Permaculture Plant List

Healthy Food, Healthy Environment

Food is easy to grow both indoors (sprouts, ferments and seed raising) and out. Especially if you select food plants that your bioregion grows easily. In many gardening circles, there is great pride in growing exotic plants whilst neglecting indigenous food plants. Let’s flip this. Let’s rediscover and celebrate our bioregional attributes and rebuild natural abundance.

Globally, most people eat annual food crops. We are conditioned to replicate these foods unaware that perennial food plants need less care and offer more and demand less. However, perennial plants are more functional. Perennial plants provide edible leaves and fruit as well as a windbreak, mulch material, fruits, mushroom habitat, erosion management, and wildlife habitat.

Also, there are thousands of forgotten, indigenous and underutilised foods.  The individual, first-time food growing will accept ugly fruits, is willing to harvest bit by bit and takes pride in seed selection. They know the joy of truly fresh food.

Bioregion Strengths

All plants have a preffered environment. not everything we eat grows easily in our bioregion. And sometimes, we don’t care to eat what does grow well. Lets find a way to bring this into harmony. Share recipes and tricks so we can what is happy to grow locally.

Food plants on balconies growing in wicking pots

Grow it Loud

Food plants grow happily in buckets, in pots, in straw-bales and in street, in the front garden. Food plants don’t need to be hidden in a back corner like many neglected vegetable patches. Given that most people don’t know what food plants look like, there is no reason to not grow food plants as a beautiful display. Perhaps you are concerned that your neighbours are so hungry that they will steal pumpkins. Turn this problem into your solution. Grow extra pumpkins and join the food is free movement.

Food comes in many different packages

Many parts of common food plants can be eaten, including sprouts, tendrils and flowers. Here is a quick list of what grows in the Illawarra, NSW Australia

Edible flowers: Sage: pineapple and fruit salad sage (our favourites), Pumpkin (Curcurbits), Sunflower (flowerhead can be baked whole), Magnolia, Artichokes, Elderflowers, Bluebells, Calendulas, Cornflowers, Hibiscus, pelagoniums, Garland, Nasturtiums, Chrysanthemums (medicinal), Citrus flowers, Brassica flowers (such as brocolli and turnip flowers), Borage, Amaranthus, Violets, Fushia, Gladioli, Banana (cooked after treated by soaking).

Peppermint Tea
Peppermint Tea

Sweetners: Sugarcane and stevia, honey

Medicines: Aloe Vera and Petty spurge.

Tea: Flax, Tea tree, Lemon, Scented tea tree, Bamboo leaf, Mint (Mentha), Backhousia citriodora, violets [Viola], Syzygium anisatum, Orris Root (Melalueca (Leptospermum alternifolia) Petersonii), Lemon grass, Sweet fennel (dulcis var.), Alpine strawberry leaves, Chamomile.

Useful Plants include bamboo for structures and fire-lighting, Paperbark and Banana leaves for food wraps for baking. Hedges and Vines are useful for living fences and privacy screens.

Poultry food and medicine: Protein (snails and insects) is essential, Pigeon Pea, wormwood, Accacia, pumpkin, longifolia, clover seed, cleavers, grasses and dandelion weeds, melon and garlic, sunflowers, fennel, Evening primrose seeds, grapevine leaves. Bamboo and banana leaves are goose food. Weeds are used in the henhouse for bedding and early-morning food. Chicks are trained to eat invasive weeds such as Madeira vine (Anredera cordifolia).

Edible Groundcovers: Sweet Potato (Kumara) edible cooked leaf and tuber, Yarrow (medicinal), Chamomile (medicinal tea), strawberries, New Zealand Spinach Tetragonia tetragonioides, mint, woodruff (flavouring), prostrate grevillia (nectar for cordial), Marjoram.

Shrubs: Blueberries, Raspberries, Hazelnut, Tamarillo, Coffee, Tea (camellia senensis), Chilli Rococo Tree. 

Tall grasses, herbs and canes: Blueberries, raspberries, Taro, Beans, Peas, Monstera, Spinach, Milo (type of Sorghum), Popping Sorghum, Corn, Wheat, Rye, wormwood, perenial Capsicum, Bush Tomatoes, Sage, Oregano, Sugarcane, Banana.

Vines: passionfruit (sweet and banana), Kiwifruit (1 male, 2 female), Basella, varieties of grape, Choko (Chayote).

Edible Trees: Blue Lilly pilly, Pigeon Pea – soil conditioner edible fruit, Indigenous, and edible pods windbreak, birds. Mulberry alba and nigra – choose different varieties. Moreton Bay fig, Sandpaper Banana – fruits fig, Bunya pine (huge tree with large and dangerous fruits up to 35kg each, do not plant near homes or paths), Monstera Deliociosa – (many Australians call this Monsterio), Chestnut Avocado – easily grown from seed, Walnut, Lemon – grow from seed, Chinotto Orange, Native or exotic Hibiscus (flowers) – seed or cutting, Mango, Olives – cutting or seed, Macadamia, Illawarra Plum, Mountain Paw Paw, Damson (Babaco, also known as champagne fruit), Pistachio, Hazelnut, Almond, Saba Nut, Pecan (need male and female), Pear, Rambutan, Grapefruit, Native Guava, Persimmon, Orange (including Seville and Valencia orange), Mandarine (try to obtain early, middle and late varities), Cherry (best in temperate areas, may need anti-aivary), Barbados Cherry (suits subtropics), Feijoa, Ice Cream Bean, Apple.
Smaller harvest from these below- Arbutus unedo – Irish suitable for large sites – increases diversity strawberry tree, Jak fruit, Japanese Raisan Tree, Linden, Gingko Lemonade, Italian Pine, Medlar, Stone Pine, Natal Cherry, Date Palm, Nashi Wine Palm, Lychee, Walking stick Palm, Cabbage Tree Palm (indigenous), Pomelo, Wild Date Palm (also windbreak), Carob (in a dry micro-climate), Silver Birch (edible syrup), Pomegrantes, Sugar Maple, Magnolia (edible flowers) windbreak.
Fruit Fly prone trees [Must be planted within chicken forage areas] Quince, Plum, Custard Apple, Paw Paw – papaya, apricot, Peach, Loquat, Nectarine.
Useful Trees (all indigenous species support beneficial micro-organisms) All trees part of wind channelling toward windmill and away from housing Illawarra Flame (indigenous) flowers, birds, native bees, mulch, windbreak, deep rooted. Red Cedar (Toona Australis) rare indigenous tree, suited to wetter zone, deciduous, good windbreak. Plant only one by itself. Small grevillia, steep flowers for cordial, bird attractant and other Natural insect predators. Banksia Cauarina – nitrogen fixing. Lemon Scented tea tree -tea, antiseptic, bee forage. Grevillia robusta – timber and bee and edible nectar. Elm – 2 varieties or more. Boobialla (soft edible fruit) bird attractant, bushy, windbreak and screen. Agati (African tree has edible leaves and pods).
longifolia (edible seed) leaves for chicken and stock, soil conditioner, windbreak. A. acuminata (seed) A. Coriacea (seed) A. Holosericea (seed) A. Kempeana (seed and witchety grub) A. Notabilis (seed) A. Oswaldi (seed) A. Retinodes (seed) A. Victoriae (seed) A. Aneura (seed and edible Galls), Acacia main winter forage for bees, good pioneer species, soil conditioning and kindling for wood fire. Blueberry Ash (indigenous). Pine leaf Gebung (winter bee forage).


Basil – (Sweet) Ocimum basilicum
Brooklime Veronica beccabunga
Buckhorn plantain Plantago coronopus
Buckwheat greens Fagopyrum esculentum
Cardamom Amomum or Elettaria
Coriander Coriandrum sativum
Cardoon Cynara cardunculus Cardoon Group, syn. C. cardunculus var. altilis DC
Cress –  
garden cress Lepidiumus sativum,
land cress Barbarea verna
watercress Nasturtium officinale
Watercress Rorippa amphibia
lebanese Cress Aethionema cordifolia
Chives Allium schoenoprasum
Garlic Chives Allium tuberosum
Chrysanthemum Chrysanthemum coronarium
evening primrose Oenothera
Lavender Lavandula spp.
field poppy papaver rhoeas
Balm Melissa officinalis
mallow Hibiscus Manihot
Ginger Zingiber officinale
Yarrow Achillea millefolium
Comfrey Symphytum officinale
Oregano Origanum vulgare
Thyme (Common) Thymus vulgaris
Thyme (lemon) Thymus citriodorus
Tansy Tanacetum vulgare
Borage Borago officinalis
Sage Salvia officinalis
Sweet Bay / Bay Tree Laurus nobilis
Mint Mentha spp.
Cumin Cuminum cyminum
Corn Salad Valerianella olitora
Voilet Viola odorata
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis
Garlic Allium sativum
Parsley(Curly) Petroselinum crispum
Parsley (Italian) Petroselinum neapolitanum
Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis
Aloe Aloe spp.
Angelica Angelica archangelica
Anise Pimpinella anisum
Bergamot Monarda didyma
Burdock Arctium lappa L.
Bluebells (Spanish) Hyacinthoides hispanica
Carnations Dianthus caryophyllus
Chamomile Matricaria chamomilla
Chickory Chichorium intybus
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale
Dill Anethum graveolens
Dock Rumex spp.
Fennel Foeniculum vulgare
Feverfew Chrysanthemum parthenium
Geraniums (scented) Pelargonium graveolens
Ginseng Aralia quiquefolia
horseradish Armoracia rusticana
Marjoram Origanum majorana
Lemongrass Cymbopogon citratus
Marshmallow Althaea officinalis
Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria
Mustard greens Brassica juncea
Mint Mentha spp.
Makuna – Wenna Alternanthera triandra – sp. unknown?
Nasturtium Tropaeolum majus
Orris Root Iris germanica, Iris florentina, and Iris pallida.
Pandan P. amaryllifolius
Pansies Viola x wittrockiana
Pitcher Plant  
Rocket Eruca sativa
Roses Rosa spp.
Spring Onions Allium fistulosum
salad burnet Sanguisorba minor
Jute OR salad mallow Corchorus olitorius
Sorrel Rumex acetosa
society garlic Tulbaghia violacea
Southern Wood Artemesia abrotanum
star anise Illicium verum
Strawberry Fragaria
Tarragon Artemisia dracunculus
Turmeric Curcuma longa
Warrigal Greens Tetragonia tetragonoides
Water Chestnut Eleocharis, Trapa spp.
Wormwood Artemisia absinthium
Carob Ceratonia siliqua
Chickory Cichorium intybus
Dandelion Tarascum officinale
Kurrajong Brachychiton populneum
Salsify Tragopogon porrifolius
Lemons Citrus limon
Oranges Citrus sinensis
Grapefruit Citrus paradisi
Mandarins Citrus reticulata
Kumquats Fortunella japonica
Limes Citrus aurantiifolia
Vegetables- pathside  
Beetroot Beta vulgaris crassa
Corn Salad Valerianella locusta
Cassava / Yuka Manihot utilissima
Endives Cichorium endiva
Daikon Raphanus sativus var. longipinnatus
Garden Cress Lepidium sativum
Mustard Greens Brassica juncea
Onion Allium fistulosum
Scorzonera Scorzonera hispanica
Broccoli Brassica oleracea italica
Brussel Sprouts Brassica oleracea gemmifera
Bunching Onions Allium fistulosum
Capsicum Capsicum annuum
Celery Apium graveolens
Chickory Cichorium intybus
Celeriac Apium graveolens var. rapaceum
Kale Brassica oleracea acephala
Bok Choi / Chinese Cabbage Brassica rapa chinensis
Radish Raphanus sativus
Rhubarb Rheum rhabarbarum
Shallots Allium cepa aggregatum
Silver Beet Beta vulgaris cicla
Spinach Spinacia oleracea
swede Rutabaga
Yam Dioscorea alata
Zucchini Cucurbita pepo melopepo
Oca / Ocra Oxalis Tuberosa
Asparagus Asparagus officinalis
Beans Phaseolus vulgaris
Bean – Winged Psophocarpus tetragonolobus
Capsicum Capsicum annuum
Carrots Daucus carota sativus
Eggplant Solanum melongena
Lettuce Lactuca sativa
Mitsuba Cryptotaenia japonica
Mizuna / Mizuma Brassica japonica
Peas Pisum sativum
Snow pea Pisum sativum var. saccharatum
Purslane Portuluca oleracea
Tomato Lycopersicon esculentum
Arrowroot Canna edulis
Cardamon Elettaria cardamomum
Elderberry Sambucus spp.
Monstera Monstera deliciosa
Oats Avena sativa
Okra Abelmoschus esculentus
Sugar Cane Saccarum officinarum
Taro Colocasia esculenta
Wheat Triticum spp.
New Zealand Spinach / Warrigal greens Tertragonia expansa
Allspice Pimenta dioica
Chilli Capsicum frutescens
sunflower Helianthus annuus
sweet cicely Myrrhis odorata
Sweet Leaf Bush Sauropus androgynus
Stevia Stevia sp.
Beets Beta vulgaris
Cabbage Brassica oleracea capitata
Cauliflower Brassica oleracea botrytis
Chinese Cabbage Brassica rapa pekinensis
Globe Artichoke Cynara scolymus
Kohlrabi Brassica oleracea gongyloides
Leeks Allium ampeloprasum porrum
Melons Cucumis melo
Onions Allium cepa
Parsnips Pastanica sativa
Potato Solanum tuberosum
Pumpkin Cucurbita spp.
Turnips Brassica rapa rapifera
Broad Bean Vicia faba
Sweet potato / Kumara Ipomoea batatas
Kang Kong Ipomoea aquatica
Buckwheat Fagopyrum esculentum
Clover Trifolium spp.
Rape Brassica napus
Rice Oryza sativa
Rye Secale cereale
Sweet Corn Zea mays rugosa
Amaranth Amaranthus spp.
Jerusalem Artichokes / Sunchokes Helianthus tuberosus
Choko Sechium edule
Cucumber Cucumis sativus
Jicama Pachyrhizus erosus
Kiwi Fruit Actinidia chinensis
Loganberries (Thornless) Rubus ursinus var loganobaccus cv.
Passionfruit Passiflora spp.
Peas Pisum sativum
Pumpkin Cucurbita spp.
Grape Vitis
Climbing Bean Phaseolus
Vanilla Vanilla planifolia
wheat Triticum spp
barley Hordeum vulgare L.
Pioneer Legumes  
Acacia species Acacia decurrens, A. fimbriata, A. Floibunda, A.Farnesiana
Pigeon Pea Cajanus Cajan
Desmodium gyroides  
cow pea  
Alfalfa / lucerne Medicago sativa
Dun field pea Pisum sativum subsp. arvense (L.) Asch
Haifa clover  
Safari clover  
lotononis Lotononis bainesii
Lupins Lupinus, Lupinus angustifolius
lotus Nelumbo
pinto peanut Arachis pintoi
rice bean Vigna umbellata
Wynn cassia Chamaecrista rotundifolia
Guava Psidium spp.
Black Locust Robinia pseudoacacia
Mulberry Morus sp.
Pine Pinus sp.
Oak Quercus spp.
Plantain Musa × paradisiaca
Irish Strawberry Tree Arbutus unedo
Mango Mangifera indica
Native Rosella Hibiscus sabdariffa
Tamarillo Solanum betaceum
wampee Clausena lansium
Almond Prunus amygdalus, syn. Prunus dulcis, Amygdalus communis, Amygdalus dulcis
Apple Malus domestica
Apricot Prunus armeniaca
Olives Olea europaea
Rungia klossii Rungia klossii
Curry Leaf Murraya koenigii
Aquatic Plants  
Taro Colocasia esculenta (L) Schott (Araceae) Dasheen
Giant Tuber and related tubers Alocasia macrorrhiza (L.) Schott (Araceae)
Wasabi Wasbia japoncia (Miq) Matsum syn. Eutrema japonica (Miq) Kodiz (Cruciferae)
  Houttuynia Houttuynia cordata Thunb. (Saururaceae)
Seakale Crambe maritima L.
Sea Asparagus Salicornia europaea
L. Chenopodium  
Sacred Lotus  
Nelumbo Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn. (Nymphaeacae)
Lin Ngau (rhizome), Lin Tze (seed) Chinese  
Dendrocalamus and Phyllostachys sp.  
Water chestnut Water chestnut Trapa natans L. (Trapaceae)
Ling Kok  
Camas Lilies Camassia Quamash var. maxima
Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum or V. americanum)
Nut sedge Cyperus esculentus
Water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis)
High bush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)
Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)
Wild Rice (Zizania aquatica)
Black and Red Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa and Aronia butefolia)
Daisy Asteraceae
Comfrey Symphytum officinale

Plants for A Future

Here is a great reference guide for Permaculture gardens in UK