Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pioneer Species for a Temperate Climate

A field in desperate need of sustainable ecosystem redevelopment... and pioneer plants.

In recent articles, I have discussed the use of Pioneer Species in the development (or redevelopment) of a sustainable ecosystem and Edible Forest Gardens. You can read these articles here:
What is Succession?
Using Succession in Permaculture
Managing Pseudo-Primary Succession (a.k.a. Planting an Empty Field)


For a quick review, here are the attributes of Pioneer Species:
  • Grows Well in the Soil we Have – “poor” soils have different meanings around the world
  • Grows Well with Moisture We Have – typically this is low to very low moisture
  • Fast Growing
  • Nitrogen Fixing – Having a high proportion of plants that put nitrogen back into the soil will enhance soil fertility; nitrogen fixing trees are strongly recommended
  • Produces High Levels of Biomass – leaves and branches that fall off every year which increase the organic components of the soil
  • Dynamic Accumulators – plants that put nutrients into their leaves, often mined from well below the soil surface through deep taproots, and then lose those leaves each year increasing the mineral content of the topsoil
  • Producer – if the plant can provide us a harvest, all the better!
  • Tolerates Frequent Pruning – we can build soil faster by chopping back leaves and spreading them around on the ground (a.k.a. “chop and drop”) when a plant can quickly regrow those leaves. Some plants can tolerate quite heavy prunings two or three times a growing season.
  • Intolerant of Shade


So here is my list of Pioneer Species for a Temperate Climate:
TREES
  1. Alders (Alnus species): Zone 2-8, Nitrogen-Fixers, Biomass, Short-Lived, Shade Intolerant
  2. Birch (Betula species): Zone 3-7, Short-Lived, Shade Intolerant, Biomass
  3. Siberian Crabapple (Malus baccata): Zone 3, Wildlife Food, Can be Coppiced, Edible Fruit
  4. Prairie Crabapple (Malus ioensis): Zone 2, Wildlife Food, Can be Coppiced, Edible Fruit
  5. Mulberry, esp. White Mulberry (Morus alba): Zone 5-9, Biomass, Can be Coppiced, Wildlife Food, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Edible Fruit
  6. Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana): Zone 2, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Wildlife Food, Edible Fruit
  7. Sumac (Rhus species): Zone 3-8, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Wildlife Food, Edible Fruit, Tea Plant
  8. Locust (Robinia species): Zone 3-8, Nitrogen Fixer, Dynamic Accumulator, Biomass, Can be Coppiced, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Wildlife Food, Black Locust has Edible Flowers
  9. Willows (Salix species): Zone 4-9, Short-Lived, Shade Intolerant, Wood has many uses, Need high moisture
  10. Jujube (Ziziphus jujube): Zone 6-9, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Edible Fruit
 

SHRUBS
  1. Alders (Alnus species): Zone 2-9, Nitrogen-Fixers, Biomass, Short-Lived, Shade Intolerant
  2. Birch (Betula species): Zone 3-7, Short-Lived, Shade Intolerant, Biomass
  3. Bladder Senna (Colutea arborescens): Zone 5-7, Nitrogen Fixer, Beneficial Insect Shelter
  4. Sweetfern (Comptonia peregrina): Zone 2-6, Nitrogen Fixer, Small Animal Shelter
  5. Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea): Zone 4, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Wildlife Food and Shelter
  6. Hazel (Corylus species): Zone 3-7, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Wildlife Food and Shelter, Can be Coppiced, Edible Nuts
  7. Sea-Buckthorns (Hippophae species): Zone 3-7, Nitrogen Fixers, Edible Fruit
  8. Chicksaw Plum (Prunus angustifolia): Zone 5, Nitrogen Beneficial Insect Attractor, Wildlife Shelter, Wildlife Food, Edible Fruit
  9. Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana): Zone 2, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Wildlife Food, Edible Fruit
  10. Blackberries, Raspberries, and other related brambles (Rubus species): Zone 2-9, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Wildlife Food, Wildlife Shelter, Ground Cover, Edible Fruit, Tea Plant
  11. Rose (Rosa species): Zone 3-9, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Wildlife Food, Edible Fruit, Tea Plant
  12. Willows (Salix species): Zone 4-9, Short-Lived, Shade Intolerant, Wood has many uses, Need high moisture
  13. Elderberry (Sambucus nigra): Zone 3-10, Edible Berries, Edible Flowers

HERBACEOUS PERENNIALS
  1. Yarrow (Achillea species): Zone 3-10, Ground Cover, Dynamic Accumulator, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Aromatic Pest Confuser
  2. Hollyhock (Alcea rosea): Zone 4, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Edible Flowers (bland)
  3. Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana): Zone 4-8, Aromatic Pest Confuser
  4. Pale Indian Plantain (Arnoglossum atriplicifolia): Zone 4, Beneficial Insect Attractor
  5. Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis): Zone 2-9, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Edible Shoots
  6. Milk Vetch (Astraglus glycyphyllos): Zone 4-8, Nitrogen Fixer, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Ground Cover
  7. Downy Wood Mint (Blephilia ciliate): Zone 4-7, Shade Tolerant, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Edible Leaves, Aromatic Pest Confuser
  8. Turkish Rocket (Bunias orientalis): Zone 4, Edible Leaves
  9. Clustered Bellflower (Campanula glomerata): Zone 3, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Edible Leaves, Edible Flowers
  10. Chicory (Cichorium intybus): Zone 3, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Dynamic Accumulator, Edible Leaves, Tea Plant
  11. Smooth-Leaved Satureja (Clinopodium glabellum): Zone 6, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Ground Cover, Aromatic Pest Confuser
  12. Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium): Zone 1-8, Wildlife Food, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Edible Leaves
  13. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare): Zone 6, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Edible Leaves, Flowers, Seeds, Culinary Herb, Tea Plant
  14. Woodland Strawberry (Fragaria vesca): Zone 5-10, Dynamic Accumulator, Groundcover, Wildlife Food, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Edible Fruit, Tea Plant
  15. Garden Strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa): Zone 3-10, Dynamic Accumulator, Groundcover, Wildlife Food, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Edible Fruit, Tea Plant
  16. American Licorice (Glycyrrhiza lepidota): Zone 3-8, Nitrogen Fixer, Dynamic Accumulator, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Edible Roots, Culinary Herb, Tea Plant
  17. Sunflower (Helianthus species): Zone 2-9, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Edible Roots, Edible Seeds
  18. Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus): Zone 2-10, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Edible Roots
  19. Daylilies (Hermerocallis species): Zone 2-9, Wildlife Food, Groundcover, Edible Roots, Edible Greens, Edible Flowers
  20. Cow Parsnip (Heracleum sphondylium): Zone 2-9, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Edible Greens, Edible Roots, Culinary Herb
  21. Perennial Lettuce (Lactuca perennis): Zone 5, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Edible Greens
  22. Lovage (Levisticum officinale): Zone 4, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Edible Greens, Culinary Herb
  23. Prostrate Bird’s-Foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus): Zone 5, Nitrogen Fixer, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Ground Cover
  24. Lupine (Lupinus perennis): Zone 3-9, Nitrogen Fixer, Short-lived, Shade Intolerant, Dynamic Accumulator, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Ground Cover, Edible Seeds (in some species)
  25. Mallow (Malva alcea): Zone 5, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Edible Greens, Edible Pods
  26. Musk Mallow (Malva moschata): Zone 4, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Edible Greens, Edible Pods
  27. Alfalfa (Medicago satvia): Zone 3, Nitrogen Fixer, Dynamic Accumulator, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Edible Sprouted Seeds Tea Plant
  28. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): Zone 5, Dynamic Accumulator, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Ground Cover, Culinary Herb, Tea Plant
  29. Mint (Mentha species): Zone 3-10, Dynamic Accumulator, Shade Tolerant, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Ground Cover, Aromatic Pest Confuser, Culinary Herb, Tea Plant
  30. Wild Bergamont (Monarda fistulosa): Zone 3-9, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Aromatic Pest Confuser, Culinary Herb, Tea Plant
  31. Miner’s Lettuce (Montia perfoliata): Zone 4, Ground Cover, Edible Greens
  32. Oregano (Origanum vulgare): Zone 4-9, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Aromatic Pest Confuser, Ground Cover, Culinary Herb, Tea Plant
  33. Ground Cherry (Physalis heterophylla): Zone 3, Wildlife Food, Edible Fruit
  34. Pokeweed (Phyolacca americana): Zone 3-9, Wildlife Food, Edible Greens
  35. Burnet Saxifrage (Pimpinella saxifrage): Zone 5, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Edible Greens
  36. Plantain (Plantago species): Zone 5, Dynamic Accumulator, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Edible Greens, Edible Seeds, Tea Plant
  37. Silverweed (Potentilla anserine): Zone 3-7, Dynamic Accumulator, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Ground Cover, Edible Roots, Tea Plant
  38. Rhubarb (Rheum species): Zones 1-9, Dynamic Accumulator, Ground Cover, Edible Stalks, Edible Flower Buds, 
  39. Sorrel (Rumex species): Zone 3, Dynamic Accumulator, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Ground Cover, Edible Greens
  40. Sassafras (Sassafras albidum): Zone 5, Can be Coppiced, Wildlife Food, Culinary Herb, Tea Plant
  41. Goldenrod (Solidago species): Zone 3-9, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Aromatic Pest Confuser, Edible Greens, Culinary Herb, Tea Plant
  42. Chickweed (Stellaria species): Zone 4-8, Dynamic Accumulator, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Ground Cover, Edible Greens
  43. Comfrey (Symphytum species): Zone 4-8, Dynamic Accumulator, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Ground Cover
  44. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): Zone 3, Dynamic Accumulator, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Edible Greens, Edible Roots, Edible Flowers, Tea Plant
  45. Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioca): Zone 4-8, Dynamic Accumulator, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Edible Greens, Tea Plant
  46. Vetch (Vicia species): Zone 3-9, Nitrogen Fixer, Dynamic Accumulator, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Edible Greens
  47. Violet (Viola species): Zone 3-8, Dynamic Accumulator, Ground Cover, Edible Greens, Edible Flowers

VINES
  1. Chinese Yam (Dioscorea batats): Zone 5-10, Edible Roots
  2. Hops (Humulus lupulus): Zone 4, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Edible Greens, Flowers for Brewing, Tea Plant
  3. Everlasting Pea (Lathyrus latifolius): Zone 4-9, Nitrogen Fixer, Ground Cover
  4. Maypop (Passiflora incarnata): Zone 6-10, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Wildlife Food, Edible Fruit, Tea Plant

ANNUAL RESEEDING PLANTS
  1. Borage (Borago officinalis): Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Edible Leaves, Edible Flowers
  2. Radishes/Daikons (Raphanus species): Dynamic Accumulator, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Ground Cover, Edible Greens, Edible Roots
  3. Fava Bean (Vicia faba): Nitrogen Fixer, Beneficial Insect Attractor, Beneficial Insect Shelter, Wildlife Food, Ground Cover, Edible Greens, Edible Seeds (Beans)

13 comments:

  1. John, you should design an infographic about this post. It could be really cool. and viral.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This superfood has the longest shelf life ever (it will outlast you)

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      Delete
  2. John, thanks for doing this awesome work. I'm doing what I can to make it go viral. I presented it last night at a permaculture group that I belong to and I am making it available to an outfit I work with that does restoration work on a landscape scale.

    ReplyDelete
  3. autumn olives should definitely be on this list. they grow in poor soil and are certainly pioneer plants. :) great GREAT list. thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Molly - you are right! Not sure how I missed that one! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for putting this together!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Really useful! Do you have a reference for this list? Would be appreciated! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Just want to emphasise the advantages of dogwood (cornus) species as pioneer plants in poor (impoverished) soils. We spent years 'fighting' it as a 'weed' and then decided to sit back and let it grow. The landscape changed, other trees flourished near and amongst it, it shaded out more pernicious weed plants, and provides a great source of insect food for bees and other pollinators. By regular thinning and shredding you can build soils in the area and gradually move to the species you want to establish. Work with whatever comes up, and don't fight it.

    ReplyDelete


  8. شركة نقل عفش
    اهم شركات مكافحة حشرات بالخبر كذلك معرض اهم شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام والخبر والجبيل والخبر والاحساء والقطيف كذلك شركة رش حشرات بالدمام ومكافحة الحشرات بالخبر
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة الجوهرة من افضل شركات تنظيف الخزانات بجدة حيث ان تنظيف خزانات بجدة يحتاج الى مهارة فى كيفية غسيل وتنظيف الخزانات الكبيرة والصغيرة بجدة على ايدى متخصصين فى تنظيف الخزانات بجدة
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش واثاث

    ReplyDelete


  9. شركة نقل عفش بالرياض وجدة والدمام والخبر والجبيل اولقطيف والاحساء والرياض وجدة ومكة المدينة المنورة والخرج والطائف وخميس مشيط وبجدة افضل شركة نقل عفش بجدة نعرضها مجموعة الفا لنقل العفش بمكة والخرج والقصيم والطائف وتبوك وخميس مشيط ونجران وجيزان وبريدة والمدينة المنورة وينبع افضل شركات نقل الاثاث بالجبيل والطائف وخميس مشيط وبريدة وعنيزو وابها ونجران المدينة وينبع تبوك والقصيم الخرج حفر الباطن والظهران
    شركة نقل عفش بجدة
    شركة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض
    شركة نقل عفش بالدمام

    ReplyDelete