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The PFAF Database:

On our website, pfaf.org, you can 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 techniques includes:
  • search by name
  • search by keyword
  • you can browse plants common and Latin names by alphabetical letter
  • you can browse plants by their family, habitat and use (medicinal, edible or other)
  • you can search a plant by it use, for example whether it can be used for:

edible: e.g. coffee, chocolate, gelatine, oil
medicinal e.g. acrid, antacid, antibiotic, kidney
other e.g. alcohol. beads, bottles, fencing, fuel
special uses e.g. nitrogen fixer, hedge

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 will find plants that have all 3 of these features.

The main aim of the charity is researching and providing information on ecologically sustainable horticulture, as an integral part of designs involving high species diversity and permaculture principles. Approaches such as woodland/forest gardening use a minimal input of resources and energy, create a harmonious eco-system and cause the least possible damage to the environment, while still having the potential to achieve high productivity.

*** Latest News ***

On 4 October 2017, Chris and David visited Wishtree Agroforestry & Permaculture Centre. Our photo essay of the visit is at www.pfaf.org/user/Research.aspx?id=312.

On 3 August 2017, Wendy and Chris visited Dartington Agroforestry Project. Our photo essay of the visit is at www.pfaf.org/user/Research.aspx?id=311.

On 26 July 2017, Wendy and Chris visited East Devon Forest Garden. Our photo essay of the visit which you can view at www.pfaf.org/user/Research.aspx?id=310.

On 30 May 2017, PFAF trustees Wendy Stayte and Chris Marsh visited grower Mandy Barber's land, the real life site of Incredible Vegetables (www.incrediblevegetables.co.uk ). We put together a photo essay of the visit which you can view at www.pfaf.org/user/Research.aspx?id=307.

During 2016 and 2017 PFAF have been adding to our database 700 new tropical plants. This was one of the first new plants: http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Aegle+marmelos - note the 3 apples and 3 hearts for edible and medicinal uses, and 5 tools symbols for other uses. Obviously an important plant! You can find plants by searching in the USDA Hardiness zones 10 to 12 or the PFAF Hardiness scale of 10.

Database Search Page:

Edible, Medicinal and other uses of over 7,000 plants

Search for name:

Common or botanical Name or Family. You can use a fragment of a name if you are unsure of the spelling.

Alphabetically: Latin names & Common names, Family, Habitate
> Latin names: A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z
> Common names: A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Z 
> Family ( shows classification of plants into division, order, families, etc.)
> Habitat (all the different habitats you can search for)
> Edible Uses (full list and description of edible uses)
> Medicinal Uses (full list and description of medicinal uses
> Other Uses (fibre, wood, etc)
Search by Use & Properties
Select any of the keywords below to locate plants with this property. Select the 'HELP' link below the column to get more information on the keywords used and further database links. Select the 'Help with these terms' link to see a helpful reference list of keywords while selecting.
** Less is more! The fewer conditions specified the more plant will be returned. Help with these terms
Edible Rating
Minor 1    2    3    4    5    Great
Medicinal Rating
Minor 1    2    3    4    5    Great
Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Other Uses

Special Uses

Edible Parts


Hardiness PFAF UK
How hardy is it on a scale from 1 - 10. One will survive arctic winters, ten is tropical. Cornwall is about eight, but can grow some plants from zone nine. Most of Britain is zone seven, going down to zone six in the north and four in the mountains.
Hardiness USDA
USDA hardness zone: a geographically defined area in witch a pecific category of plant life is capable of growing, as defined by dimatic conditions, including its ability to withstand the minimum temperatures of the zone. For Example, a plant that is described as "hardy to zone 10" means that the Plant can withstand a minimum temperature of -1 C(30 F). Amore resilient plant that is "Hardy to zone 9" can tolerate a minimum temprature of -7 C(19 F). More>>
Growth Rate
Full Shade: deep woodland, a north-facing wall etc; Semi Shade: light woodland, a position that is shaded for part of the day etc; No Shade: is unshaded positions.
Tolerates Pollution
Frost Tender
Flowering times and types
Month :     Jan     Feb     Mar    Apr    May   June   July    Aug    Sept    Oct    Nov    Dec
In Leaf :
Flowering time:
Seed ripens:
Flower Type

Other Options:

> Download the database for use at home or get it sent on CD-ROM.
> Download the full Species Database Bibliography (270 references).
> Help with these terms

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 Uses

Edible Uses
Medicinal Uses
Other Plant uses
Woodland Gardening
Why Perennial Plants?
Top Edible Plants
Top Medicinal Plants
Garden Design

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