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Badass Tough Plants You Know Of  RSS feed

 
Dave Burton
pollinator
Posts: 1026
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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Heya permies! I am curious. What are the toughest, most badass, plants you all know of? What uses do you have for them or think are possible? Some people might call them invasives, some might call them pests, but I like to think of them as badass plants that know how to make the most of every situation!

For example, we have Kudzu, "The Vine That Ate the South", and it is amazing at converting sunlight and water into organic matter. This plant can be upcycled through goats to produce milk and meat. It is a robust chop-and-drop mulching plant and can be used to create lush living shaded areas.

Another one is honey locust and black locust. Honey locust produces nice edible pods, and its sister black locust is a nitrogen fixer. They are both super-fast growing, produce dense wood, and make good fuel for your rocket mass heaters. Also, both of them produce tons of fragrant flowers to feed your pollinators which leads to honey production, om nom nom! The seed pods can also be used as animal fodder, and the wood can also be used in hugelkultur mounds.

 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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Scotch Broom. That shit is hardy as hell as the seeds would survive a blast furnace.
 
Wayne Mackenzie
Posts: 109
Location: Sunizona Az., USA @ 4,400' Zone 8a
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Jujube trees. Heat, cold, salt, alkaline...
 
Brooks Mattox
Posts: 13
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The best hardy plants will be the ones that is native to where your from. Taking plants from different hardness zones is harder to grow because the are not used to the environment but don't let that discourage you from trying them. For a list of native plants from where you live just search your state and hardness zone / native plants.
 
Scot Schmidt
Posts: 9
Location: Middle of Idaho
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Knotweed is the meanest nastiest weed there is, it drinks Roundup and 2,4-d for a snack and then loves to be burned, chopped and mowed over. This year I decided I'm going to eat it.
 
Eric Thompson
Posts: 371
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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comfrey and reeds canary grass are both pretty hardy and competitive in conditions that they like. We build thickets of himilaya blackberry here too, but they're not so tough to discourage, and they're not even easy to transplant. Horsetail is pretty tough to discourage or stop..
 
Brandon Lee
Posts: 10
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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I have been growing these plants in Los Angeles and would put them in the tough category.

Goji,
Comfrey, when shaded
Jujube, self seeds, tolerates neglect, not threatened by other pioneers
Litchi Tomato, great flavors
Rosemary
 
Dylan Mulder
Posts: 50
Location: North Carolina
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Silverthorn (Elaeagnus pungens) is a real beast! Said to tolerate drought, shade, sun, moisture, saline… in-laws. On its own, it’ll grow to a very large bush, and near a climbable tree, it’ll grow to a very large 20-30 foot tall bush/vine. Wow! If you plant these close together, a hedge for example, they will grow into a fortress.

I’m trying it out as a fruit/nitrogen producer - if the fruits are as tasty as autumn olive then I’ll be pleased.

It grows numerous ‘top canes’ which it uses to seek and grab nearby trees. These canes are a uniform thickness, very flexible, and I bet they’d be awesome for crafts. It does have large, very sharp thorns, but these are surprisingly infrequent. I’ve done some cutting on these and didn’t even need gloves. And the smell this plant makes! Incredible!

Okra is astoundingly tough; anyone who has grown it needs no reminder! Very productive in my heavy clay soil, and in my experience, does a great job of loosening the soil too.

I’ve seen Amaranth tolerate some extreme conditions. Saw one plant grow through two inches of gravel, on a compacted footpath, with no irrigation - it not only reached maturity, but one of its offspring did the same thing the next year.
 
Zach Muller
gardener
Posts: 778
Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
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Mulberry. I have seen these things growing out of the dust lodged in the top of a street sign post. many people refer to them as trash trees because the birds have planted their fence line and they are too lazy to remove them, and the fruit stains everything. They are great.
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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Zach Muller wrote:Mulberry. I have seen these things growing out of the dust lodged in the top of a street sign post. many people refer to them as trash trees because the birds have planted their fence line and they are too lazy to remove them, and the fruit stains everything. They are great.


I've seen some crazy fine Mulberries too. They exist.
 
Danielle Diver
Posts: 60
Location: Niort, France
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i love this, badass plants' idea, yea! great topic!

Scot, knotweed is GREAT (annoying, invasive, terrible i mean). i learned how to cook it in japan. not sure if you've had it before but its super acid (think lemon-vinager) which actually i LOVE. cut the stalks early young and tender, before they produce their first full open leaves. blanche them in boiling water (give em a few seconds, esp the big ones) and then with a sharp knife peel the outer skin (too 'badass' to eat) and then cool quickly as to not overcook. i like to cut them into one inch peices and eat them as a cold salad with a vinagrette (miso!). if you discover any tips or recipes please share!

ANYWAY my favorite bad ass plant is by far Stinging Nettles. 'Ortie' here in FR.
IN the spring i pick the young tips and cook them fresh, make Nettle Pesto (fresh nettles blended with olive oil and salt), Pickled Nettles (raw nettles packed in jars with vinager and topped with olive oil, leave at last two weeks before eating), soup, etc etc, and whats left over i dry for tea.
The tea is super nutritious any ole time, but i drank it daily while pregnant and ended up with a 10lb baby, WHOOPS!
Later in the summer, you can cut the whole stalks and make a good fertilizer high in nitrogen , duh
Then when they go to seed you can harvest the seeds , also very nutritious (i have always wanted to try experimenting with the seeds, spouts? in cooking somehow? flour? anybody tried this?)
Seems like most animals wont walk thru them or eat them (eerrr maybe donkeys will? goats? dunno) they might make a good natural barrier of sorts.
People are pretty dang afraid of them too which is think is hillarious. maybe you could use them as a protective barrier against ignorant neighbors? that'd be nice!
what else
they make a beautiful green dye
the stalks can be used as a super fiber for paper , etc

and most bad ass of all, you dont have to think about growing it, it grows itself. it. wont. go. away.... which is a GREAT thing!

 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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Danielle Diver wrote:i love this, badass plants' idea, yea! great topic!





Danielle,

What does it mean when your nettles start to purple. At the tips? What if the stem is purbled and blued but the leaves are sea-foam green. Are they different species? Different habitat?

I'm asking you about stinging nettle.
 
Mike Turner
Posts: 323
Location: Upstate SC
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Bermuda grass. Great out in the pasture, an almost impossible to get rid of invasive everywhere else outside of deep shade. It has no problem growing up through the top of square bales set tile fashion down on top of it.

Sasaella ramosa. A fast spreading groundcover bamboo in sun or shade.

Wild plum. Suckers wildly to form a dense thicket of thorny shrubs that have the saving grace of producing delicious fruit.
 
Dave Burton
pollinator
Posts: 1026
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
109
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Hen-and-Chicks is an extremely cold and drought hardy succulent that can survive and thrive in neglect. The leaves can be used to relieve sore throats. As an added benefit, the plant has high aesthtic value.
 
Eric Thompson
Posts: 371
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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Landon Sunrich wrote:
What does it mean when your nettles start to purple. At the tips? What if the stem is purbled and blued but the leaves are sea-foam green. Are they different species? Different habitat?

I'm asking you about stinging nettle.


This sounds more like horse nettle/dead nettle (which I wouldn't eat) than stinging nettle (which I love to eat!). Hmmm - one good plant ID for stinging nettle: they definitely will sting you!
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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Nooooooo

This is due to altered conditions. The purple tips.
 
Pete Hwan
Posts: 12
Location: Portland, OR
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Bindweed!


 
Danielle Diver
Posts: 60
Location: Niort, France
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Eric Thompson wrote:
Landon Sunrich wrote:
What does it mean when your nettles start to purple. At the tips? What if the stem is purbled and blued but the leaves are sea-foam green. Are they different species? Different habitat?

I'm asking you about stinging nettle.


This sounds more like horse nettle/dead nettle (which I wouldn't eat) than stinging nettle (which I love to eat!). Hmmm - one good plant ID for stinging nettle: they definitely will sting you!


ive never heard of stinging nettles starting to purple per se (i dont grow it but rather wildharvest it, no need to grow in my region), but it is very common to find nettles with purplish stems ... could be a number of things (cross breed, cold, mineral, etc) although im not an expert. if your nettles are clear of toxic contamination, i wouldnt worry and keep eating.
if, in fact, it is a different, smaller ground plant that does not sting, it could very well be Lamium purpureum in which case it is still fine to eat, but not as good as the stinging. L. purpureum you can snip the tips and add them to salad.
 
Ray Moses
Posts: 94
Location: Brighton, Michigan
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Autumn olive (E. angustifilia) extreamley tough , barren soils. Produces large quantities of fruit however individual plants are inconsistent producers, usually they are so numerous that you can find producing plants, I freeze gallons of berries.
 
Sheldon Nicholson
Posts: 54
Location: Canada
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This is a fun thread!

Here are my picks from Canada (for your area I recommend asking gardeners, farmers, and environmentalists what the worst plants are: those will probably be the toughest and most adapted to utilizing the conditions in your area.

Also Mark Shepard's recommendation to look at the plants growing in your roadside ditch is a good one!

Horse Chestnut, this grows all over Canada, cold hardy, windy hardy, pollution resistant, tolerant of poor soils, painful seeds to walk on...
English Ivy, great livestock forage, beautiful, drought tolerant,
Himalayan Blackberry, painful thorns, good pig forage, good berries, hard to remove large thickets without serious machinery.
Scotch Broom, rejuvenates poor soils, spreads itself like crazy, nice flowers, okay livestock forage
Buttercup, low growing ground-cover, nice flowers, very tough (although I suspect it needs some sort of human disturbance, like mowing, to outcompete other plants)
Elderberry, both natives and non natives are tough (the fruit of the natives is actually much more flavourful in my opinion), can be cut to the ground repeatedly and will still come back, poisonous leaves, branches, etc.
Grasses are tough but I dont know the names of them, they do need mowing/grazing however or after a few years they will die out.
 
Dave Burton
pollinator
Posts: 1026
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
109
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The thistle genus of plants (cirsium) are well known as colonizing of bare and disturbed soil, in climates all the way across Mexico to the USA and to Canada. They can grow taproots up to 70cm long or more, and some of their taproots are edible when young, like Bull Thistle. These plants are wonderful provide plentiful nectar for pollinators and numerous seeds to feed the hungry birds.
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 923
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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Christmasberry trees, haole koa trees, guinea grass. Very tough plants that seem to thrive on neglect, drought, low soil fertility.
 
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