En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
28 ratings

Sunday - January 10, 2010

From: McCaysville, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Edible Plants for North Georgia
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

We are planning a forest food garden in the hollers of the N GA Mountains. Which edible fruit, nut, berry, herb and creepers would be best for this reddish, clay-like soil? The food garden is in a meadow sloping down to a big flat area from a pine/maple/oak forest backing. Is there a database search for edible plants by state? If so, sorry, please point us to it. - Feed the Future Food Forest Gardens across the planet

ANSWER:

A forest food garden sounds wonderful, especially in your mountainous area. We don't have a database that identifies edible plants by state, and I couldn't find one online with a quick search, so I relied on books for the most part: Charles Hudson's The Southeastern Indians, Daniel Moerman's Native American Ethnobotany, and Sally and Andy Wasowski's Gardening With Native Plants of the South, cross-checking relevant plants against the USDA Plants database to determine if they occur in your location.

The plants listed below grow wild either in your county or in neighboring counties. Some do best in sun; some do best in part shade.

Keep in mind that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center focuses only on wild-growing native plants, few of which have been bred for culinary purposes, so if you're interested in more familiar food garden plants, you might want to consult local growers.

Edible Fruits:

  • Eastern Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) – a medium-sized tree with fall fruit
  • Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) – a shrub or small tree with early fall fruit
  • Muscadine Grape (Vitis rotundifolia) – a wild grapevine with famously delicious, late summer to fall grapes
  • American Plum (Prunus americana) - a rather tart wild plum tree, fruiting late summer to fall
  • Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) – a small, sharp, summer cherry on a beautiful, large tree
  • Maypop or Purple Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) – delicious, early fall passionfruit from this vine
  • Blackhaw Viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium) - small, raisin-like fall fruits on a small tree

Edible Nuts:


Edible Berries:


Herbs For Seasoning and Teas:


Edible Roots:

 

 


Diospyros virginiana

Castanea pumila

Symplocos tinctoria

Monarda clinopodia

 


Viburnum rufidulum

Carya ovata

Corylus americana

Vaccinium corymbosum

Amelanchier laevis

Rubus argutus

Allium cernuum

Claytonia caroliniana
 

More Edible Plants Questions

Are wild sweet peas edible?
August 05, 2010 - Are wild sweet peas edible? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Edible forest garden for northern Minnesota
March 07, 2014 - I am planning an edible forest garden for northern Minnesota. Can you suggest a list of plants that are native to this area. We are in zone 3a or 3b. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Plant identification in Georgia
September 14, 2011 - I saw the same question that I was going to ask about the plant that folds its leaves at dusk, with sparse branches, rapid growth, small yellow flowers and long (whisker-like, but do not appear to be ...
view the full question and answer

Can beautyberries be used to make jelly from Hodges SC
August 02, 2010 - Since the beautyberry bush berries were used for tea to help with colic, can the berries be used for making jelly?
view the full question and answer

Vegetables for sustainable garden in Rochester NY
July 08, 2009 - I have decided to start growing a small sustainable garden. Therefore I have decided to plant mostly North American native greens and vegetables. I live in upstate New York and so the plants designed ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.

Bibliography

Native American Ethnobotany (1998) Moerman, Daniel E.

The Southeastern Indians (1976) Hudson, Charles

Search More Titles in Bibliography

E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center