PFAF Books ** Please visit the shop to view our books in paperback and digital formats. We have books on Forest/Woodland Gardening, Edible Plants, Edible Trees and a French translation of Edible Plants. All proceeds from the shop go towards the projects of the charity, Plants For A Future. more >>

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Recommended this month

International Permaculture Convergence, London 2015

Chris Marsh, Trustee of Plants For A Future, will be presenting at the International Permaculture Convergence, London 2015 (IPCUK) in September. More >>

How to carry out soil tests.

The UK Permaculture Association is identifying and developing a number of simple tests which can be used by researchers and practitioners throughout the world. These include tests for measuring biodiversity, soil quality and cropping.

The aim is to create a simple, comparable, scientifically valid, monitoring toolkit that can measure and document key indicators of success for permaculture projects across the world. Many of these tests already exist (e.g. Holisitic Management grassland 'bullseye' tests developed by Kirk Gadzia, or OPAL's citizen science tests for soil, air and water quality and biodiversity).

More >>

Plantes Comestibles

New Book ** Plantes Comestibles: Le guide pour vous inspirer a choisir et cultiver des plantes comestibles hors du commun [Paperback]

Edible Plants: French Translation. La traduction française du livre Plantes comestibles (Edible Plants) est maintenant disponible! Partagez ce lien avec vos amis.

 More >>

 

Plants For A Future: A resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants
Plants For A Future (PFAF) is a charitable company, originally set up to support the work of Ken and Addy Fern on their experimental site in Cornwall, where they carried out research and provided information on edible and otherwise useful plants suitable for growing outdoors in a temperate climate. Over time they planted 1500 species of edible plants on 'The Field' in Cornwall, which was their base since 1989. Over ten years ago, Ken began compiling a database, which currently consists of approximately 7000 species of plants.
For more information on the work carried out by the Ferns, see: The History of Plants For A Future

For more on the Ferns see: The Ferns
Addy Fern says:
'Visits to the Field and volunteering there are welcome!'

Plants For A Future: 20 years on

The trustees of PFAF, in recognition of the work of the Ferns, and for information about what they achieved, commissioned a detailed mapping and ecological Survey of The Field. The Survey Report is available for anyone who is interested. We have also employed professional website developers to redesign the website and improve the content of the database, work on which is ongoing. We share in, and continue to support, the aims of the founders.

The Plants for a Future Concept

It is our belief that plants can provide people with the majority of their needs, in a way that cares for the planet's health. A wide range of plants can be grown to produce all our food needs and many other commodities, whilst also providing a diversity of habitats for our native flora and fauna.

There are over 20,000 species of edible plants in the world yet fewer than 20 species now provide 90% of our food. Large areas of land devoted to single crops increase dependence upon intervention of chemicals and intensive control methods with the added threat of chemical resistant insects and new diseases. The changing world climate greatly affecting cultivation indicates a greater diversity is needed.

more

 

New Book: Woodland Gardening

Designing a low-maintenance, sustainable edible woodland garden with fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables

It is possible to plan out a woodland garden in a space as small as a backyard or as large as a few acres, using the guidelines that nature has shown us, but using species that can provide us with fruits, seeds, leaves, roots and flowers that are delicious and highly nutritious. When well designed, such a system can:

»» be far more productive than a field of annuals
»» produce a much wider range of foods
»» require far less work
»» require far less inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides
»» provide valuable habitats for wildlife
»» be very pleasing aesthetically....more

 

What's here

LATEST NEWS

For our latest news click here

DATABASE

Plant Search

Search for over 7000 edible and medicinal plants using a number of search criteria including: common and Latin names, keyword, family, habitat and use (medicinal, edible or other). Search Now

You can do a more detailed search using the Search Properties section. This allows you to search for a number of plant features at once. For example you might want to search for a plant that needs light sandy soil, that is between 1m and 5m high and that likes shade. The database search will find plants that have all 3 of these features.more

 
PLANT USES

The Plant Uses section gives a wide variety of uses for plants including their medicinal and edible qualities as well as other uses for example, building materials, dyes, paints, inks and paper or clothing. In many cases this information is supported by the database with direct links to relevant plants. Plant Uses

In this section you can also find the web page 'Top 20 Plants'. This page includes some of our favourite plants that we feel are so good they deserve an article all to themselves for example, Allium, Cornus and Viola. The page also has top rated plants for edibility and medicinal uses. The plants are rated by use, through our research and experience, and all have either a top rating of 5 apples for edibility or 5 hearts for medicinal use.

Additional pages include Woodland Gardening, Vegan Organics, Perennial Plants, and Habitats.more

Translations

 
RESEARCH
Plants For A Future is taking part in a research collaboration with the Permaculture Association (Britain) to help members of the public, keen enthusiasts and academics to find out more about sustainable ways of living, and the plants and other species that can contribute to that. We would like to explore the use of plants, both native to Britain and Europe and from temperate areas around the world, suitable for: the ornamental garden, the edible lawn, shade, ponds, walls, hedges, agroforestry and conservation. more

Search: Plants For A Future Page Content

Apart from the 7000+ plant pages we have over 200 content pages with information on everything from woodland gardens to seed saving. You can search the Plants For A Future Page Content by using the search here
 

General Disclaimer

To the best of our knowledge all the information contained herein is accurate and true.

However we cannot guarantee that everyone will react positively to all edible plants or other plant uses.

It is commonly known that many people suffer allergic reactions to conventional foods and products. Even amongst the more commonly eaten fruits, for example, there are plenty of instances where people react badly to them:

  • Many people are allergic to strawberries and will come out in a rash if they eat them.
  • Some people develop a rash if they touch the stems of parsnips.
  • Potatoes become poisonous if they turn green.
  • Eating large quantities of cabbage can adversely affect the thyroid gland.

In general, we believe that the overall health of people will be greatly improved by bringing more diversity into their diet and through using more natural products.

We strongly recommend the following preventative precautions when trying anything new:

  • Make sure you have identified the plant correctly
  • Try a small taste of anything new in your diet. If there are no side effects increase the quantity at the next meal.
  • When trying new soaps or skin applications try them on a very small area before proceeding to larger areas of the body. Look for any uncomfortable reactions or changes and if there is do not proceed with further application.

No liability exists against Plants for a Future or any member of Plants for a Future, nor can they be held responsible for any allergy, illness or injurious effect that any person or animal may suffer as a result of information in this catalogue or through using any of the plants mentioned by Plants for a Future.

 

Plant of the week

Plant of the week

Melaleuca alternifolia / Tea Tree

Half Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Edible Books Plants For A Future

Amazing Plant Fact

Archaeologists have recovered remains of sunflower seeds dating back to the year 800 AD. Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is an annual plant native to the Americas that possess a large inflorescence (flowering head). The sunflower got its name from its huge fiery blooms, whose shape and image is often used to depict the sun. The sunflower has a rough, hairy stem, broad, coarsely toothed, rough leaves and circular heads of flowers. The heads consist of 1,000-2,000 individual flowers joined together by a receptacle base. Sunflower seeds were taken to Europe in the 16th century where, along with sunflower oil, they became a wide-spread cooking ingredient. Sunflower leaves can be used as a cattle food, while the stems contain a fibre which may be used in paper production. The florets within the sunflower's cluster are arranged in a spiral pattern. Typically each floret is oriented toward the next by approximately the golden angle, 137.5°, producing a pattern of interconnecting spirals where the number of left spirals and the number of right spirals are successive Fibonacci numbers. Typically, there are 34 spirals in one direction and 55 in the other; on a very large sunflower there could be 89 in one direction and 144 in the other. This pattern produces the most efficient packing of seeds within the flower head. Sunflowers most commonly grow to heights between 1.5 and 3.5 m (5–12 ft). Scientific literature reports that a 12 m (40 ft), traditional, single-head, sunflower plant was grown in Padua in 1567. The same seed lot grew almost 8 m (26 ft) at other times and places, including Madrid. During the 20th century, heights of over 8 m have been achieved in both Netherlands and Ontario, Canada Despite the common belief, mature sunflowers do not track the sun. The mature flowerheads typically face east; only young sunflowers exhibit heliotropism (sun turning): the leaves and buds of young sunflowers follow the sun so that their orientation changes from east to west during the course of a day.

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