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ALJ: A New Approach to Ornamentals

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Being a permaculturist, I often get stuck in a weird situation where someone asks me about growing conditions for some ornamental plant I know nothing about. I can brush it off with a 'well, it's just ornamental. i know food and medicine' But that approach just makes me seem less credible.

The middle path I see is learning what is food and medicine about ornamental plants. That will excite me enough to learn more about them, while still satisfying my urge to use them for more than just looking.

And this of course is Arthur's forte. So here goes:

What are maybe the top ten ornamental plants that are the tastiest in your view, but that edibility is unknown to the general public?

Maybe, edible flowers.
medicinal aerial parts

(I know tons of weeds and wilds are, but what about the frou-frou stuff at nurseries?)
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Here are some plants grown usually as ornamentals that bear yummy edible parts:
Begonia—Begonia (the flowers are delicious and lemony)
Elaeagnus—Elæagnus multiflora, E. umbellata (berries)
Elder, European Black—Sambucus nigra (berries; fried flowers)
Elephant Grass—Portulacaria afra (leaves taste like sorrel)
Ice Plant—Delosperma Cooperi (leaves raw, though bland)
Mulberry, Weeping White—Morus alba 'Pendula' (berries)
Nasturtium—Tropaeolum tuberosum (leaves and tubers)
Orangebark Myrtle—Luma apiculata = Myrtus Luma (berries)
Pansy—Viola tricolor and hybrids (flowers taste wonderful)
Prickly Pear—Opuntia phaeacantha (young pads except for the spines; flowers; fruits)
Quail Bush—Atriplex Breweri (leaves raw)
Society Garlic—Tulbaghia violacea (leaves and flowers)
Sea Kale—Crambe maritima and C. cordifolia (leaves, leaf stems)
Serviceberry—Amelanchier spp. (berries; some cultivars are fruitful, some not)
Sorrel, Garden—Rumex scutatus (leaves raw; 'Silver Shield' is the common clone)
Thyme, Doone Valley—Thymus citriodorus 'Doone Valley' (young tender stem tips)
Wintergreen—Gaultheria procumbens (berries and young tender leaves)

Whole books exist about "edible ornamentals" and edible landscaping. If people really desire much fresh plant food, then all kinds are needed: ornamentals, crop species, weeds and natives. People tend to categorize plants by the main use. My salads often contain over 100 species.

Arthur Lee Jacobson
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I can't say that these are my favorite because I have yet to icorporate them into my edible landscape but these are some things I want to try....

goumi/elaeagnus multiflora-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goumi - i see that is onyour list too.

hardy yam - Dioscorea batatas-http://www.pfaf.org/leaflets/yam.php I don't know if this really qualifies as fancy landcape material for most people but i will use it as such.

juneberry-amelanchier alnifolia - http://www.pfaf.org/leaflets/junebery.php
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Location: Blue Ridge Mountains
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We have an abundance of Day Lilies on our place, they are not native but escaped, and in some places grow wild.

The buds and flowers are delicious eaten raw, in salads, or the buds can be made into fritters. (I've never tried the fritters)

We have a patch growing beside our driveway and every trip to the mailbox I usually stop and have a snack.

I particularly like the young buds, they are sweet and remind me of honey suckles in taste.
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