Aquatic or Wetland Layer

Permaculture Plants: Water Spinach, Kangkong, Ong Choy

Common Name: Water Spinach, Kangkong, River Spinach, Water Morning Glory, Ong Choy, Water Convolvulus, Swamp Cabbage
Scientific Name: Ipomoea aquatica
Family: Convolvulaceae (the Morning Glory or Bindweed family)

Common Names (I did the best I could considering I speak none of these languages!):

  • Bengali = kalmi shaak or kalami
  • Burmese = gazun ywet or kan-swun
  • Cantonese (Jyutping) = […]

Permaculture Plants: Willow

Common Name: Willows, Sallows, Osiers
Scientific Name: Salix species
Family: Salicaceae (the Willow family)

Selected Species (there are over 400 species!):

  • White Willow (Salix alba)
  • Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica)
  • Beaked Willow (Salix bebbiana)
  • Goat Willow (Salix caprea)
  • Coastal Plain or Carolina Willow (Salix caroliniana)
  • American or Pussy Willow (Salix discolor)
  • Gray Willow (Salix glauca)
  • Western Black or Goodding’s Willow (Salix gooddingii)
  • Pacific Willow (Salix lucida)
  • Yellow […]

Permaculture Plants: Mayhaw

Common Name: Mayhaw, May Hawthorn, Apple Hawthorn,
Scientific Name: Crataegus aestivalis and Crataegus opaca
Family: Rosaceae (the Rose, Apple, Peach, and Plum family)
Common Species:

  • Eastern Mayhaw (Crataegus aestivalis)
  • Western Mayhaw (Crataegus opaca)

The Mayhaw is a large shrub or small tree that is native to the lowlands and wetlands of the Deep South of the U.S. It is […]

Permaculture Plants: Cattail, Bulrush, or Reedmace

Common Name: Cattail, Bulrush, Reedmace, Catninetail, Cumbungi, Raupo
Scientific Name: Typha species
Family: Typhaceae (a large marsh herb family)

Common Species (well, all of them, give or take one or two due to quibbling over nomenclature):

  • Narrow Leaf Cattail,  Lesser Bulrush, Small Reedmace, or Jambu (India) (Typha angustifolia)
  • Cape Bulrush (Typha capensis), only found in Southern Africa
  • Asian species with […]

Permaculture Plants: Water Lotus

Scientific Name: Nelumbo species
Family: Nelumbonaceae (the Lotus family) formerly within the Nymphaeaceae family (the Water Lily family)

Common Species (well actually all of them, since there are only two):

  • American or Yellow Water Lotus (Nelumbo lutea)
  • Sacred or Chinese or Indian Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)

The Water Lotus is an important food in Asian cuisine, and it […]

Permaculture Plants: Watercress

Scientific Name: Nasturtium officinale
Family: Brassicaceae (the Crucifers or Cabbage/Broccoli/Turnip/Radish family)

Watercress is a prime example of why there should be extra layers in the Edible Forest Garden (see my article on the Nine Layers of the Food Forest). This amazing plant does best when grown in an aquatic or wetland […]

Permaculture Plants: Common Reed

Scientific Name: Phragmites australis
Family: Poaceae (the True Grass family… the 5th largest plant family with over 10,000 species!)


  • Phragmites australis subspecies americanus – the North American variety
  • Phragmites australis subspecies australis – the Eurasian variety

The Common Reed is found in wetlands around the world from temperate to tropical climates. This perennial grass is […]