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Del Monte, Arcola
Del Monte, Arcola
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Via del Monte, Arcola, La Spezia, IT
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Del Monte, Arcola

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Species Count in Food Forest

Project: Del Monte, Arcola

Posted by Heiko Vermeulen over 11 years ago

A kind of year end stock take of useful species growing so far in my food forest and some of their uses

Canopy Layer

  • Apples malus domsestica (4 cultivars, incl. Rotella, a local variety and Canadian Rennet)
  • Medlar mespilus germanica – edible fruit and bee attractant
  • Sweet Cherry prunus avium ('Durone') – fruit and bee attractant
  • Sour Cherry prunus cerasus
  • Figs ficus carica (2 cultivars incl. Portogallo) – edible fruit
  • Plums prunus domestica (3 or 4 cultivars, incl. Stanley, wild yellow, wild purple) – edible fruit
  • Peach prunus persica (3 cultivars) – edible fruit and bee plant
  • Pears pyrus communis (2 cultivars incl. Decana Inverno and an early ripener) – fruit and bee plant
  • Strawberry Tree arbutus unedo – edible fruit, bee plant, soil stabilisation
  • Persimmon diospyos kaki – edible fruit
  • Sweet Chestnut castanea sativa – edible nuts, bee plant, useful timber
  • Maidenhair Tree gingko biloba – edible nuts, medicinal leaves
  • Walnut juglans regia – edible nuts
  • Spruce picea – An ex-Christmas tree.  Young shoots are rich in Vitamin C. Useful timber
  • Almond prunus dulcis – edible nuts, bee attractant
  • Oaks quercus – edible nuts and useful timber
  • Baytrees laurus nobilis – edible leaves
  • Black Locust robinia pseudoacacia – edible flowers and seed pods, medicinal leaves (anti-viral), nitrogen fixing, slope stabilising, good firewood
  • Elm ulmus – Support for vines, biomass, edible bark and seeds
  • Olives olea europaea (various cultivars, incl Pendolo)  - edible fruit, tea from leaves, oil from fruit, useful firewood and timber
  • Pomegranate punica granatum –edible fruit
  • Lemon tree citrus x limon – edible fruit
  • Kumquat fortunella margarita – edible fruit
  • Loquat eriobotrya japonica – edible fruit
  • Mimosa acacia dealbata – nitrogen fixing, edible flowers, prevents soil erosion

Shrub Layer

  • Cornelian Cherry cornus mas – fruit
  • Autumn Olive elaeagnus umbellate – fruit, nitrogen fixing
  • European Elder sambucus nigra – edible fruit and flowers
  • Hazel – corylus avellana – edible nuts, poles
  • Blackcurrant ribes nigrum – edible fruit
  • Redcurrant ribes rubrum – edible fruit
  • Jostaberry ribes x culverwellii – edible fruit
  • Gooseberry ribes uva-crispa – edible fruit
  • Blackberry rubus fruticosus – edible berries, tea from leaves
  • Raspberry rubus idaeus – Edible berries, leaves for tea
  • Japanese Quince Chaenomeles japonica – edible fruit
  • Oregon Grapes mahonia aquifolium – edible berries, slope stabilisation
  • Roses rosa – edible hips, bee plant
  • Bamboo – Edible shoots, canes, biomass
  • Myrtle myrtus communis – edible berries and leaves, medicinal, bee plant
  • Rosemary rosmarinus officinalis – edible leaves, bee plant, medicinal
  • Sage salvia officinalis – edible leaves, bee plant, medicinal
  • Lavender lavendula – perfumery, medicinal, bee plant
  • Hibiscus hisbiscus syriacus – edible leaves and flower, bee plant
  • Sloe prunus spinosa – edible berries, tea made from leaves, fruit as cosmetic face mask, headge plant, stabilising slopes, good wood for walking sticks, attracts wildlife
  • Litchi Tomato or Sticky Nighthshade solanum sysimbriifolium – edible fruit, disease resistant (protects tomatoes & potatoes from potato cyst nematode), hedge plant (I call them viscious bastards due to their nasty spikes)

Perennial Ground Cover Layer - Most of those are spontaneously appearing on my land and encouraged to stay

  • Wild strawberries fragaria vesca – edible fruit and leaves, ground cover
  • Wild garlic or three-cornered leek allium triquetrum - edible leaves and bulbs, ground cover
  • Wild Leek allium ampeloprasum – Whole plant edible
  • Chives allium schoenoprasum – edible leaves, ground cover
  • Mallow malva – edible leaves, flowers and seeds
  • Asparagus (wild & cultivated) asparagus officinialis – edible shoots
  • Wild beet beta vulgaris – edible leaves and stalks
  • Wild rocket diplotaxis tenuifolia – edible leaves, ground cover
  • Bellflower campanula (5 species: c. latifolia, c. rapunculus, c. glomerata, c. carpatica, c. medium) – edible flowers and leaves, bee plants
  • Red Valerian centranthus rubber  - edible leaves, bumble bee plant
  • Bugle ajuga reptans – medicinal uses, bee plant
  • Cardoon cynara cardunculus – ground cover, edible stalks and flower buds (to sow)
  • Fennel foeniculum vulgare – edible leaves and seeds, beneficial insect attractant, nutrient accumulator
  • Lemon balm Melissa officinalis – edible leaves, medicinal
  • Lungwort pulmonaria oficinalis – edible leaves and flowers, medicinal, ground cover, nutrient accumulatore
  • Periwinkles vinca minor – medicinal, ground cover
  • Good King Henry chenopodium bonus-henricus – edible leaves, nutrient accumulator
  • Lamb’s Quarter chenopodium album – edible leaves, nutrient accumulator
  • Chicory cicorium intybus (various cultivated and wild varieties) – edible leaves, nutrient accumulator
  • Purslane portulaca oleracea – edible leaves, ground cover
  • Wild parsley anthrisiscus sylvestris – edible leaves and roots, nutrient accumulator
  • Wild Carrot daucus carota – edible leaves and root, nutrient accumulator
  • Ground Ivy glechoma hederacea  - edible leaves, ground cover
  • Lovage levisticum officinale – edible leaves, attracts beneficial insects, nutrient accumulator
  • Hollyhock alcea – edible leaves and flowers, bee plant
  • Bracken pteridum aquilinum – edible shoots, ground cover
  • Polypody polypodium vulgare - roots as sugar substitute, medicinal, ground cover, nutrient accumulator
  • Mint menta (various species) – edible leaves, attracts beneficial insects repels pests.
  • Watercress nasturtium officinale – edible leaves and stems
  • Oregano origanum vulgare – edible leaves and flowers, ground cover
  • Wood sorrel oxalis acetosella – edible leaves, ground cover, nutrient accumulator
  • Garlic Mustard alliaria petiolata – edible leaves and seeds
  • Black Mustard brassica nigra – edible leaves and seeds, nutrient accumulator
  • Plantains, Ribwort and Greater plantago lanceolata, p. major – medicinal uses nutrient accumulator
  • French Scorzanera reichardia picroides – edible leaves and roots, nutrient accumulator
  • Sorrel rumex acetosa – edible leaves, nutrient accumulator
  • Dock rumex pulcher, r. obtusifolius, r. crispus – edible leaves, nutrient accumulators
  • Salad Burnet sanguisorba minor – edible leaves
  • Scorzanera scorzanera hispanica – edible roots and leaves
  • Dandelion taraxacum officinale – edible leaves and flowers, medicinal, nutrient accumulator.
  • Stinging Nettle urtica dioica – edible shoots, medicinal, ground cover, insect attractant (butterflies), mineral accumulator, fibre plant
  • Sweet violet viola odorata – edible leaves and flowers, ground cover
  • Jerusalem Artichoke helianthus tuberosis – edible tubers, attracts bees, stems as support poles, wind break
  • Primrose primula vulgaris – edible leaves and flowers, ground cover, bee plant
  • St. John’s Wort hypericum perforatum – medicinal, tea substitute, bee plant, dye
  • Goldenrod solidago virgaurea – medicinal uses, mineral accumulator, attracts beneficial insects
  • Feverfew tanacetum parthenium – medicinal plant, attracts beneficial insects
  • Comfrey symphtum officinalis – edible leaves, medicinal, nutrient accumulator, nitrogen fixing, ground cover, bee plant
  • Red clover trifolium pratense – edible leaves and flowers, nitrogen fixing, ground cover
  • Campion silene vulgaris – edible leaves
  • Cat’s Ear hypochoeris radicata – edible leaves
  • Cowslip primula vera – edible leaves and flowers, medicinal
  • Daisy bellis perennis – edible leaves and flowers, ground cover
  • Tuberous Hawkbit leontodon tuberosis – edible leaves and roots, nutrient accumulator
  • Hawk’s Beard crepis leontodontoides – edible leaves
  • Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris – medicinal, edible, ground cover, nutrient accumulator, weed suppressant
  • Navelwort umbilicus rupestris – edible leaves
  • Bristly Ox-Tongue picris echioides – edible leaves
  • Pellitory-of-the-Wall parietaria officinalis – edible leaves, medicinal, ground cover
  • Sow Thistle sonchus oleraceus – edible leaves, nutrient accumulator
  • Yellow Toadflax linaria vulgaris – edible flowers, nutrient accumulator, bee and butterfly plant, dye
  • Thyme thymus – edible leaves, aromatic, bee plant
  • Yarrow achillea millefolium – medicinal, edible, nutrient accumulator, attracts beneficial insects, ground cover

Annual and Biennial Ground Cover Level


  • Borage borago officinalis – edible leaves and flowers, nutrient accumulator,  bee attractant
  • Burdock arctium lappa – edible roots, medicinal, nutrient accumulator, bee and butterfly plant
  • Chickweed stellaria media – whole plant edible, ground cover
  • Grape Hyacinth muscari botryoides – edible bulbs
  • Amaranth amaranthus alba – edible leaves and seeds, nutrient accumulator, breaking up hard soils, traps leaf miners, harbours beneficial ground beetles.
  • Field marigold calendula arvensis – edible and medicinal, attracts beneficial insects, repels root nematodes
  • Poppy papaver rhoeas – edible seeds, dye
  • Shepherd’s Purse capsella bursa pastoris – edible leaves and seeds
  • Marigold calendula officinalis - edible flowers and leaves, attracts beneficial insects
  • Broad Beans - edible seeds, nitrogen fixing
  • a number of other annual vegetables during their various seasons, incl. tomatoes (up to 15 heritage varieties), tomatillos, peppers (some 15 varieties), aubergines, various brassica etc...


  • Black Bryony tamus communis – edible young shoots
  • Goosegrass gallium asparine – edible shoots
  • Kiwi - edible fruit
  • Grapes vitis vinifera – edible grapes, edible leaves
  • Old Man’s Beard clematis vitalba – young shoots edible

That's 124 species not counting the annual vegetables and everything I have forgotten.  Come spring, no doubt I'll find a few more things springing up that I have forgotten about and I'll be planting and sowing more.

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Ute Bohnsack
Ute Bohnsack : Wonderful diversity!
Posted over 11 years ago

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