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Another list of dynamic accumulators and the minerals they are said to accumulate
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I went through a bunch of intronet sources. This is what I found:

Alfalfa: N, Fe
Apples: K
Arrowroot: Ca
Azolla: N
Bamboo: SiO2
Basswood: P, Ca, Mg
Beeches: K
Beeches, European: K, Ca
Birches: P
Birch, black: K, P, Ca
Bladderwreck: I, Mg, Fe
Borage: SiO2, K
Bracken, Eastern: K, P, Mn, Fe, Cu, Co
Brassicas, perennial: P, S
Bridal Bauer: P
Buckwheat: P
Burdock: Fe
Cabbage: B, Ca, Cr, Cu, Fe, N, K, S, Zn
Calamus: N, K, P
Caragreen: Na, N, Ca
Carraway: P
Carrot leaves: Mg, K
Cattail: N
Chamomile, corn: Ca, K
Chamomile, German: Ca, K, P
Chickweed, common: K, P, Mn
Chicory: Ca, K
Chives: Ca, Na
Cleavers: Na, Ca
Clovers: N, P
Coltsfoot: S, Mg, Ca, K, Fe, Cu
Comfrey: SiO2, N, Mg, Ca, K, Fe
Corn: K
Cornflower: P
Dandelion: Na, SiO2, Mg, Ca, K, P, Fe, Cu
Devil's Bit: I, Mg, Fe
Docks: Ca, K, P, Fe
Dogwood, flowering: K, P, Ca
Dulse: Na, I, Mg, Ca, Fe
Eyebright: S, K
Fat hen: Ca, Fe
Fennel: S, K, Na
Flax, seed: Ca
Garlic: F, S, P
Grasses: N, SiO2
Groundsel: Fe
Hickory: K, Ca
Hickory, shagbark: K, P, Ca
Horsetails: SiO2, Mg, Ca, Fe, Co
Iceland Moss: I
Kelp: Na, I, N, Mg, Ca, Fe
Lamb's Quarter: N, Ca, K, P, Mn
Legumes: N
Licorices: P, N2
Linden: P, Ca
Lemon Balm: P
Locust, black: K, Ca, N2
Lupine: N, P
Maples: K
Maple, sugar: K, Ca
Marigold, flowers: P
Meadow Sweet: Na, S, Mg, Ca, P, Fe
Mistletoe: Mg
Mullein, common: S, Mg, K, Fe
Mustards: S, P
Nettle, stinging: Na, S, N, Ca, K, Fe, Cu
Oak, bark: K
Oak, leaves: Ca
Oak, straw: SiO2
Oak, white: P
Parsley: Mg, Ca, K, Fe
Pecan: K, Ca
Pennycress: Zn
Peppermint: Mg, K
Pigweed, red root: Ca, K, P, Fe
Plantains: SiO2, S, Ca, K, Fe, Cu
Primrose: Mg
Pumpkin: K
Purslane: Ca, P, Fe
Rattan Palms: S, K, P
Salad burnet: Fe
Sanicle: K
Sarsaparilla: I
Savory: P
Scarlet pimpernel: Ca
Sheperd's purse: Na, S, Ca
Silverweed: K, Ca, Cu
Skunk Cabbage: Mg
Sorghum: K
Sorrel: Na, Ca, P
Sow thistle: Mg, K, Cu
Spurges: B
Squash: K
Strawberry leaves: Fe
Sugarcane: K
Sunflower: P
Tansy: K
Thistle, Canada: Fe
Thislte, creeping: Ca, K, Fe
Thistle, nodding: Fe
Thistle, Russian: Fe
Toadflax: Mg, Ca, Fe
Tobacco, stems/stalk: N
Two-grooved Milk Vetch: Se
Valerian: SiO2
Vetches: N, K, P, Cu, Co
Violets: P
Walnut: K, P
Walnut, black: K, P, Ca
Water Hyacinth: Cu
Watercress: Na, F, S, Mg, Ca, K, P, Fe
Willow, bark: Mg
Willow, black: Na
Wintergreen: Mg
Yarrow: N, K, P, Cu

I seen Daikon listen somewhere, but no element tied to it.

B- Boron
Ca- Calcium
Co- Cobalt
Cr- Chromium
Cu- Copper
F- Fluorine
Fe- Iron
I- Iodine
K- Potassium
Mg- Magnesium
Mn- Manganese
Na- Sodium
P- Phosphorous
S- Sulfur
Se- Selenium
SiO2- Silica
Zn- Zinc
Is it Dandelion vs Watercress in the Dynamic Accumulator Heavyweight Title fight?
This is a good list. I like the thread. How about Chia? Apparently it accumulates Ca, P, Mg, Mn, Cu, Fe, Mo (Molybdenum), Zn, and Sr (Strontium) as well as niacin.
Awesome list Andrew.

Thanks for the post.

It would be great to build a list of plants with specific outscale nutrient needs that could assist in building guilds based in part on the providers.

Does anyone have a link to such a resource?

I believe there may be a list like that somewhere in gaia's garden.

Will need to see if it's in there.

Does anyone know of a dynamic accumulator that has a similar root system to Mullein? We are wanting something that will help break up and improve hard soil. Any ideas or suggestions are greatly appreciated! Thank you!
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There's an article about the lack of scientific backup for dynamic accumulators: https://permaculturenews.org/2015/04/10/the-facts-about-dynamic-accumulators/
what do you think?
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In the past year, I've heard several different people challenging the orthodoxy of the dynamic accumulator "common" wisdom.  All of them have stated that no research has proven the veracity of the claims given to the wonders of comfrey or other dynamic accumulators.  That's quite something, as you would think that someone somewhere would have taken this on as a research topic.

What we do know:  various plants accumulate various nutrients and minerals in greater or lesser degrees.  The list at the start of this thread is a legitimate list.  What is not clear is whether or not the decomposition of those plants automatically makes those nutrients available to the plants around them.  We all have our own experience and personal observations  . . . but that's not a substitute for hard research.

What we do know, 2:  Decomposing carbon life forms (big piles of comfrey leaves, squirrels that try to steal my avocados, chop-and-drop cover crops, dead mafia gangsters . . .) feed the soil food web and bring tremendous fertility.  When in doubt, add carbon --- just pile it on the soil surface and let the magic begin.  So, for those of us growing comfrey or letting a dandelion grow to maturity before pulling it out, any living root in the ground is a good thing, and then dropping that once living plant at the base of another plant to decompose is double good.

It would stand to reason that a tree is cycling nutrients up from the deep soil to its leaves.  Those leaves drop to the ground, decompose, feed the bacteria and fungi, and in turn get cycled right back up to the top of the tree again.  Trees are the ultimate dynamic accumulators.

This sounds like a great Ph.D. research topic.
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As a student of biology I always have a good giggle at the idea that there is a "lack of scientific research" on a subject.

First, most modern research is ONLY undertaken if there is good funding. Where does that funding generally come from? Who does the research serve.

Second, if there is a commercial product that "contradicts" a free, non-patent applicable option, there will be plenty of research supporting the veracity of the commercial product and very little or no research into the free unpatented option. This is purposeful. No funding will be provided for grants to those who want to look into the opposition of a commercial product.

Why would there be no research into dynamic accumulators? Well, their use would threaten the interests of the modern fertilizer industry.

So, no funding goes to that research.

Grants and scholarships same thing. At our local horticulture school there is plenty of merit money from Scotts for horticulture students--they just have to be majoring in turf management....

Do dynamic accumulators work? Yes they do, because the biome web of soil works. As stated above--if you put a decaying item on the soil--it will be recycled. If your soil is full of life and mycorhrizae it will recycle the nutrients to the plants. Thats how the web of soil and plants works.

Great list--love that most of the weeds in my garden that are chop and dropped are on that list and full of nutrients...but as a wild forager, I already knew they were.
As a long-time student of the soil I'd have to say I agree that there has been little actual controlled research on the practical use of plant accumulation. Over the years that I've done soil consults with farmers (since 1986) I've seen before and after soil tests on fields where it was attempted and the results were pretty insignificant. In my work I normally recommend applying the needed, purchased, shipped-in mineral elements in quantities necessary to bring that specific soil into the correct biological and textural balance, all accomplished within one to three growing seasons, depending on how far "out of whack" the soil starts. The results have been predictably positive in terms of plants health, reproduction, and yield as well as ease of tillage. I also agree that just keeping a vegetative cover on a soil is a primary goal, whether you think of it as a carbon source, a mineral source, or just shade and compaction-proofing. Biology will really work with you if you do. You can see what I rely on for soil balance theory on this page: http://geopathfinder.com/Soil-Fertility-Nutrition.html
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Currently there are 4 studies going on about mineral accumulators, none so far have any significant results.

Please note that many of the "so called" dynamic accumulators only have one mineral listed, this means they really should not be on the list.
A true dynamic accumulator would be expected to provide at least 4 minerals.
The Caveat that no one mentions is "If the minerals are not present in the soil or sub soil, where the heck do you think they come from?"
If the minerals aren't there, the plants certainly aren't going to accumulate them, they can't because the minerals aren't present.
For dynamic accumulators to be of any real use they have to be chopped and dropped then the bacteria have to get to work to make those minerals available to newly growing plants.
The whole idea is sound but the supposed application is very optimistic it would actually take a few growing seasons to be able to register enough of the "mined" minerals to reach the purported significance of using dynamic accumulators for the purpose of soil enrichment.
This will work, but it is a five year or longer undertaking and it will only work if the accumulator plants have access to the right minerals.

It is far faster (easier) to use specialized mineral amendments to reach a specific goal. (I use Sea-90 for this purpose, it is a two year application then three years off situation)
I end up with nice concentrations of 95 minerals and I don't have to grow (use water resources) plants then chop them down, wait for these to rot and repeat just to get the needed  minerals into the top 18 inches of soil.

The long and short of dynamic accumulators is, yes they will work but you need to choose the right plants to use, grow and incorporate these plants for several years in a row and then you will have some improvement to the mineral content of your top soil.

Do you put sea 90 on after a soil test or just like this?
I think that mulching with comfrey around tomatoes had a positive effect, and borage around cucumbers.
On the other hand side there is more to soil than can be found out in the lab. Biodynamic sprays work, people tell and there is basically nothing in there.

Angelika Maier wrote:Do you put sea 90 on after a soil test or just like this?
I think that mulching with comfrey around tomatoes had a positive effect, and borage around cucumbers.
On the other hand side there is more to soil than can be found out in the lab. Biodynamic sprays work, people tell and there is basically nothing in there.

I have soil tested my full 5 acres used for growing our food and I did that in 100 sq. ft. parcels. (it's nice to be a soil scientist with a full lab)
I spread Sea-90 more in the areas that are in use growing vegetables and fruit than I do in pasture lands, the average spread is 10 lb. per acre this was put down with a spreader then I came back with second passes over the garden spaces.

All mulches do wonderful things for soil, they allow it to "fluff up" by holding moisture, adding bacteria that has gathered on the mulch materials from the air, provide food for fungi spores that have landed on them from the air.
Compost, when used as mulch, is even better because those bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms are already thriving in the compost as opposed to having to wake up in the fresh mulches (non composted or aged materials).

I disagree, the reason is: I do both sides of soil and my research is in the microbiology of soil;
Minerals are the dirt and that is the base food for bacteria, organic material starts the change of dirt to soil.
Biological organisms, there are approximately 2000 bacteria species that are known good guys then you have fungi, springtails, nematodes (good and bad), it is this microorganism village that makes dirt soil.
parasitic nematodes are kept in control by fungi who eat them, in the micro world of soil the hoop of life is very evident.
Plants and the microorganisms communicate using several methods to talk to each other; exudates are attractors of bacteria, fungi and the rest of the micro village, think of them as candy, cookies, cakes, etc., once the organisms needed to provide what the plant needs are gobbling the goodies, electrical signals finish the communication network, it is both chemical and electrical, minerals are the conductors, it is one of the reasons Steiner's methods work.

Biodynamic sprays do work, the whole purpose of biodynamics is to build the microorganism village and the preparations do that. My only issue with the method is the amount of time to create the preparations.


Bryant RedHawk wrote:

I spread Sea-90 more in the areas that are in use growing vegetables and fruit than I do in pasture lands, the average spread is 10 lb. per acre this was put down with a spreader then I came back with second passes over the garden spaces.

I was looking at sea-90 and before I ordered any, I was wondering which one you use?  The ones I saw on Amazon are sea-90 mineral fertilizer and sea-90 foliar.  Sea-90 foliar can be purchased in 50lb bags and is much cheaper. 
seaagri  this is the company site, there is a list on the site of dealers, you might find one near you.

I use the fertilizer, it can be used as a table/cooking salt as well as mineralizer for soil, it is, afterall, non refined sea salt.
I wonder what the difference is between the fertilizer and the table salt?  Other than the price ($2/lb for fertilizer, $7/lb for table salt).  Is the texture of the fertilizer good enough for table use? 

Todd, it looks like there's a distributor about midway between us....
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the table salt is smaller diameter, The stuff I buy works great in our salt mill.
They don't really do anything but screen the salt to come up with different "grades". 
This is evaporated from the Sea of Cortez, they don't refine it at all so you are getting all the components of the sea water they started with.
Most "sea salt" has been demineralized so it tastes "better". I'm all about the minerals.

This one product will cover all your mineral needs, soil, animals, human animals.
The best part is that once you have spread it, everything you grow will taste amazing, even pasture.
My soil started out with a total of 7 minerals but now has nearly 120 minerals available to the microbiome and thus to our gardens and orchard.
I plan on keeping at it till I am satisfied, and I'm pretty picky about our soil's health, according to my wife "He's so fussy about the land".

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Thanks Bryant!  We get Himalayan sea salt currently but I'm all for upgrading to non-ancient, localish, sea salt that can take care of the soil, chickens and us. 
Had a question more on the dynamic accumulator question-

aside from the back and forth on the presence of/necessity for/plausibility of academic research into the topic, several items on this list confuse me. I thought the logic was that dynamic accumulators extract minerals from the subsoil that would otherwise be unreachable, then take it up into their stems/leaves, then upon decomposition release that mineral richness as the soil microbiology gets to work. My question is, aren't a lot of the plants on that list shallow rooted? Maybe my experience is insufficient here, but I see a number of plants there for which I've never seen a taproot of any kind, particularly some of the 'weeds' that are most likely to pop up after tillage, and some of the vegetables. A shallow rooted plant accumulating particular minerals is just depriving the surrounding soil, isn't it?

If they're not deep rooted, they seem more like 'dynamic borrowers' to me...
hau Cody,

Yes, shallow rooted plants are not true dynamic accumulators those are "heavy feeders" and one of the reasons there can be so much confusion by reading "lists of dynamic accumulators" is because the creator of the list either doesn't know the definition of dynamic accumulator or they simply disregard the definition.

To be a real dynamic accumulator a plant needs to fit the two main categories; Deep rooted (Lucerne is a great accumulator plant, also known as alfalfa, it has a root system that will go down 4' into the soil) and draws in more than 3 main minerals along with trace minerals which become concentrated in the plant material,
most of the real accumulators also change the pH of their root surrounding soil.

I have yet to find a "List" that sticks to the criteria, it would not be a long list, most of the ones I see seem to have been created to impress instead of provide useful reference material only.

Tap roots are for holding a plant in place, they usually are not the roots responsible for taking in nutrients. A study of the roots of the alfalfa plant will show extremely long, fine roots that can suck up minerals like a sponge, loosen soil to nice depths and create a bubble of pH change around those roots.

Microbiologist Kristine Nichols of the University of Maryland showed that grasses like switchgrass, blue grama and Indian grass not only send down deep roots but increase glomalin levels and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. The externally occurring arbuscular fungi help "glue" the soil particles together and shuttle biologically available nutrients from soil to plant. A few reclamation companies currently use arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and triticale to accomplish a similar end. Other likely plants such as Orchard grass, chicory, clover, yacon, Jerusalem artichoke, chicory and many other plants will likely be shown to increase glomalin in the future. 

I've come across dynamic accumulators mentioned in a couple books and on other internet sites and there's something about them that I can't find scientific proof of. Take comfrey for example. When I read about it being a dynamic accumulator, they're described as this plant gathering minerals from the deep subsoil that other plants can't reach. How does one measure the minerals such as Ca, Mg, Fe that comfrey is said to gather from deep below? What I'm asking is how does one differentiate the Ca from 2 feet or deeper from the Ca in the top 6 inches of soil? Where is the proof that the minerals the accumulators gather come from subsoil? Is it possible that the minerals they accumulate come from the topsoil and all they gather from the subsoil is water? I recall reading a statement that the microbes needed to make the minerals available for plants to use are mostly aerobic and don't exist deep down in the anaerobic subsoil, so the Ca many feet down isn't even available for plant roots to gather. What little I've read about them seems to support that dynamic accumulators just aren't. Can anyone expound on this?

Edit: Heh!! Redhawk, I think I was writing this as you were posting. I guess I didn't consider that minerals can be in a biologically available form residing deep down in the soil waiting for roots to come gobble them up!
hau James,

It is actually quite easy to take root samples and extract the minerals through analytical chemistry methods, if the minerals are found in those root tips (deepest point of the root) then it is probable those minerals didn't travel down but would travel up the root system.

Now about your question of the bacteria needing air. Air can migrate down root systems as a tag along with water molecules also there is a capillary action that occurs as the water seeps further down it tends to create a micro vacuum that will draw air down into the soil.
This is one of the functions of stones in the soil, along with the stones being a source of minerals, they form pockets for water and air accumulation.

Anaerobic subsoil would be quite stinky and slimy to the touch just as it is near the surface. Just because the subsoil is down deep, does not automatically mean there is only anaerobic activity going on down there.
Samples taken by core sampler have shown O2 to be present as deep as 10 feet. It would not surprise me to find O2 even deeper, if you could get a core sampler down there without being stopped by rocks or from cutting into tree roots.

The thing to remember about the whole dynamic accumulator scenario is that most plant root activity occurs in the top 18 inches of soil, most topsoil in the USA is under 6 inches thick, so the accumulator doesn't have to go "deep" to be mining from the subsoil in most cases.
Oh and there are bacteria that will travel along the exterior of a root, which might allow them to "go deep".

Far to many people think too much of accumulator plants, wanting them to be the "Harry Potter" of the plant world, of all the accumulators, the ones that grow roots like alfalfa are the most likely to actually live up to laymen's expectations.

Yeah, thanks RedHawk! I appreciate your insight as always, particularly the distinction between taproots and deep roots, that makes a lot of sense and is valuable information.

Looking into plant with deep, substantial root networks it seems like most dynamic accumulators would probably be grasses, is that right? Or are Big Bluestem, Little Bluestem, Switchgrass, etc. not accumulating minerals when the go spelunking?
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The miners I use are all grasses, for me they work the best. I can chop mulch 3 times per growing season.
So far I have not gotten around to planting any comfrey that lived, apparently I still have an issue with the soil where I want to grow comfrey, just have to determine what the issue is and correct it.

I have some wheat that will get planted this fall to hold my new swale berms in place.
I'm glad I found this list! I'm hoping to cut my teeth on improving my soil in my little urban back yard, which is currently a hard-packed arid mess of brown Bermuda grass and weeds. We get 11 inches of rain each year, usually none between March and September, and water is pricey here. Have a little dog that was lacking a grass source to munch as needed, so I bought some wheat grass seed to plant a bed along one fence for her, but I'd like to fill up the yard with good stuff that will survive once established. Also have some dutch clover to add to an area as well where the pup wouldn't step on any bees drawn to them.

Mike Jay wrote:

Todd, it looks like there's a distributor about midway between us....

Hey Mike, I contacted him and they don't carry it anymore.  I ordered 50lbs from Amazon, and when I got it, the bag had half a dozen holes in it that were leaking salt.  Someone had put shipping tape (shoddily) over a couple of the holes, but it didn't hold and even if it had, the other holes weren't taped over.  Not having much luck so far...
That means that lucerne would be the best accumulator used as green manure. Otherwise who has the space growing extra beds of comfrey? I believe comfrey does something good but of course I can't prove it.
I want a bumper sticker with Alexandra Clark's first line up there: "As a student of biology I always get a giggle out of the phrase 'lack of research.'"

But for all the research that exists, and certainly there has been tons and tons--we have this huge problem, that the grand body of this study is largely unavailable and undigestible to regular old people.

There is this incredible divide between the research that's out there and us in the coveralls with boots on the ground. (Or, at least, I can speak for myself...)

We are missing some digestive organ that boils this inedible stuff up and serves it in a useful way.


Bryant RedHawk wrote:

Lucerne is a great accumulator

Tap roots are for holding a plant in place, they usually are not the roots responsible for taking in nutrients. A study of the roots of the alfalfa plant will show extremely long, fine roots that can suck up minerals like a sponge, loosen soil to nice depths and create a bubble of pH change around those roots.


Sounds like the plant I need to be sowing where I have highly compacted, currently useless, soil!
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