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A List of Dynamic Accumulators

 
Marc Troyka
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One of Fukuoka's main methods of improving and maintaining soil fertility without inputs was to plant a mix of deep rooted species that accumulate large amounts of minerals effectively. We call these "dynamic accumulators", and there are quite a few of them, each of which accumulates different minerals to different degrees. I'm starting up a tentative list here for easy reference, and if you have anything to add, post it here!

Some of these species are additionally edible, and very healthy to boot!

*Amaranthus Retroflexus
Bee Balm (Monarda spp.) (p)
*Borage
Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) (p)
*Chickweed (Stellaria media) (p)
*Chicory (forage feast)
*Cleavers (Galium aparine)
*Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum) (p)
*Garden Cress
*Corn Salad
*Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale var sativa) (p)
*Lamb’s Quarters
*Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) (p)
*Miner’s Lettuce
*stinging nettle (p)
*Plantago major (p)
*Salad Burnet (p)
Hairy Vetch
*Yarrow (p)

* = human edible
(p) = perennial

The following are dynamic accumulators, but contain toxins or carcinogens, and thus I generally prefer to avoid them:
Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) (p)
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) (p)

List of Dynamic Accumulators (indicates what they accumulate)
 
John Polk
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Cleavers Galium aparine (aka Goose-grass)
Rich in calcium (poultry love it), copper, iodine, silicon, and sodium
(Edible annual. Medicinal.)

Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara
Rich in calcium, and potassium
(Perennial)

Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria
Rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulphur
Sheep & goats love it
(Perennial. Edible. Medicinal)
 
Marc Troyka
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Hmm, coltsfoot I knew, I think I'll make a second 'toxic' list for things like that.

Do you have a source for cleavers? All I could find said Ca, but nothing else, and I can't find any specific nutritional data for them.
 
John Polk
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Good ref here:
Complete Herbal Handbook For Farm and Stable
 
Judith Browning
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I think comfrey use may be debatable...I like it as a ground cover, addition to the compost, for mulch and for wound and sprain treatment and can't grow enough of it.
Good list.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Here's a list: http://oregonbd.org/Class/accum.htm
 
Andru Vallance
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Do you have links to more information the carcinogenic properties of Tussilago farfara and Symphytum officinale?
 
John Polk
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Comfrey, (Symphytum officinale) has gone back and forth with regards to 'claims'.

According to Juliette de Bairacli Levy, in "The complete Herbal Handbook For Farm And Stable" :
The truly great herb, comfrey has recently been condemned by scientists following unnatural experiments. Ignore their baneful findings.


{My opinion}:
It is well known that lab rats are very prone to tumors, even under ideal, normal conditions. If one feeds them 3 times their body weight in anything, on a daily basis, it stands to reason that they might develop tumors.

I am not suggesting anybody ignore warnings about health and nutrition, but examine the facts yourself before making your choices.
Excesses of anything can be harmful to your health (as can a deficiency of anything).

 
Steve Flanagan
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John Polk wrote:Comfrey, (Symphytum officinale) has gone back and forth with regards to 'claims'.

According to Juliette de Bairacli Levy, in "The complete Herbal Handbook For Farm And Stable" :
The truly great herb, comfrey has recently been condemned by scientists following unnatural experiments. Ignore their baneful findings.


{My opinion}:
It is well known that lab rats are very prone to tumors, even under ideal, normal conditions. If one feeds them 3 times their body weight in anything, on a daily basis, it stands to reason that they might develop tumors.

I am not suggesting anybody ignore warnings about health and nutrition, but examine the facts yourself before making your choices.
Excesses of anything can be harmful to your health (as can a deficiency of anything).



I think you make a really good point.
 
Marc Troyka
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Eh sorry, I had some technical difficulties in getting notifications for this thread till now .

Anyway, lab studies aren't relevant since comfrey has been shown to cause liver damage and has killed at least one person.
study

Coltsfoot apparently contains the same or similar alkaloids, and produces similar toxic/carcinogenic effects. incident report. Apparently a non-toxic clone of coltsfoot has been found and marketed, but I don't know how easy it is to find or how well it really works in practice (since they'd have to breed it for seeds to be stable).
 
Xisca Nicolas
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a mix of deep rooted species that accumulate large amounts of minerals effectively.


Cleaver and chickweeds are deep rooted

John Polk wrote:Cleavers Galium aparine (aka Goose-grass)
Rich in calcium (poultry love it), copper, iodine, silicon, and sodium
(Edible annual. Medicinal.)


All good news... I have aparine and other galium... more terrible in hot climates, and make your arms red!
We call it raspilla, which means that scratches...

*Stinging Nettle (p)


Some nettles are annuals.

I think all amaranthus and chenopodium are equally good aren't they?
 
wayne boardman
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Marc Troyka wrote:
Anyway, lab studies aren't relevant since comfrey has been shown to cause liver damage and has killed at least one person.
study


A quick scan of this document leads me to believe that the suspected toxic effects were found in lab rats and a few people who were consuming daily supplements of concentrated comfrey compounds. It's a big leap from that to banning comfrey plants from your permaculture plot.

Lots of beneficial plants could be toxic in high enough doses. And Paul has mentioned more than once that animals "know" when they need to consume low-toxicity plants to deal with parasites or other digestive issues. My chickens seem to like it, even more than rhubarb leaves (also supposed to be toxic), and they seem none the worse for it.

Personally, I see no need to ingest comfrey tea, but I wouldn't hesitate to put it on my plants or, better yet, use it as a chop & drop dynamic accumulator. Oh, and the pollinators love it,
 
Sam Ewbank
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Would anyone have information on Burdock being a dynamic accumulator?

Sam

 
Judith Browning
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John Polk wrote:Comfrey, (Symphytum officinale) has gone back and forth with regards to 'claims'.

According to Juliette de Bairacli Levy, in "The complete Herbal Handbook For Farm And Stable" :
The truly great herb, comfrey has recently been condemned by scientists following unnatural experiments. Ignore their baneful findings.


{My opinion}:
It is well known that lab rats are very prone to tumors, even under ideal, normal conditions. If one feeds them 3 times their body weight in anything, on a daily basis, it stands to reason that they might develop tumors.

I am not suggesting anybody ignore warnings about health and nutrition, but examine the facts yourself before making your choices.
Excesses of anything can be harmful to your health (as can a deficiency of anything).




I agree. I grow a lot of plants that could be toxic if injested in large amounts. I am not afraid of comfrey. I think it's important to research possible toxicity and what normal use would be. Comfrey is an important plant on our land. I want more. It has worked wonders as part of our home "farmacy" for use externally on sprains and for wound healing along with it's other well known attributes.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Sam Ewbank wrote:Would anyone have information on Burdock being a dynamic accumulator?


arctium lappa

Bisannual and edible root. A pest in animal fur...
It is supposed to accumulate copper and thus be a good mulch to help prevent mildew.
 
Ariel Leger
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Comfrey is one of my favorite dynamic accumulators. in addition to effectively mining for Calcium Potassium and Iron, it can be used as an effective root barrier to some 'invasive' grasses when planted in a tight row, makes great shade for small germinating plants and is a great addition to compost heaps. It also has a range of medicinal uses when used as either a topical treatment of as an infusion or tea. All things in moderation, comfrey wont kill ya. Also a good bee forage and chicken forage plant. I say put this one everywhere! dont let it scare you!!
 
Joel Cederberg
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Microbiologist Kristine Nicholas of the University of Maryland showed that grasses like switchgrass, blue grama, Indian grass not only send down deep roots but increase glomalin levels and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. These fungi help "glue" the soil together, make it coherent, and shuttle biologically available nutrients from soil to plant. Some land reclamation companies are now using arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and triticale to accomplish a similar end, and most likely Orchard grass (especially in combination with chicory and clover), and yacon, Jerusalem artichoke, chicory and many other plants will also eventually be shown to increase glomalin. Whatever that mysterious quality of "fertile" and "fertility" turns out to be in the soil, it must have something to do with these processes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_accumulator
 
Greta Fields
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Marc,
Have you seen any charts like this about native grasses I never heard the word dynamic accumulator before. I know native Appalachian grasses have very long roots. I thought, I don't want those big ugly coarse grasses in MY yard. However, when the grasses came up naturally in one meadow, I fell in love with native grasses. They form a meadow like a Jackson Pollack painting. The effect is beautiful. Also, I read they really deepen and aerate soil too. But are they "accumulators"?
These native grasses are not easy to grow, like you would think. The lawn grasses apparently prevent them from coming up.
 
Ivan Weiss
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I had some bracken in my pastures and the vet told me I should get rid of it, as it would do the cattle no good. According to the list at oregonbd.org, which I had bookmarked a long time ago, bracken is a dynamic accumulator of potassium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, copper, and cobalt. So from that time on, I have been harvesting bracken and putting it into my compost piles. Because everything is good for something, right?
 
Greta Fields
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That's a great attitude, I think, that everything is good for something, or there for some reason. I try to work with what I have, and if I don't like it, I just put it in a compost pile.
a sedge occasionally comes down out of the woods here, and it forms a dense yard grass. It gets seedpods like rice on it, and wild turkeys love it. I try to keep it, but again, ithas a problem competing with the stupid lawn grasses I planted here. I bet I could make flour out of those big seeds.
 
Joel Cederberg
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you can! or you could dig up the nutlets and eat those. although i personally have never had success with sedge nutlets
 
Greta Fields
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Oh, you must know what sedge I mean, Joel. I have some growing now. Turkeys are crazy about it. Thanks. I will try digging some up. The seeds are rather bland though.
Greta
 
Mike Haych
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Here's a list: http://oregonbd.org/Class/accum.htm


See https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aoz8GE1bbsDjdDdxSjA3dWxKaU5qU2xVZUFUcHR4RGc&usp=sharing#gid=0 for a research based list. Note that comfrey does not score high.
 
John Polk
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Nice find Mike.

If you play with the little icon at the bottom (to the left of where it says "Matrix"), it opens up more info.

 
Peter Ellis
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Mike Aych wrote:
Tyler Ludens wrote:Here's a list: http://oregonbd.org/Class/accum.htm


See https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aoz8GE1bbsDjdDdxSjA3dWxKaU5qU2xVZUFUcHR4RGc&usp=sharing#gid=0 for a research based list. Note that comfrey does not score high.


And note how well dandelion scores. Interesting. But dandelion doesn't make for much of a chop and drop crop with its growth habit. Stinging nettle is a pretty clear winner, but has some restrictive growth requirements.

Lamb's quarters and amaranth seem to be very good choices, especially of you factor in their edibility.
 
John Polk
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I am thinking that there is a mistake in that Google spreadsheet.
Look at the numbers (Stinging Nettle) for sodium (Na).

If those numbers are correct, that would mean that 100 pounds of dried matter would contain 49 pounds of salt.
Most of the soils in the arid west already have excesses of salt.
Adding significant quantities of Nettle could kill your soil if those numbers are correct.

If the numbers are correct, Nettle could be a good cure for salty soils:
Grow tons of it, but remove it from your land. Export your salt off of the property.
 
Craig Foulds
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Remember "edible" doesn't mean the whole plant is edible. For instance Bird's Foot Trefoil is poisonous, containing hydrogen cyanide, (not to mention when flowering, can become mildly toxic) aside from the seedpods which are edible. http://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lotus+corniculatus
 
Mike Haych
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John Polk wrote:I am thinking that there is a mistake in that Google spreadsheet.
Look at the numbers (Stinging Nettle) for sodium (Na).

If those numbers are correct, that would mean that 100 pounds of dried matter would contain 49 pounds of salt.
Most of the soils in the arid west already have excesses of salt.
Adding significant quantities of Nettle could kill your soil if those numbers are correct.

If the numbers are correct, Nettle could be a good cure for salty soils:
Grow tons of it, but remove it from your land. Export your salt off of the property.


There's no mistake in the spreadsheet. I went to the USDA database and it's the same number. BTW, I think in this case that ppm is a volume measure not a weight measure. When Duke was doing this testing, he probably was using a chemical solution approach as is done in soil testing. Nonetheless, the number does seem high. 491400 ppm translates to 4 pounds/US gallon. At his levels, people would be complaining about the saltiness of their tea or soup.

Jerry Brunetti shows much smaller concentrations.
 
Danny Smithers
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It was actually in a Permies forum that I read industrial hemp was a dynamic accumulator, but I have not been able to verify this anywhere else. Considering its new legality in Colorado, I am looking to see what kind of guilds to try and build with it. Does anyone know if industrial hemp is a dynamic accumulator?
 
Daniel Kern
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Here is another resource that I find to be particularly useful for many applications. Not only can you determine the chemicals present from a fertilizer standpoint, but also from a medicinal standpoint. Heal the land, heal the body.

phytochemical and ethnobotanical database
 
Landon Sunrich
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What a coincidence. I just planted a bunch of Garden Cress and Corn Salad and Borage and Nettles as a main part of my early seed mix.
 
John Mcdogoode
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Comfrey is another Dynamic Accumulator, perennial in warmer zones, and is actually non toxic if the propaganda is dismissed. http://coescomfrey.com/use.html
 
Michael Martin
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For anyone living/designing in the tropics, Brazil nut are accumulators of selenium; the nuts are the richest food source known. Overconsumption can actually actually cause hair loss and other symptoms of selenium toxicity.

Many plant that inhabit serpentine soils can be bioaccumulators:https://fedorabg.bg.ac.rs/fedora/get/o:8229/bdef:Content/get

This would include many California native serpentine endemics, and practically the entire flora of New Caledonia
 
Mike Haych
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Toby Hemenway has indicated that he will omit the table on dynamic accumulators in the next addition of gaia's garden. Eric Toensmeier says the section on dynamic accumulators in Edible Forest Garden needs an overhaul. He no longer teaches dynamic accumulators in his courses. Hemenway says that research is largely lacking and is mostly anecdotal or folklore while Toensmeier says that there is a lack of strong data on dynamic accumulators.
 
B.E. Ward
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Adding to Mike's point, here's a post questioning dynamic accumulation from John Kitsteiner. Toby mentions his list and Gaia's Garden in the comments.

http://tcpermaculture.com/site/2015/01/07/the-facts-behind-dynamic-accumulators/
 
Mike Haych
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Tom DeCoste
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This is a good resource for info and a list of bio-dynamic accumulators http://seaberry-hippophaerhamnoides.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-silver-lining-of-weeds-bio-dynamic.html
 
Mike Haych
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Tom, do you have a source for the information that you are providing?
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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