Edible Perennials (A-Z)

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Aloe Vera

Common Name:  Aloe Vera

Latin Name: Aloe Barbadensis Miller 

Origin: Africa, Arabian Peninsula, and Madagascar 

Season: year round

Aloe Vera is a fast growing succulent that grows in tropical and subtropical regions. It has  thick leaves that have a watery gel inside and is a medicinal plant that is used for skin and digestion. Their gel is also  commonly used in many lotions. 

Bay Rum

Common Name: Bay Rum 

Latin Name: Pimenta Racemosa, Caryophyllus Racemosus

Origin: Caribbean and northern South America

Bay Rum is a tree that has leaves that when distilled produce an aromatic oil that resembles clove oil. This oil is often used in perfumes and in preparing bay rum.

Beauty Berry

Common Name:  Beauty Berry

Latin Name: Callicarpa Americana

Origin: North America

Season: Late Summer/early fall 

The beauty berry is a deciduous shrub native to pine scrub Floria. It  produces strikingly beautiful bright purple berries which are a favorite among birds.  The leaves may be used as a mosquito repellant.

Blue Butterfly Pea

Common Name:  Blue Butterfly Pea

Latin Name: Clitoria Ternatea

Origin: Southeast Asia

Varieties: Blue Butterfly Pea

Season: blooms in spring and summer

 Blue Butterfly Pea is a trailing vining plant with blue edible flowers. They are a favorite among butterflies, birds, and bees. The flowers yield a gorgeous blue/purple hue when made into a tea or lemonade. The liquid can be used as a natural food coloring to add to rice, make dessert, or create colored drinks. 

Brazilian Spinach

Common Name:  Brazilian Spinach

Latin Name:  Alternathera Sissoo

Origin: Brazil

Season: year round

The Brazilian Spinach is a perennial leaf vegetable with leaves that are green, round and crinkled. The leaves can be eaten raw in salads, steamed, or cooked. It has a firm, crunchy texture and is a tasty substitute for spinach.

Charapita Pepper

Common Name: Charipita Pepper

Latin Name: Capsicum sp.

Origin: Peru

The Charapita pepper is a tiny pepper that  has a delicious fruity flavor with a significant heat level that is not overbearing. It can be used in salsas and sauces.

Chaya

Common Name:  ChayaTree Spinach 

Latin Name: Cnidoscolus aconitifolius

Origin: Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico 

Season: year round 

Chaya is a perennial shrub that produces green edible leaves. It was traditionally  used by the Mayans as a food crop and medicinal plant. The Big Leaf Chaya is an excellent leafy green similar to collards. The Dwarf Chaya is smaller and blooms frequently making it a great butterfly attractor. It is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Cooking the leaves for 3-5 minutes is recommended.

Cinnamon Tree

Common Name: Cinnamon

Latin Name: Cinnamomum zeylanicum

Origin: Asia

The Cinnamon tree is an evergreen that contains an aromatic bark and leaves. The  aromatic spice comes from the bark of the tree  that has been peeled and dried and then ground into powder. Cinnamon can be used in sweet and savory foods. 

Cranberry Hibiscus

Common Name:  Cranberry Hibiscus

Latin Name: Hibiscus acetosella

Origin: East Africa

Season: Year round

Cranberry hibiscus is an edible flowering perennial native to East Africa.  It’s leaves have a light crisp tart taste similar to cranberries, hence the name. It’s leaves are a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants, which go great in salads or stir fries.  They produce light pink Hibiscus flowers with a deep red center. 

Coco Plum

Common Name: Coco Plum

Scientific Name: Chrysobalanus icaco

Origin: South Florida Native

The Coco Plum is a plant that produces an edible purple fruit with almond flavored seeds. The fruit is often made into jam. The coco plum makes an excellent hedge shrub with its production of attractive small white flowers.

Costa Rican Mint

Common Name: Costa Rican Mint

Scientific Name: Satureja viminea

Origin: Costa Rica

Costa Rican Mint  gives an excellent savory flavor to foods and can be used fresh or dried in soups, salads, sauces, or as a tea. The Costa Rican mint grows as a shrub or small tree with oval, glossy, lime green leaves and has a strong peppermint scent.

Cuban Oregano

Common Name:  Cuban Oregano

Latin Name: Plectranthus app

Origin: India

Season: Year Round 

Cuban oregano is a perennial succulent with aromatic foliage. Member of the mint family with thick, fuzzy leaves with a strong pleasing odor. Flowers can be white, pink, or lavender.

Egyptian Spinach

Name: Egyptian Spinach

Scientific name: Corchorus Olitorius

Origin: Egypt, Middle East

Egyptian Spinach is a quick growing annual that produces bountiful tender spinach like greens. It is well known for its high vitamin and mineral content. The younger leaves are usually eaten raw, while the older leaves can be cooked or dried and used in soups or other dishes.

Elderberry

Common Name:  Elderberry

Latin Name: Sambucus nigra canadensis

Origin: Eastern Half of United States and Southern Canada 

Elderberry is a fast growing deciduous shrub that produces berries known for its immune boosting properties. They are rich in antioxidants, bioflavonoids, Vitamin C, B6, and Iron. The purple berries are also used to make jams and wine. Due to high levels of Cyanogenic Glycosides when unripe, Elderberries are consumed cooked.

Everglades Tomato

Out of stock

Common Name: Everglades Tomato

Latin Name: Solanum pimpinellifolium

Origin: Native to South Florida


The Everglades Tomato is also  known locally as wild tomato or currant tomato.  The tomato blooms and fruits all year long and grows as an annual or biennial. Though shrub-like when young, the stems will eventually sprawl out up to 10 feet. The fruit is about the size of a dime and has a salty and sweet flavor.

Hibiscus Radiatus

Common Name: Monarch Rosemallow
Latin Name: Hibiscus Radiatus

Origin: Asian Tropics

Hibiscus radiatus is a  perennial plant widely cultivated in the tropics. The leaves are edible and the plant has medicinal uses.

Holy Basil

Out of stock

Common name: Holy Basil/ Tulsi

Latin Name: Ocimum tenuiflorum

Origin: Southeast Asia


Holy Basil, a member of the mint family, can be two different herbs, Ocimum gratissimum, or Ocimum tenuiflorum.  It is also known as Tulsi and often referred to as “The Queen of Herbs” due to it’s commonly used medicinal properties in Ayurveda. It is used to make teas, oils, and poultices and is grown as an annual in most of the U.S and  as a perennial in warmer climates.

Katuk

Common Name:  Katuk

Latin Name: Sauropus androgynus

Origin: Asia 

Season: Year round 

Perennial vegetable that is packed with protein, vitamin C and other essential vitamins and minerals.  Best cooked but new growth can be eaten raw.

Lavender

Common name: Lavender

Latin Name: L. angustifolia

Origin: Mediterranean

Lavender plants are herbaceous perennial  herbs  that produce aromatic leaves and flowers. Lavender plants are sun-loving plants that are simple to grow and are considered low maintenance. The flower and the oil of lavender are used to make teas, essential oils, and can be used in desserts. Lavender is often used to help alleviate anxiety, stress, and insomnia.

Lemongrass

Common Name:  Lemongrass

Latin Name: Cymbopogon citratus

Origin: South Asia and Australia 

Season: Year round 

Lemongrass is a grass like plant which can grow to about 2-3 feet tall with leaves of a light green color.  It’s stems and leaves impart a strong lemony scent and flavor which is great for fragrance insect repellents and cooking. 

Longevity Spinach

Common Name:  Longevity Spinach

Latin Name: Gynura procumbens

Origin: Asia, Africa 

Season: Year round

Longevity spinach is an edible ground cover which can be eaten raw in salads, smoothies and sandwiches or cooked in soups and stir fries. 

Malabar Spinach

Common Name:  Malibar Spinach 

Latin Name: Basel’s spp

Origin: Southeast Asia

Season: Year round

Malibar spinach is a vining leafy green that tastes similar to okra.  It’s flowers can be white, pink or red in color which appear as small globe shaped buds then bloom into tiny node like flowers. 

New Zealand Spinach

Common Name: New Zealand Spinach

Latin Name: Tetragonia tetragonioides

Origin:Argentina, Australia, Chile, Japan, and New Zealand

New Zealand spinach is a perennial grown as a warm-weather annual. It has succulent, triangular- to oval-shaped leaves that are pale to dark green and grow from 2 to 4 inches (5-10cm) long. The leafy herb is abundant in vitamin A and a great source of vitamin B complex.

Nopales (Cactus)

Common Name: Prickly Pear

Latin Name:Opuntia ficus-indica

Origin: Native to Northeastern United States

Nopales cactus is a fruiting cactus plant cultivated for it’s edible pads. Nopal Cacti make a beautiful hedge. The Opuntia ficus-indica produces the actual “prickly pear” cactus fruit which are commonly enjoyed as a refreshing snack. The distinctive reddish-purple juice of the cactus fruit can be used to make juices, candy, and jellies. 

Okinawa Spinach

Common Name:  Okinawa Spinach

Latin Name: Gynura bicolor

Origin: Indonesia 

Season: Year round 

Okinawa spinach is an attractive plant with shiny leaves that are green on top and purple underneath.  It’s flowers are small and orange and its leaves can be eaten raw or cooked in soups and stir fries. 

Pigeon Pea

Common Name: Pigeon Pea, Congo Pea, Red Gram

Latin Name:Cajanus cajan syn. Cajanus indicus

Origin: native to Asia and are grown in many warm and tropical regions throughout the world.

Pigeon pea is a woody, leguminous shrub that produces yellow and red flowers. The seeds can be eaten fresh or as split dried peas. The leaves and young shoots can be eaten cooked. It is considered a staple food crop that provides a great source of protein. Additionally, pigeon pea also makes an excellent feed for cattle, pigs, and poultry.

Roselle

Common Name:  Rosell ( Jaimaican Sorrel) 

Latin Name: Hibiscus Sabdariffa

Origin: Central & West Africa

Season: Flowers late fall through early winter

Rosell is a relative of hibiscus and okra and is commonly referred to as Jamaica Sorrel. The Calyces of the roselle flower are the part that is edible and often used to make Hibiscus Tea, punches, and jams. The seeds are also edible and can be roasted and brewed. Additionally, the Calyces have also been used as a natural food coloring to add color to drinks.

Root Beer Plant

Common Name: Root beer plant, Hoja Santa, Mexican Pepperleaf

Latin Name: Piper auritum

Origin: North America

The Root beer Plant is a perennial herb that can grow up to 12 feet tall, with leaves up to 12 inches across. Root beer plant makes a wonderful addition to a garden because it provides a pleasant aroma you can smell as you walk by. The leaves and fruit are said to taste like root beer with notes of sassafras, anise seed, wintergreen, and pepper.

Rosemary

Common Name: Rosemary

Latin Name: Rosmarinus officinalis

Origin: Mediterranean


Rosemary is a woody and aromatic herb that produces flowers of white, purple or blue color and fragrant, leathery leaves, which look like pine needles.  Rosemary has a myriad of uses for the cook, crafter and landscaper. The herb tastes delicious  in culinary dishes, such as rosemary chicken and lamb and can also be used in teas and extracts. Rosemary is a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B-6.

Simpson Stopper

Common Name: Simpson Stopper, Twinberry

Latin Name: Myrcianthes fragrans

Origin: South Florida 

Simpson’s Stopper is a shrub that attracts butterflies and produces small white fragrant blossoms. This shrub produces bright red berries that are edible and a favorite of the mockingbird , blue jay, and cardinal. Pulp of ripe fruit is best eaten out of hand.

Society Garlic

Common Name: Society Garlic

Latin Name: Tulbaghia violacea

Origin: Rocky grasslands in eastern South Africa

Society garlic is a groundcover that produces delicate, star-shaped purple flowers. It is a perennial plant that produces rhizomes and leaves that are edible. They can be used to cook similarly to how one would use garlic. Additionally, the Flowers are also edible and can be used to garnish.

Tender Leaf Hibiscus

Common Name:  Tender Leaf Hibiscus  aka Bele 

Latin Name: Hibiscus Manihot

Origin: New Guinea

Season: year round

The Tender Leaf Hibiscus has huge leaves with a mild flavor in taste. It makes an excellent and flavorful addition to wraps and is popular for its high nutritional value.

Thai Pepper Leaf

Common Name: Thai Pepper Leaf

Latin Name: Capsicum annuum

Origin: Asia

Thai pepper leaves are small to medium in size and long, lanceolate, or oval in shape. They produce dark green leaves with smooth edges and grow on a shrub-like plant that produces red or green fruit. The leaves can be harvested when they are young. Thai pepper leaves have a peppery, slightly sweet, and grassy flavor with a mild bitterness and warm undertones.

Toothache Plant

Common Name: Toothache Plant

Latin Name: Acmella oleracea

Origin: Brazil

This shrub produces bronze green foliage and olive shaped flowers with a burgundy eye. The leaves and flowers are known to numb the mouth and has  has antibiotic, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties.

Toilet Paper Plant

Common Name: Toilet Paper Plant, Mullein

Latin Name:Verbascum thapsus

Origin : Europe

Toilet Paper plant is a biennial that produces Furry leaves. The plant traces its roots back to Europe and was planted in gardens known for it’s medicinal purposes as an expectorant, diuretic, pain relief and healing of abrasions. The leaves are soft and are considered to be one of the best toilet paper alternatives.

Turk’s Cap Hibiscus

Common Name:  Turks Cap Hibiscus

Latin Name: Hibiscus spp. 

Origin: Central & Southern Mexico

Season: year long

The Turks Cap is a spreading shrub that produces sweet edible  hibiscus like flowers and makes a gorgeous plant for any landscape as they add a bright pop of color.

Wild Coffee

Common Name:  Wild Coffee 

Latin Name: Psychotria Nervosa

Origin: Florida, West Indies, Central and South America 
Wild coffee is a native shrub  with evergreen shiny and dark green leaves. The shrub produces a red fruit that resemble coffee beans. Though the “beans” contain no caffeine, they can be roasted and consumed as a coffee-like beverage

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