The Incredible Edibles Superfood Plant List

edible plants incredible edibles plant lists tropical superfoods Apr 18, 2023
The Incredible Edibles Superfoods List - Earth Mumma Permaculture

If you want to know about the best 32 plants to grow in your tropical (or subtropical) garden for health and well-being for not only you who eat them but also for regenerating land too - look no further!

I have written an entire e-book and published a book about them, but if you want some of the information for free to tantalise your taste buds and motivation to include them in your edible garden, please read on!

Why these plants and not others?

Firstly, they grow abundantly during summer (the wet season), can be eaten all year long, are easily
propagated, are cost-effective, and more than one part of these plants can be eaten or used medicinally.

For example, Sweet potato has an edible root maturing in winter, and the leaves can be eaten all year; it is fed to poultry as fodder, lowers cholesterol and functions as a ground cover to protect the soil. This list is by no means an exhaustive example of possible plant species for the tropics; however, it is a good start. Plant these species into your garden first to obtain a yield within weeks. At the same time, while the other listed support species mature and nurture the many other tropical plants to advance, you will diversify your garden and diet over time.

It is a permaculture strategy to establish perennial plants in a landscape before planting annual crops. Once planted, they will continue to grow without the need to replant each season, which means less maintenance, labour, seed saving, and preparation of garden beds or crop plots. Productive perennial plants include fruit and nut trees, edible rhizomes or roots, grasses, fruiting vines and long-lived spinaches and salad greens.

To grow them is to know them...

The motivation for creating this guide and teaching practical workshops such as my 2-day Intro to Permaculture is to share the abundance of the tropics. Too often, people say that nothing grows here. The truth is the tropics have a short season for producing the foods that are known on supermarket shelves. The rest of the year, food grows abundantly without much effort. However, it is the kinds of foods that are
common in other tropical regions of the world, such as Asia, South America, and Africa. Better yet, the Australian ‘bush tucker’ could be considered our superfood of choice. Sustainable eating means eating locally grown food and requires people to expand their tastes, try new recipes and dig in so that the plants that grow so well in this tropical climate become part of the food culture.

This plant list includes the 32 plants featured in my IncrEDIBLE Edible Tropical Superfoods Guide, with photographs, Latin and common names, origins, descriptions, how to grow them and how to eat them.

Rather than in alphabetical order, the plants are categorised by how they are used. This includes salad/spinach greens eaten raw and then cooked, superstar fruits, roots/rhizomes and spices, and then herbs. Each plant's common and Latin names will link to the dedicated plant blog to access useful information (this is a work in progress until completed). 

These plants are categorised as follows:

* Salad/Spinach Greens to eat raw but also cooked:

1. Aibika - Abelmoschus manihot

2. Ceylon Spinach - Basella alba/rubra

3. Leaf Ginseng - Talinum triangular

4. Purslane - Portulaca oleracea

5. Mushroom plant - Rungia klossii 

6. Plantain - Plantago major

7. Sweetleaf - Sauropus androgynus

* Spinach-like Greens to cook (minimal):

8. Brazillian Spinach - Alternanthera Sissoo

9. Celery Taro - Colocasia esculenta 

10. Kangkong - Ipomea aqua

11. Moringa - Moringa oliefera

12. Okinowa spinach - Gynura crepiodides

13. Sambung - Gynura procumbens

* Superstar fruits:

14. Banana - Banana Musa

15. Papaya - Carica papaya

16. Elderberry - Sambucus nigra/canadensis

* Roots/Rhizomes, Pulse and Spices:

17. Cassava - Manihot esculenta 

18. Sweet Potato - Ipomoea batatas

19. Qld Arrowroot - Canna edulis

20. Pigeon Pea - Cajanus cajan 

21. Ginger - Zingiber officinale

22. Galangal - Alpinia galanga

23. Turmeric - Curcuma longa

* Herbs:

24. Aloe vera - Barbensis species

25. Basil - Ocimum basilicum 

26. Chilli -  Capsicum ssp.Solanaceae

27. Comfrey - Symphytum offinale

28. Tropical Coriander - Eryngium foetidum

39. Gotu Kola - Centella asiatica

30. Lemongrass - Cymbopogon citratus

31. Tarragon - Tagetes lucida

32. Vietnamese mint - Persicaria odorata

Coconut would be the next superfood to include when expanding the plant list!

Herbs and green leaves are particularly crucial in your daily life. To find information about why salad greens are vital to your health and for a list of edible flowers, check out my book or join my mailing list for upcoming blogs on these topics. You'll also find recipes within that make it easy to be eating from your garden to your plate. 

My journey of eating fresh from my garden has been influenced by learning about many of these plants through books, local permaculture, seed savers and gardening groups and the market stall holders, often PNG and Asian women who have kindly shared their fresh produce and all the ways to eat these unusual foods. 

If you already have my book, you might like to expand your garden species with Blake Hudson's new book: Tropical Food Plants, which is an extensive resource that explores the incredible diversity of more than 121 edible tropical plants that can be grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. He has carefully selected the most appropriate for tropical regions, such as Australia, Florida and the Asia Pacific. Learn more about it here: Tropical Food Plants - A Field Guide to Tropical Edible Plants, by the EarthEartisan.

Yes, we sell these plants in our home nursery; please connect if you would like to get your garden started!

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