What Are Perennial Foods?

Perennial Food, Perennial Food Gardening, edible landscapes
Perennial Food Gardening

Perennial foods, on the whole, are low maintenance sources of food once they’ve been established and their production can be improved with a little tender loving care. Many perennials will be in our backyard trees and/or are landscaping. Their form can be very ranging from bulbs, to berries, it’s to trees and bushes.  When thinking of perennial foods, we must keep an open mind. Many edible foods are ignored by commercial markets, even though, many if not all were eaten by media and/or ancient peoples throughout history.

Please keep in mind that what is a perennial in your area is dictated by your area USDA Plant Hardiness Zone and the hardiness range of the plant itself.

Here is a starter list, which I will update as I have more time.

  • Alliums

    • Bunching onions
    • Chinese leeks
    • Chives
    • Elephant Garlic
    • Egyptian Walking Onions
    • Common Garlic
    • Garlic Chives
    • Potato Onions
    • Shallot

    Berries

    • Cranberry
    • Grapes
    • Blackberry
    • Blueberry
    • Elderberry
    • Gooseberry
    • Huckleberry
    • Musk Strawberry
    • Raspberry
    • Salmonberry
    • Strawberry
    • Turkscap

     

    Bushes & Shrub

    • Autumn Olive
    • Blueberry
    • Cherry
    • Gooseberries
    • Lingonberry
    • Nanking Cherry
    • Sea Buckthorns

    Cactus

    • Prickly Pear Cactus

    Cereals

    • Perennial Buckwheat
    • Pearl Millet
    • Indian Ricegrass

    Herbs

    • Angelica
    • Anise Hyssop
    • Balm (Lemon Balm)
    • Basil (Holy Basil, African Blue)
    • Bunching onions
    • Burnet
    • Chicory
    • Common Oregano ( aka wild marjoram)
    • Egyptian Walking Onions
    • French Tarragon
    • Ginger
    • Horseradish
    • Lavender
    • Lovage
    • Marsh Mello
    • Mexican Oregano
    • Mint
    • Parsley
    • Rosemary
    • Sage
    • Sorrel
    • Tarragon
    • Thyme
    • Winter Savory
    • Yarrow

    Edible Flowers

    • Bee Balm
    • Elderberry Flower
    • Hibiscus
    • Mint
    • Purple Coneflower
    • Rose Hips and Flowers
    • Saffron Crocus
    • Turkscap

    Fruit Trees

    • Apricot
    • Apple
    • Mulberry
    • Cherry
    • Fig
    • Loquat
    • Nectarine
    • Pawpaw
    • Peach
    • Pear (Asian)
    • Pear (European)
    • Persimmon
    • Plum
    • Pomegranate
    • Quince
    • Sour Cherry

    Grasses

    • Bamboo
    • lemongrass

    Legumes

    • Kudzu Bean
    • Winged Bean
    • Honey locust Tree
    • Mesquite Tree
    • Pigeon Pea
    • Scarlet Runner

    Nut Trees

    • Almond
    • Black Walnut
    • English Walnut
    • Hazelnut
    • Pecan

    Vegetables and Greens

    • Angelica
    • Artichoke
    • Asparagus
    • Cardoon
    • Fennel
    • Rhubarb
    • Seakale

    Vines

    • Chayote (Squash)
    • Common Grape (European)
    • Fox Grape
    • Muscadine Grape

Many perennial Forage Foods sources are available, also.

Related Topics:

What Are Forage Foods?

Foraged edible dandelion flowers and greens in bowl

Forage foods, are foods which grow wild, or have escaped into the wild and are readily found along roadsides, in the fields, forests, and Meadows. They are an excellent way to supplement the foods you put on the table and/or preserve for winter, or later consumption. Forage foods can also be used to supplement foods raised in your home garden and backyard fruit and nut trees.  These food include the food long use in subsistence living and others.  Forage may also include animals (e.g meat) and animal produced foods (e.g. Honey). 

I have many fond memories of my youth where we forged in the forests fields and roadsides where we lived. These could range from wild berries to apple trees found in an old homestead on our property or neighbor’s property with permission.

Here is a quick list of forage foods that I can think of off the top of my head. Some of these foods, especially mushrooms, will require some special handling and special knowledge to be safely eaten.

Quick List of Forage Foods

  • Acorns (Nut)
  • Alpine Strawberry
  • American Persimmon
  • Autumn Olive
  • Bamboo (Shoots)
  • Barberry
  • Beechnut
  • Black Walnuts
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberry
  • Butternut
  • Cattail (Typha latifolia)
  • Chamomile
  • Chickweed
  • Chicory
  • Chili Peppers
  • Curly Dock
  • Damsons
  • Dandelions
  • Dewberries
  • Duck-potato (Sagittaria latifolia)
  • Elderberry
  • Epasote (Spanish Bean Herb)
  • Ferns
  • Fox Grape
  • Garlic Mustard
  • Gooseberry
  • Hickory Nut
  • Juniper Shrub
  • Kelp / Seaweed
  • Kudzu
  • Lingonberry
  • Mesquite
  • Mulberry
  • Mullein
  • Muscadine Grape
  • Mushrooms
  • Nettles
  • Paw Paw
  • Pecan nut
  • Persimmon
  • Pine Nuts
  • Prickly Pear Cactus
  • Rose Hips
  • Salmonberry
  • Sassafras
  • Sheep sorrel
  • Sloes
  • Sumac
  • Tepary Beans (Phaseolus acutifolius)
  • Watercress
  • Wild Asparagus
  • Wild Cherries (Prunus species)
  • Wild Onion
  • Wild Rice (Zizania Aquatica)
  • Wood Sorrel

Related References