Shrub Layer

Permaculture Plants: Currants

Common Name: Currant, Blackcurrant, Red Currant, White Currant
Scientific Name: Ribes species
Family: Grossulariaceae (the Currant or Gooseberry family)

Common Species: there are over 150 species in the Ribes genus. The Gooseberries were discussed previously in this article. The “flowering currants” are not discussed in this article. While there are a number of very uncommon edible currants, […]

Permaculture Plants: Wineberry

Common Name: Wineberry, Japanese Wineberry, Wine Raspberry
Scientific Name: Rubus phoenicolasius
Family: Rosacaceae (the Rose family)

Many people living in the eastern U.S. have seen this plant without knowing it, because it is often mistaken for the wild blackberry or raspberry plant. To be honest, people who know of Wineberry either love it or hate […]

Permaculture Plants: Sage

Common Name: Sage, Common Sage, Garden Sage, Broadleaf Sage, True Sage, Cullinary Sage, Kitchen Sage, Dalmation Sage, and many more…
Scientific Name: Salvia officinalis
Family: Lamiaceae (the Mint family)

Almost every herb garden has its obligatory Sage plant off in the corner, but few people know how to use Sage in the kitchen, and even less […]

Permaculture Plants: Wintergreen

Common Names: American Wintergreen, Eastern Teaberry, Checkerberry, Boxberry, Mountain Tea
Scientific Name: Gaultheria procumbens
Family: Ericaceae (the Heath or Heather family)

While most famous for its classic, minty smell, this low-growing, slow-growing eastern North American native shrub is a great, evergreen groundcover for shady spots. It prefers acidic soils, and could be […]

Permaculture Plants: Bamboo

Common Name: Bamboo
Scientific Name: Bambuseae Tribe (there are 9 Subtribes, 91 Genera, and about over 1,500 species!)
Family: Poaceae (the Grass family)
Selected Species: See the table at the end of the article for Bamboo Species ideal for a Temperate Climate.

I have put off writing an article on Bamboo for a number […]

Permaculture Plants: Rosemary

Common Name: Rosemary
Scientific Name: Rosmarinus officinalis
Family: Lamiaceae (the Mint family)

This plant probably needs no introduction. Rosemary is a small shrub with evergreen leaves that are most commonly used as a culinary herb. As an evergreen shrub, it is a year round ornamental plant, but it also attracts beneficial insects and hummingbirds, […]

Permaculture Plants: Osage Orange

Common Name: Osage Orange, Hedge Apple, Horse Apple, Monkey Ball, Bodark, Bodock, Bowwood, and many more!
Scientific Name: Maclura pomifera
Family: Moraceae (the Mulberry or Fig family)

I love to read about plants that most people think are useless. Osage Orange is on the list of trees that many people see no need to […]

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: Yellowhorn

Common Name: Yellowhorn, Goldenhorn, Chinese Flowering Chestnut, Wen Guan Guo
Scientific Name: Xanthoceras sorbifolium
Family: Sapindaceae (the Soapberry, Maple, and Lychee family)

I was asked by a reader to write an article about Yellowhorn since they were having some trouble growing this plant. I had heard of this plant before, but other than a name, I couldn’t […]

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 […]