Monday, September 10, 2012

Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest

I have been reading Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest by Delena Tull and though I am not that far into it, I am so struck by her thoughts on cultivating native plants in agriculture. To me it makes so much sense.

For some time now we have advocated using natives in our landscapes because they are more adapted to the area, use less water, are more disease resistant, and more drought tolerant. Why on earth are we not doing the same with the many plant based food sources available to us, in all countries and especially those facing severe food shortages? Why do we continue to grow the few primary crops that require so much water and pesticides when there are so many other native plants?

According to the book, there are about 500,000 species of plants and we only use 1000 for food even though there are many more that are edible. One of the many often ignored plants that could be cultivated more in the U.S. at least, is Amaranth.

There are many more plants I could mention here that I have read about so far, but I can see this post is already getting long so I will post more later. The key thought here I think, is cultivating desirable wild edible plants to feed a starving world.


  1. How well I remember my grandfather going out early each spring to harvest a "mess of dandelions." I was a picky eater when I was a kid, so I probably turned up my nose at Grammy's dandelion salad, but I'm sure it was delicious.

  2. The world is a veritbale storehouse of edible plants