This plant index is a work in progress. The illustration is mine, so please give credit (name and website) if you choose to use it. Almost all the links on this page go to my archived site for now. As I update the articles and bring them over to my new site, you will not be redirected. But for now, this is how it is.


Welcome to the Temperate Climate Permaculture Plant Index! Plants are categorized by their place in the Forest Garden and then listed alphabetically by common name. Please check back often as a new species is researched and added to the listing on about a weekly basis. To find out a bit more about Edible Forest Gardens, click here, and for more information on the nine layers of the Forest Garden, click here. I am also including links to my specific use listings of plants here:


Canopy Layer

Typically over 30 feet (~9 meters) high. This layer is for larger Forest Gardens. Timber trees, large nut trees, and nitrogen-fixing trees are the typical trees in this category. There are a number of larger fruiting trees that can be used here as well depending on the species, varieties, and rootstocks used.

Subcanopy Layer

Typically 10-30 feet (3-9 meters) high. In most Forest Gardens, or at least those with limited space, these plants often make up the acting Canopy layer. The majority of fruit trees fall into this layer.

Shrub Layer

Typically up to 10 feet (3 meters) high. The majority of fruiting bushes fall into this layer. Includes many nut, flowering, medicinal, and other beneficial plants as well.

Herbaceous Layer

Plants in this layer die back to the ground every winter… if winters are cold enough, that is. They do not produce woody stems as the Shrub layer does. Many cullinary and medicinal herbs are in this layer. A large variety of other beneficial plants fall into this layer.

Groundcover Layer

There is some overlap with the Herbaceous layer and the Groundcover layer; however plant in this layer are often shade tolerant, grow much closer to the ground, grow densely to fill bare patches of soil, and often can tolerate some foot traffic.

Underground Layer

These are root crops. There are an amazing variety of edible roots that most people have never heard of, but I hope to introduce them to you here.

Vining or Climber Layer

These vining and climbing plants span multiple layers depending on how they are trained or what they climb all on their own. They are a great way to add more productivity to a small space, but be warned. Trying to pick grapes that have climbed up a 60 foot Walnut Tree can be interesting to say the least.

Aquatic or Wetland Layer

These plants can live in moist to water-logged soils as well as entirely within water features (ponds, streams, etc.). The most productive plants for converting energy into plant matter can be found in this layer.

Mycelial or Fungal Layer

The fungal networks living within forest soils are nutrient and communication highways, and their health is inseparable to that of our Forest Garden. Unlike other soil life, we can sow, manage, and harvest products from fungus, and this layer will steadily increase in importance as our understanding of it grows.


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