Thursday, January 14, 2010

Shade-loving perennial edibles

I told you I would do it. A follow up to my quick blurb about shade loving plants. I spent the last 2 1/2 hours compiling this list of shade-loving perennials from the Plants for a Future database. The plants have the following qualities: perennial (don't need replanting year after year), survive in "deep shade," and have an edibility score of 1 or more. PFAF gives plants an edibility score from 0-5, 0 being not edible and 5 being very edible. The following plants have at least some edible part (leaf, root, tuber, fruit, shoots, etc.), but they may need to be cooked or prepared in a certain way. Some of these plants may have poisonous parts, or be poisonous when consumed raw. As always, do your own research and consult an expert when in doubt. Also, be warned that many plants go by the same common names, and while some may be edible, others may be poisonous. Always use scientific names when matching plants.

I looked over the descriptions briefly as I compiled this list, and the Tsi (which I already mentioned) and the Wall Lettuce both look promising as year round greens, where they will grow.

The benefit of shade loving and shade tolerant plants is that they can be grown under fruit and nut trees (have you ever driven by an orchard to see nothing but dirt or weeds underneath the trees). But orchards aren't the only ones that suffer from that; just look at traditional gardens: corn, carrots, etc. have to be evenly spaced to ensure proper lighting and watering.

Shade grown plants can be a great source of leafy greens, as well as carb-rich tubers and roots. As an extra bonus, many shade loving plants work well as winter crops (either being harvested specifically in the winter, or being harvestable year round).

Some of these plants may not have high yields. Some of them might not even taste good. I recommend tasting anything you intend to plant before you plant it to make sure it's worth the time and energy you have to put in, or the space it will take up (that's the thing with a perennial garden: things are intended to be permanent, and it's not a question of simply not planting the things you don't like next year).

Before jumping straight into the list, I wanted to suggest some books on the topic of shade gardening: Taylor's 50 Best Perennials for Shade, Making the Most of Shade, Taylor's Guide to Shade Gardening, and The Complete Shade Gardener. I haven't read them yet, but they've received good reviews and are on my "to read" list. They might not have a lot of information on edibles (I won't know until I pour over them), but they're likely to have helpful information about shade gardening technique. If you have read them, let me know what you think in the comments. Also, if you have grown or eaten any of the plants listed below, feel free to provide any information you have on yields, harvesting, preparing, taste, etc. The more information we have, the better.

Without further ado...

Shade-loving perennial edibles

Alphabetical by common name

Arctic Sweet Coltsfoot - Petasites hyperboreus
Arrowleaf Sweet Coltsfoot - Petasites saggitatus
August Lily - Hosta plantaginae
Bellwort - Uvularia perfoliata
Bellwort - Uvularia sessilifolia
Beth Root - Trillium erectum
Bluebeard - Clintonia borealis
Broom Rape - Orobanche ludoviciana
Bugle - Ajuga reptans
Bur Reed - Sparganium erectum
Butterbur - Petasites albus
California Broomrape - Orobanche californica
Canada Beadruby - Maianthemum canadense
Cancer Root - Orobanche fasciculata
Cao Yu Mei - Anemone rivularis
Couch Grass - Elytrigia repens
Cow Parsnip - Heracleum sphondylium montanum
Crinkleroot - Dentaria diphylla
Cuckoo Pint - Arum maculatum
Fairybells - Disporum trachycarpum
Fairyslipper - Calypso bulbosa
False Spikenard - Smilacena racemosa
Friar's Cowl - Arisarum vulgare
Ginseng - Panax ginseng
Greater Celandine - Chelidonium majus
Green-Dragon - Arisaema dracontium
Ground Cone - Orobanche tuberosa
Ground Elder - Aegopodium podagraria
Ground Nut - Panax trifolius
Hairy Solomon's Seal - Polygonatum pubescens
Herb Paris - Paris polyphylla
Himalayan May Apple - Podophyllum hexandrum
Hog Peanut - Amphicarpaea pitcheri
Huang Jing - Polygonatum sibiricum
Indian Hemp - Apocynum cannabinum
Indian Pipe - Monotropa uniflora
Indian Turnip - Arisaema quinatum
Jack In The Pulpit - Arisaema triphyllum
Japanese Ginseng - Panax japonicus
Jerusalem Sage - Pulmonaria saccharata
King Solomon's Seal - Polygonatum commutatum
Labrador Violet - Viola labradorica
Large Campanula - Campanula latifolia
Lily Of The Valley - Convallaria keiskei
Lily Of The Valley - Convallaria majalis
Lungwort - Pulmonaria officinalis
Manchurian Spikenard - Aralia continentalis
Mitsuba - Cryptotaenia japonica
Orpine - Sedum telephium
Oxlip - Primula elatior
Painted Trillium - Trillium undulatum
Papoose Root - Caulophyllum robustum
Papoose Root - Caulophyllum thalictroides
Redwood Sorrel - Oxalis oregana
Rue-Anemone - Anemonella thalictroides
Sailor-Caps - Dodecatheon hendersonii
Sakhalin Spikenard - Aralia schmidtii
San Qi - Panax pseudoginseng notoginseng
Scootberry - Streptopus roseus
Siberian Tea - Bergenia crassifolia
Sidebells Wintergreen - Orthilia secunda
Single Delight - Moneses uniflora
Small Solomon's Seal - Polygonatum biflorum
Snake Root - Asarum canadense
Solomon's Seal - Polygonatum multiflorum
Solomon's Seal - Polygonatum odoratum
Speckled Wood Lily - Clintonia umbellulata
Squirrel Corn - Dicentra canadensis
Star-Flowered Lily Of The Valley - Smilacena stellata
Sweet Butterbur - Petasites palmatus
Sweet Coltsfoot - Petasites frigidus
Sweet Coltsfoot - Petasites japonicus
Sweet Woodruff - Galium odoratum
Tian Nan Xing - Arisaema amurense
Tien Ma - Gastrodia elata
Toadshade - Trillium sessile
Tsi - Houttuynia cordata
Udo - Aralia cordata
Wakerobin - Trillium ovatum
Wall Lettuce - Mycelis muralis
White Trillium - Trillium grandiflorum
Whorled Solomon's Seal - Polygonatum verticillatum
Wild Cucumber - Streptopus amplexifolius
Wild Ginger - Asarum caudatum
Wild Lily Of The Valley - Maianthemum dilatatum
Wild Sarsaparilla - Aralia nudicaulis
Wintergreen - Pyrola minor
Wood Millet - Milium effusum
Wood Sorrel - Oxalis acetosella
Yellow Archangel - Lamium galeobdolon
Youth On Age - Tolmiea menziesii

Alphabetical by scientific name

Aegopodium podagraria - Ground Elder
Ajuga reptans - Bugle
Amphicarpaea pitcheri - Hog Peanut
Anemone rivularis - Cao Yu Mei
Anemonella thalictroides - Rue-Anemone
Apocynum cannabinum - Indian Hemp
Aralia continentalis - Manchurian Spikenard
Aralia cordata - Udo
Aralia nudicaulis - Wild Sarsaparilla
Aralia racemosa - American Spikenard
Aralia schmidtii - Sakhalin Spikenard
Arisaema amurense - Tian Nan Xing
Arisaema dracontium - Green-Dragon
Arisaema quinatum - Indian Turnip
Arisaema triphyllum - Jack In The Pulpit
Arisarum vulgare - Friar's Cowl
Arum maculatum - Cuckoo Pint
Asarum canadense - Snake Root
Asarum caudatum - Wild Ginger
Bergenia crassifolia - Siberian Tea
Calypso bulbosa - Fairyslipper
Campanula latifolia - Large Campanula
Caulophyllum robustum - Papoose Root
Caulophyllum thalictroides - Papoose Root
Chelidonium majus - Greater Celandine
Clintonia borealis - Bluebeard
Clintonia umbellulata - Speckled Wood Lily
Convallaria keiskei - Lily Of The Valley
Convallaria majalis - Lily Of The Valley
Cryptotaenia japonica - Mitsuba
Dentaria diphylla - Crinkleroot
Dicentra canadensis - Squirrel Corn
Disporum trachycarpum - Fairybells
Dodecatheon hendersonii - Sailor-Caps
Elytrigia repens - Couch Grass
Galium odoratum - Sweet Woodruff
Gastrodia elata - Tien Ma
Heracleum sphondylium montanum - Cow Parsnip
Hosta plantaginae - August Lily
Houttuynia cordata - Tsi
Lamium galeobdolon - Yellow Archangel
Maianthemum canadense - Canada Beadruby
Maianthemum dilatatum - Wild Lily Of The Valley
Milium effusum - Wood Millet
Moneses uniflora - Single Delight
Monotropa uniflora - Indian Pipe
Mycelis muralis - Wall Lettuce
Orobanche californica - California Broomrape
Orobanche fasciculata - Cancer Root
Orobanche ludoviciana - Broom Rape
Orobanche tuberosa - Ground Cone
Orthilia secunda - Sidebells Wintergreen
Oxalis acetosella - Wood Sorrel
Oxalis oregana - Redwood Sorrel
Panax ginseng - Ginseng
Panax japonicus - Japanese Ginseng
Panax pseudoginseng notoginseng - San Qi
Panax quinquefolius - American Ginseng
Panax trifolius - Ground Nut
Paris polyphylla - Herb Paris
Petasites albus - Butterbur
Petasites frigidus - Sweet Coltsfoot
Petasites hyperboreus - Arctic Sweet Coltsfoot
Petasites japonicus - Sweet Coltsfoot
Petasites palmatus - Sweet Butterbur
Petasites saggitatus - Arrowleaf Sweet Coltsfoot
Podophyllum hexandrum - Himalayan May Apple
Podophyllum peltatum - American Mandrake
Polygonatum biflorum - Small Solomon's Seal
Polygonatum commutatum - King Solomon's Seal
Polygonatum multiflorum - Solomon's Seal
Polygonatum odoratum - Solomon's Seal
Polygonatum pubescens - Hairy Solomon's Seal
Polygonatum sibiricum - Huang Jing
Polygonatum verticillatum - Whorled Solomon's Seal
Primula elatior - Oxlip
Pulmonaria officinalis - Lungwort
Pulmonaria saccharata - Jerusalem Sage
Pyrola minor - Wintergreen
Sedum telephium - Orpine
Smilacena racemosa - False Spikenard
Smilacena stellata - Star-Flowered Lily Of The Valley
Sparganium erectum - Bur Reed
Streptopus amplexifolius - Wild Cucumber
Streptopus roseus - Scootberry
Tolmiea menziesii - Youth On Age
Trillium erectum - Beth Root
Trillium grandiflorum - White Trillium
Trillium ovatum - Wakerobin
Trillium sessile - Toadshade
Trillium undulatum - Painted Trillium
Uvularia perfoliata - Bellwort
Uvularia sessilifolia - Bellwort
Viola labradorica - Labrador Violet

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