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My property is mostly wet or shaded, and often wet AND shaded, so I've gotten to find out a what sort of edible plants grow in these conditions. There's surprisingly quite a few. I thought it might be nice to have a thread that lists all the plants I know of, for my own reference as well as yours if you need it! If you know of any plants that I've missed, please mention them, and I'll try to add them!

Key:
Blue: non-native to PNW
BOLD: Plants I have personally seen growing in these conditions in the PNW, and am familiar with.


Shady:

Herbaceous Layer:

  • Wood/Wild strawberry[/color] (Fragaria vesca) yummy little strawberries:
  • Wild violet[/color] (Viola odorata) edible, tasty flower
  • Bunchberry(Cornus canadensis)
  • Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella): In the damper areas. Looks like cute little shamrocks and tastes like bright sunshine--a sweet and lemony flavor.
  • Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella): also seems to tolerate shade. A sweet, "lemony" leaf. Very tasty!
  • Miner's Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata): Tasty, mild green.
  • Siberian Miner's Lettuce (Claytonia sibirica): Sometimes tasty, sometimes tastes like dirt. The one's growing wild on my property taste like dirt . Make sure you're getting a tasty variety.
  • [/color]
  • Hostas (Hosta): Young shoots supposedly cook up like asparagus! I can't wait until my plants are big enough that I can eat some. Some varieties like/need more shade than others.
  • Ramps (Allium tricoccum)
  • Ramsons/Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum) Prefer semi-shade
  • Mint: loves to spread. Beware!
  • Mushrooms!
  • Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina) fiddleheads are edible
  • Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) edible fiddleheads


  • Vines Layer:

  • Trailing blackberry: Not really a vine, but kind of takes up that zone
  • Hardy kiwis (Actinidia arguta) Supposedly they don't mind part-shade, though I haven't tried to grow them yet.


  • Shrub Layer

  • Red Huckleberry (Vaccinium parvifolium): Likes to grow on WesternRed cedar stumps and debri. Will fruit in full sun to dappled light/part-shade, maybe even full shade.
  • Salal (Gaultheria shallon)
  • Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium)Edible berried. Roots are medicinal, like Goldenseal
  • Nettle(Urtica dioica): Seems to handle shady and part shade rather well. Tasty leaves. Some manage to eat the raw without getting stung. I cook mine! Probably only want to eat 1-2 times per week, as it can cause damage to kidneys if consumed in LARGE amounts. Very nutritious plant, and a good source of protein, too!
  • Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis): Doesn't seem to fruit in deep shade, but the leaves are edible. In part/open shade, it makes little red to yellow berries (color depends on the plant) that are generally slightly sweet and watery. Not the best berry, but ripens before any other berry on my property, so a lot get eaten! Makes a great hedge, and can compete against himallayan blackberry if you  help it out.
  • Thimbleberries (Rubus parviflorus)Sweet, soft, velvety berries. They get dried out if in too much sun &/or heat &/or dry weather (I haven't quite figured out which one). Seems to do best in part shade--like 2-6 hours a day, or dappled light
  • Currant: My sink currant fruits in part shade, and grows in dappled forest (might fruit there, too.) Not sure about other currants, though...
  • Blackcap raspberry: supposedly likes part shade. I haven't tested this though. The berries are delicious.
  • Gooseberry
  • Devil's Club: Shoots are edible, but i haven't tried them. The plant is medicinal. It's giant and thorny, though...
  • Jostaberry (Ribes × nidigrolaria) Was growing tall and producing fruit in a mostly shady part of my mother's garden. Berries are yummy, but take processing, as you have to take off the dried petals from the bottom of the berry.


  • Small Tree/Tall Shrub Layer:

  • Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis)oesn't fruit in full shade, but grows there and fruits in dappled light.
  • Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus): Fruits in part shade
  • Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa): fruits in part shade on my property. Berries not edible unless processed carefully. Even then, not everyone agrees that they're edible. Flowers are edible.
  • Serviceberry/Saskatoon(Amelanchier): Mine is grow in part shade. Not sure if they'll fruit, though. Mine is growing but has yet to bloom after three years...
  • Vine Maple ()Acer circinatum: The flowers and leaves are edible...and if you found one big enough, you could tap it...
  • Hazelnuts: My Beaked Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) is growing in part shade





  • Wet: (Some can handle being really wet all year round, other's just handle seasonal wetness--you'd see them in a wetlands, or growing a foot from a stream, but not in a pond)

    Herbaceous Layer:

  • Arrowhead/Wapato
  • Camas
  • Cattail
  • Water chestnut
  • Wood sorrel
  • Mushrooms!


  • Vines Layer:

  • Trailing blackberry: Not really a vine, but kind of takes up that zone


  • Shrub Layer:

  • Skunk/stink currant (Ribes glandulosum): Smells of pine, and berries taste slightly sweet and piney too. An interesting flavor--my husband loves them.
  • AroniaMine seems unnaffected by being flooded during the winter/early spring, and is even blooming and forming berries this year in part shade!


  • Small Tree/Tall Shrub Layer:

  • Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis)oesn't fruit in full shade, but grows there and fruits in dappled light.
  • Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus): Fruits in part shade
  • Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa): fruits in part shade on my property. Berries not edible unless processed carefully. Even then, not everyone agrees that they're edible. Flowers are edible.
  • Serviceberry/Saskatoon(Amelanchier): Mine seemed entirely unnaffected by being drowned for multiple weeks during the winter and sprin. Mine also is growing in part shade. Not sure if they'll fruit, though. Mine's growing but has yet to bloom after three years...



  • Canopy Tree:

  • Red Alder: You can tap it, but supposedly doesn't taste good. Leaves and catkins are also technically edible. Haven't tried them yet.
  • Big Leaf Maple: Can't handle very wet soils, but can handle the drier areas of a wetlands. Sap is edible (boil it down to syrup--yum!) and the flowers are edible and not too bad tasting
  • chinkapin oaks(Quercus muehlenbergii)The trees supposedly do good in dappled shade and moist ground. Acorns reportedly don't need to be leached of tannins,and the tree produces in just a few years.
  • Pecans(Carya illinoinensis)Grows in floodplains in Missouri. I don't know how well they do in the Pacific Northwest, though



  • Shady AND Wet:

    Herbaceous Layer:

  • Wasabi
  • Wood/Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca) yummy little strawberries:
  • Wild violet (Viola odorata) edible, tasty flower
  • Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)
  • Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella): In the damper areas. Looks like cute little shamrocks and tastes like bright sunshine--a sweet and lemony flavor.
  • Sheep sorrel(Rumex acetosella): also seems to tolerate shade. A sweet, "lemony" leaf. Very tasty!
  • Miner's Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata): Tasty, mild green.
  • Siberian Miner's Lettuce (Claytonia sibirica): Sometimes tasty, sometimes tastes like dirt. The one's growing wild on my property taste like dirt . Make sure you're getting a tasty variety.
  • Licorice Fern: Grows on mostly maple trees that are growing in shady wet areas
  • Mushrooms! As long as you're not trying to grow them in a puddle, that is!


  • Vines Layer:

  • Trailing blackberry: Not really a vine, but kind of takes up that zone
  • Boysenberry:
  • Licorice fern: Not a vine, but it grows up on trees, so it thought I'd mention it here, too.


  • Shrub Layer:

  • Red Huckleberry (Vaccinium parvifolium): Likes to grow on WesternRed cedar stumps and debri. Will fruit in full sun to dappled light/part-shade, maybe even full shade. Will grow in wetlands if growing on a log raised above the water
  • stink currant (probably other currants as well)
  • Nettle(Urtica dioica): Seems to handle shady and part shade rather well. Tasty leaves. Some manage to eat the raw without getting stung. I cook mine! Probably only want to eat 1-2 times per week, as it can cause damage to kidneys if consumed in LARGE amounts. Very nutritious plant, and a good source of protein, too!
  • Cascade Huckleberry ()Vaccinium deliciosum: Only partial shade
  • Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis)oesn't fruit in full shade, but grows there and fruits in dappled light.
  • Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus): Fruits in part shade
  • [/list]
  • Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa): fruits in part shade on my property. Berries not edible unless processed carefully. Even then, not everyone agrees that they're edible. Flowers are edible.
  • Devil's Club: Shoots are edible, but i haven't tried them. The plant is medicinal. It's giant and thorny, though...
  • Sword fern: Supposedly the tubors are edible, but I haven't tried them
  • Lady fern: Supposedly, the "fiddleheads" are edible, but I haven't tried them.
  • Currant: My sink currant fruits in part shade, and grows in dappled forest (might fruit there, too.) Not sure about other currants, though...
  • Blackcap raspberry (Rubus leucodermis): supposedly likes part shade. I haven't tested this though. The berries are delicious.
  • Gooseberry



  • Small Tree/Tall Shrub Layer (I.e. things taller than I can reach):

  • Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis)oesn't fruit in full shade, but grows there and fruits in dappled light.
  • Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus): Fruits in part shade
  • Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa): fruits in part shade on my property. Berries not edible unless processed carefully. Even then, not everyone agrees that they're edible. Flowers are edible.
  • Serviceberry/Saskatoon(Amelanchier): supposedly grow in part shade. Not sure if they'll fruit, though, Mine's growing but has yet to bloom after three years...
  • Vine Maple: The flowers and leaves are edible...and if you found one big enough, you could tap it...
  • Cascara Buckrhorn: Technically edible berries, but more medicinal. It's a diuretic. So, if you need to go, some berries might help... It's also a great tree for bees. Mine is growing on the edges of my wetlands and the edges of my forest.
  • Serviceberry/Saskatoon(Amelanchier): Mine is grow in part shade. Not sure if they'll fruit, though. Mine is growing but has yet to bloom after three years...


  • Canopy Tree:

  • Red Alder: You can tap it, but supposedly doesn't taste good. Leaves and catkins are also technically edible. Haven't tried them yet.
  • chinkapin oaks(Quercus muehlenbergii)The trees supposedly do good in dappled shade and moist ground. Acorns reportedly don't need to be leached of tannins,and the tree produces in just a few years.


  • If you know of any other wet and/or shade tollerant plants, please share them!
    COMMENTS:
     
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    Nicole Alderman wrote:

  • Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus): Fruits in part shade



  • Thank you so much for this tidbit. I'm a bit obsessed with thimbleberries, but I've had some difficulty pinning down their habits. I've finally got one of my own in the ground and I really hope it goes well.
     
    master steward
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    You're welcome! I've found that my thimbleberries will fruit in full sun, but as summer progresses and it gets hotter, most of the berries dry up. Meanwhile, the ones in the woods/part shade, have delicious berries all through their bearing season.

    I LOVE thimbleberries. I've found that my in full sun grew quickly over the years, and now I have to thin it. So, I take the thinnings and plant them in my woods and hedges. I love that I have an abundance of them, and hope yours do well. If they start looking sad, they might need more water. But, even if they look like they died (a few of my transplants did that a few years ago), they will probably spring back the following year (as mine did)
     
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    What do you think about larger food producing trees on a wet site? I've heard that American persimmons, black walnuts, and apples grafted onto pacific crabapple can do ok depending on the site
     
    pollinator
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    How about the chokeberry?

    https://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Aronia+melanocarpa

    A "superfood" that is expensive to buy, they seem good for this list.

    I went to Growing Value Permaculture Nursery in Cincinnati looking for nitrogen fixing shrubbery, and I found them, but my wife found the Aronia.
    She liked that they don't mind standing in water.
    We have that at our yarden, so we  bought two for the yarden, but I've not had time to plant them (I'll need a pick axe,such is the soil).
    They are sitting in the shade,in a dishpan of water, visibly thriving!
     
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    I've tried Ostrich fern fiddle heads for the first time this spring there were also Lady fern fiddle heads in the same spot but the Ostrich are supposed to be superior because they don't have hairs that need to be removed.

    Growing not far from the fiddle heads was False Solomon's Seal, I picked a few shoots but didn't get to try them.
    A fair bit of Devils Club was also in the same area but I wasn't aware of it's medicinal value till this thread. - Thanks

    Learned about the fiddle heads and False Solomon's Seal on a little trip hosted by Steph and Teresa of https://adventuresinself-sufficiency.blogspot.com/
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    William Bronson wrote: How about the chokeberry?

    https://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Aronia+melanocarpa

    A "superfood" that is expensive to buy, they seem good for this list.

    I went to Growing Value Permaculture Nursery in Cincinnati looking for nitrogen fixing shrubbery, and I found them, but my wife found the Aronia.
    She liked that they don't mind standing in water.
    We have that at our yarden, so we  bought two for the yarden, but I've not had time to plant them (I'll need a pick axe,such is the soil).
    They are sitting in the shade,in a dishpan of water, visibly thriving!



    I'll add that to the list! It's not native (I need to get around to color-coding the native vs non-native plants!). My aronia also seemed to do great despite getting flooded for a week. It's also bearing fruit in part shade. WOOT WOOT!

    Speaking of things that don't mind being drowned, my service berry bush also survived and seems to be unharmed by also being flooded for a week!
     
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    I have one patch of very wet soil and the vietnamese mint thrives in it, it can be used as a substitute for fresh coriander in cooking. When you go to a vietnamese restaurant and order a bowl of pho they give you a bunch of it and you can pick the leaves off and pop it in your tasty noodle soup.
     
    pollinator
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    Thimbleberries may be my favorite food.

    Devil's club has many medicinal uses (according to Pojar, the "devil" is a derogatory reference to its use by native shamans/medicine people doing "non-christian" things with it). When very young (before thorns emerge or harden), the leaf buds are delicious and juicy, tasting like a carrot-radish combo.
     
    pollinator
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    The native pecans we have in Missouri can stand wet soils much better than black walnut. They thrive on flood ground. All the pecan farms here are on flood ground.

    Grafting them or buying grafted trees is worth the expense.  Grafted trees produce nuts 5-10 years sooner and a named variety of northern pecan will have bigger nuts. We don’t like thin shelled southern pecans as well here. Our pecans have a higher oil content and more flavor.  People from farther south may disagree. Of course, if you’re too far south for northern varieties, then southern varieties will be better. I don’t know if they like wet soils or not. I think some varieties are from Texas and might like it dryer.
     
    Nicole Alderman
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    James Landreth wrote:What do you think about larger food producing trees on a wet site? I've heard that American persimmons, black walnuts, and apples grafted onto pacific crabapple can do ok depending on the site



    I honestly don't know! I had a plum tree that was doing alright next to a wetlands, but it got choked out by salmonberries before it got too big. Apples grafted onto pacific crabapple sounds like a good combination! I'd love to know if any one has any personal experience with large trees that can stand wet feet!
     
    William Bronson
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    I've been lusting after dwarf chinkapin oaks.
    Ive read they are good in dappled shade and moist ground.
    The acorns reportedly don't need to be leached of tannins,and the tree produces in just a few years.
    There is even a history of chestnuts being grafted onto oaks!

     
    James Landreth
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    I've heard mayhaws can do ok in the Pacific Northwest, both on drier sites and on wet ones. Burnt Ridge carries two varieties that supposedly do well here. I planted both this February and they seem healthy. They look like small apple trees. I'm hoping that more can be done with them than just make jelly, which is what people traditionally use them for. I've heard of people using them in bundt cakes
     
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