Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Plants for a Future

I hardly know where to begin with this website, but I strongly encourage you to get on the site and take some time to become familiar with it.  You will not be disappointed.  They recently went through a complete website design at the end of last year, and it is a huge improvement.  The site is far easier to navigate and looks very professional.

Over 20 years ago Ken and Addy Fern set up an experimental site in Cornwall, England.  Their goal was to document their research on edible and useful plants.  They eventually raised over 1,500 species on their land.  About 10 years ago, Ken created a database to organize his research.  In an unbelievable act of goodwill, Ken made his searchable database availabe to the public for free.  It contains valuable information on over 7,000 species of useful plants.

The database is searchable in many ways.  For example, you can search by Common Name, Latin Name, Habitat, or Edibility Rating (score of 1-5).  You can search by use.  For example Tea, Coloring (Dye), Fiber (like making rope), Wildlife Attractor, Nitrogen Fixer, etc.  There are also a bunch of traditional/herbal medicine search options.  Finally, you can search based on plant characterstics.  For example Evergreen/Deciduous, Size, Hardiness Zone, pH, Sun/Shade/Partial, Flowering type, and Pollinator to name a few.  You can find the database here.

There is a Blog and a Forum, both of which are very new and a huge Links page.

If you want a very high yield page, I would recommend their Top Rated Edible Plants page which highlights about 150 of the highest rated plants.  This is a good page to get you started using this wonderful site.

Plants for a Future is a great resource (I consider it almost vital) for designing an Edible Food Forest and any Permaculture System.

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