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  • Tropical/Subtropical Shade-loving Edibles

    Was just wondering if I could get some input on shade-loving edible plants that grow well in a subtropical climate (e.g. Brisbane). I know that there are large number of plants that can tolerate partial shade, so I don't really mean to include those. What I would like to know is edible plants that can tolerate full or nearly full shade.

    And yes I realize there have been threads of a similar nature in the past, which I have perused and found some information from, but my thread is a bit more specific to my conditions.

    Here's the list I have so far:

    - ginger
    - galangal
    - cardomom
    - tumeric
    - mushrooms
    - pineapple (I have seen it growing in very shady places, but has anyone ever had one fruit in such a location?)
    - coffee
    - tea (Camellia sinensis)
    - alpine strawberries
    - comfrey
    - ferns (edible fiddleheads)
    - sweet potato

    And just FYI, here is the shade analysis I have done of our site so you can see what kind of shady areas I am dealing with. Single lines represent partial shade and criss-crossed lines represent full or nearly full shade.

    P1000817

  • #2
    I will add to my own list pandanus, since that seems to do well in shady spots. So here's the updated list:

    - ginger
    - galangal
    - cardomom
    - tumeric
    - mushrooms
    - pineapple (I have seen it growing in very shady places, but has anyone ever had one fruit in such a location?)
    - coffee
    - tea (Camellia sinensis)
    - alpine strawberries
    - comfrey
    - ferns (edible fiddleheads)
    - sweet potato
    - pandanus (Pandanus amaryllifolius)

    Comment


    • #3
      Mine pineapples are hidden under a layer of ferns and yes the are producing lovely sweet fruit. It's just harder to find in the ferns!

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks, eco. Good to know!

        Comment


        • #5
          Updated List, with some descriptions of the plants so this can be used as a resource for others:

          - ginger - edible root, used fresh or as spice
          - galangal - edible root, used fresh or as spice
          - cardomom - edible root, used as spice
          - tumeric - edible root, used as spice
          - mushrooms - many edible kinds
          - pineapple - edible fruit
          - coffee - fruit contain "beans" used for making coffee
          - tea (Camellia sinensis) - young leaves used for tea
          - alpine strawberries (subtropical only) - edible fruit
          - comfrey -young leaves technically edible, but mostly used as medicinal plant and nutrient accumulator
          - ferns - mostly ornamental value, but young shoots (fiddleheads) are edible
          - sweet potato - edible roots, leaves, and shoots, but primarily grown for tubers and as ornamental vine
          - pandanus (Pandanus amaryllifolius) - edible leaves used for flavoring
          - wild betel (Piper sarmentosum) - edible peppery flavored leaves
          - cacao (tropical only) - edible beans used to make chocolate
          - sweet leaf aka katuk (Sauropus androgynus) - fast-growing edible shoots and leaves eaten raw or cooked

          Comment


          • #6
            Arrowroot. I have it growing under the canopy of a large loquat tree in a moist area. It's "Greenus growtallus" name is Canna edulis. The leaves are about 10% protein and good animal food or for mulch. Leaves can be used for eating off. Rhizomes are about 80% starch. Good for gluten intolerants. I think that you have to cook it before you eat it to get rid of a potential toxin. Used to be a bigger part of Queenslander's diets early in the 19th century.
            Always look on the bright side of life, when life seems jolly rotten, then there's something you've forgotten..........

            Comment


            • #7
              From this day forth I'm calling it Greenus growtallus. Love it!

              Lettuces do OK in the shade. Mint, pinto peanut. My pineapple sage seems to thrive in the shade of the nectarine tree.

              I have a really healthy crop of both Singapore Daisy and Wandering Jew growing in the shade - you can have as much of that as you like if you come and remove it!

              Comment


              • #8
                Pakis, Paku, (indonesia) Diplazium esculentum... a yummy edible SE Asian fern.
                I've grown it in gardens in NNSW in the past , so it's available and worth growing in shady moist areas.

                Kencur (Indonesia) Kaempferia galanga - Zingiberaceae - spice...essential for Balinese, and Javanese sate sauce.

                Kra Chai (Thai), Tamu Kunci (Indo) Boesenbergia rotunda- another ginger- spice, excellent in fish curries (Gaeng som pla)

                Pacaya, Tepejilote (Cent America) Chamaedorea tepejilote - male unopened inflorescences are delicious fried in egg batter.

                many palms with edible hearts will grow or at least start in shade.
                an excellent source of food in tropics and sub-tropics , it just keeps growing until needed as food,
                then the standing trunks can be used as a substrate for edible mushrooms (Pleurotus spp., Auricularia spp. etc.)
                and turned back into soil in the process.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for the inclusions curramore, eco, and speedy. I believe that arrowroot, lettuce, and pineapple sage can do well in partial shade, but not full shade. They all seem to need at least a couple hours of sun. Mint might also fit into that category; my flatmate told me that he tried planting mint in deep shade and it just wouldn't take. I have actually just planted some myself in a very shady area today so I will see about that myself. For now I will leave it off the list, but if it takes well to the spot, I will add it on there. Also, I didn't know pinto peanut was edible until now. I will have to try eating some flowers next time I see it.

                  Updated list:

                  - ginger family (Zingiberaceae Family; ginger, galangal, cardomom, kencur, fingerroot, etcl.) - edible root, used fresh or as spice
                  - mushrooms - many edible kinds
                  - pineapple - edible fruit
                  - coffee - fruit contain "beans" used for making coffee
                  - tea (Camellia sinensis) - young leaves used for tea
                  - alpine strawberries (subtropical only) - edible fruit
                  - comfrey - young leaves technically edible, but mostly used as medicinal plant and nutrient accumulator
                  - ferns (e.g. Diplazium esculentum) - mostly ornamental value, but young shoots (fiddleheads) are edible
                  - sweet potato - edible roots, leaves, and shoots, but primarily grown for tubers and as ornamental vine
                  - pandanus (Pandanus amaryllifolius) - edible leaves used for flavoring
                  - wild betel (Piper sarmentosum) - edible peppery flavored leaves
                  - cacao (tropical only) - edible beans used to make chocolate
                  - sweet leaf aka katuk (Sauropus androgynus) - fast-growing edible shoots and leaves eaten raw or cooked
                  - pinto peanut - edible yellow flowers, but mostly grown as legume perennial groundcover
                  - palms (e.g. Linospadix monostachya, Chamaedorea tepejilote) - many different species, but some can tolerate shade and have edible fruits, flowers and/or hearts

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Cardamom is very hard to source in Australia , and supposedly a bit tropical . Most people who think they have it act. have a different species Alpinia nutans not Elettaria cardamomum . It is the seeds that are used , formed on a short basal infl. from very tall 2m + plants . Another interesting shade loving plant is Kava [another Piper ]. Also a few edible aroids thrive in shaded spots Amorphophallus paeoniifolius , konjac , albus are the 3 I know that are edible , Monstera deliciosa , Xanthosoma .. And yes calatheae like , Maranta arundinacea the true arrowroot makes an amazing ground cover especially the variegated form .

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Chilli has proven to grow well in shaded areas.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by aroideana View Post
                        Cardamom is very hard to source in Australia , and supposedly a bit tropical . Most people who think they have it act. have a different species Alpinia nutans not Elettaria cardamomum . It is the seeds that are used , formed on a short basal infl. from very tall 2m + plants .
                        Wouldnt mind getting a hold of some Black Cardamom too Amomum subulatum

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Updated list:

                          - ginger family (Zingiberaceae Family; ginger, galangal, cardomom, kencur, fingerroot, etcl.) - edible root, used fresh or as spice
                          - mushrooms - many edible kinds
                          - pineapple - edible fruit
                          - coffee - fruit contain "beans" used for making coffee
                          - tea (Camellia sinensis) - young leaves used for tea
                          - alpine strawberries (subtropical only) - edible fruit
                          - comfrey - young leaves technically edible, but mostly used as medicinal plant and nutrient accumulator
                          - ferns (e.g. Diplazium esculentum) - mostly ornamental value, but young shoots (fiddleheads) are edible
                          - sweet potato - edible roots, leaves, and shoots, but primarily grown for tubers and as ornamental vine
                          - pandanus (Pandanus amaryllifolius) - edible leaves used for flavoring
                          - wild betel (Piper sarmentosum) - edible peppery flavored leaves
                          - cacao (tropical only) - edible beans used to make chocolate
                          - sweet leaf aka katuk (Sauropus androgynus) - fast-growing edible shoots and leaves eaten raw or cooked
                          - pinto peanut - edible yellow flowers, but mostly grown as legume perennial groundcover
                          - palms (e.g. Linospadix monostachya, Chamaedorea tepejilote) - many different species, but some can tolerate shade and have edible fruits, flowers and/or hearts
                          - Monster Fruit (Monstera deliciosa) - edible fruit
                          - Amorphophallus genus - several species have edible tubers
                          - Kava (Piper methysticum) - edible root used as stimulant
                          - Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea) - edible tubers processed for starch
                          - Xanthosoma & Alocasia genuses (various taros) - edible roots/rhizomes

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hello Adam, believe it or not my Queensland Arrowroot brought to Nambour by my Kanak ancestors in the very early 1900's is Canna edulis and does grow and produce ample root material in full shade as it has done here for the past 5 or 6 generations or 100 or so plus years. Still in the same spot under the weeping willow where the kanak camp was in the 1910's .The European settlers here could not grow wheat or barley or rice. My Grandma grew arrowroot, taro, turmeric, cardamon, galangal, and true ginger at her home farm at Perwillowen from 1900 to the late 70's . Being the first European woman born on the North Coast she spent most of her youth tom boying with the local natives and the South Sea Island Natives. Tapioca from the sago palm would not grow here, the Kanaks were most dissappointed. My childhood memories are filled with the melodies of the Eggmoless, Hart, Chillie and Demal families along the creek where the Nambour RSL and Coles New World stores are now. Eating smoked catfish from Petrie Creek there when my dad built the concrete bridge across the Creek , my job at 12 was to keep ready rolled smokes up to the 15 or so men and to catch fish and cook it for their lunch. Another plant underestimated is the ckoko vine. steamed tendrils are as good as veges get. The choko is a much maligned food source.
                            Always look on the bright side of life, when life seems jolly rotten, then there's something you've forgotten..........

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The pawpaw tree (Asimina triloba), an native of the south and east cost of america is one of the few trees to produce fruit in full shade. I don't know if it is available on your side of the planet, but it is then it is worth trying. It is in the Banana Family and originates in central america, I think, but now it grows in subtropical and temperate areas.

                              Bananas can take partial shade, but I don't know about full shade.

                              camellia bushes or shrubs can grow and bloom in heavy shade. I have one planted against the north wall of my house, northern hemisphere, and it does well. The seeds can be used to make a oil, or collected and sold to those who do. It blooms late winter, which in my subtropical local can be December to February.

                              Mulberries produce, though at a reduced rate in heavy shade.

                              hydrangea, though not edible produced beautiful blooms on the north side of my home too.
                              http://wouldieatitagainfoodblog.blogspot.com/

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