinensis. agri rose macaskie.
Don't feel bad growing goji berries. The "Tibetan" gojis do not come from Tibet. That is merely a marketing name. I drive a Chevy "Malibu", and believe me, it was not built in Malibu. I'd have to install a roof rack if I wanted to transport a surf board. The exported gojis are grown thousands of miles away from Tibet, but the catchy name brings a higher price from the round-eyes across the ocean.
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
Moringa is a plant which needs at least subtropical temperatures as do curry leave trees. I had a toona grown from seed, which then decided to die, don't know what was wrong, but it was only 3 cm high.