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Leguminous tree leaves are edible!?  RSS feed

 
Pat Thibeault
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In Jeffrey Alford's book Chicken in the Mango Tree, he mentions that the leaves of leguminous trees are a regular food for people in the Thai-Khmer region of Thailand. The major trees are tamarind, Cassia siamea, Acacia pennate and Leucaena leucocephala. Does this mean that the leaves of ALL leguminous trees are edible and, if so, which temperate tree varietals could be used?
 
Gregg Carter
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Don't know about all, but the leaves of the mimosa are edible when cooked. The Flowers are edible raw, candied, or cooked like a veggie. The seeds have been said to be edible when roasted, never tried so I can't confirm that.

Mimosas also have medicinal properties as well.
 
Pat Thibeault
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Thanks Gregg! The only thing is that I'm all the way up in a zone 5 and the mimosa isn't that hardy...
 
Cody DeBaun
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I don't think it would be safe to assume that all leguminous tree leaves are edible. black locust is in the Fabacaea family, and those leaves are supposedly toxic.

I had a professor in college who was a toxicologist, and remember her answering a student's question with 'well most any living thing is edible, it's really just a question of nutrition vs. extent, kind and nature of disturbance to your body's functions'.

For that kind of info I would look first for what grows in your area, then once you know the species, look to the great wealth of foraging info out there to see if anyone knows about the specific plant you're wanting to graze on 
 
William Bronson
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My research mentioned the beans from prarie mimimosa  as edible,the flowers of both "regular" and prarie mimimosa as edible, but was silent on the ediblity of the leaves.
The leaves are compound, with lots of ribs etc.
I would think that drying would be a good way to itilize them.
Among edible legumous annuals, most of the leaves are said to be edible.

I'm zone 6, mimosas seem to do fine here, maybe they would do well in a sheltered zone 5 ?

If not, linden trees are hardy ,with edible leaves, but I'm not sure if they fix nitrogen.

Leaf for life has an extensive list of plants with edible leaves:

http://www.leafforlife.org/PAGES/TOPCROPS.HTM
 
Alexandra Clark
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No on locust leaves--yes on the flowers as fritters...YUM!
 
Anne Miller
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While not an indication that tree leaves are edible for humans, watch for what animals eat tree leaves or bush leaves.  I have seen many a deer or cow eat leaves off trees so they are probably edible though I would recommending researching each to learn more.
 
Loxley Clovis
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Moringa oleifera leaves are not only edible, but are down right delectable when young.
Moringa_pierre_jdlf_WikiMedia.org.jpg
[Thumbnail for Moringa_pierre_jdlf_WikiMedia.org.jpg]
Moringa by pierre jdlf, WikiMedia.org
Moringa_oleifera_Blanco_WikiMedia.org.png
[Thumbnail for Moringa_oleifera_Blanco_WikiMedia.org.png]
Moringa oleifera by Blanco, WikiMedia.org
Moringa_Drouhardii_WikiMedia.org.jpg
[Thumbnail for Moringa_Drouhardii_WikiMedia.org.jpg]
Moringa by Drouhardiiv from WikiMedia.org
 
Marco Banks
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Loxley Clovis wrote:Moringa oleifera leaves are not only edible, but are down right delectable when young.


Unfortunately, Moringa is not a leguminous plant.  This is a common misconception people have because of the bean-like seed pods.  Unfortunately, this is one of those things that people have spread on the internet, but botanists agree that it isn't a leguminous tree.

It's a wonderful tree and yes, the leaves are very delicious.  But Moringa doesn't fix nitrogen.  I wish it did, but that's not the case.

 
Loxley Clovis
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Marco Banks wrote:
Loxley Clovis wrote:Moringa oleifera leaves are not only edible, but are down right delectable when young.

Unfortunately, Moringa is not a leguminous plant.  This is a common misconception people have because of the bean-like seed pods.  Unfortunately, this is one of those things that people have spread on the internet, but botanists agree that it isn't a leguminous tree.
It's a wonderful tree and yes, the leaves are very delicious.  But Moringa doesn't fix nitrogen.  I wish it did, but that's not the case.

I stand corrected. Moringa is in the Moringaceae family, not the nitrogen-fixing Fabaceae family.
We should start collectively peer reviewing Permaculture Research Institute since they are inadvertently helping to spread this misconception.
 
Gregg Carter
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Red bud is in the nitrogen fixing family, but haven't been found to develop the bacteria that fixes nitrogen. Having said that, the flowers and pods are edible.
 
Pat Thibeault
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Thanks everyone! The moringa tree seems to be a favourite even though it's not a leguminous plant and isn't hardy all the way up here in my zone 5. So far, my research hasn't uncovered any temperate leguminous tree with edible leaves. What my research and a conversation with a local professional forager did uncover, however, are other edible tree leaves: Little Leaf Linden (Tilia cordite), Basswood (Tilia americana), fragrant spring (Toonia sinesis), mulberry (Morus spp.), beech, dogwood and maple. Of all of these, young beech and linden/basswood leaves are apparently the best. So they may not fix nitrogen in the soil but at least they serve more than a decorative function
 
Anne Miller
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This maybe helpful

https://permies.com/t/3350/Trees-shrubs-edible-leaves

I have heard about a few trees and shrubs that produce edible leaves. These would be very important in a permaculture context, as they could potentially provide a perennial source of greens.


  I am only addressing plants that are hardy to zone 5.
 
Robert Vaclavik
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Hi, Can you tell me please where i Can find some list of legume trees.. need to find hot if: ailanthus altissima And robinia pseudoacacia are the one. Thank you
 
Cody DeBaun
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Hey Robert,

There's a great conversation about that very topic here.

This is also pretty handy, if you're partial to infographics.
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