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    Tropical/Subtropical Shade-loving Edibles 
    #1
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    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
     
     

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    #2
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    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)
     
     

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    #3
    Moderator eco4560's Avatar
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    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!
     
     

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    #4
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    Thanks, eco. Good to know!
     
     

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    #5
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    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
     
     

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    #6
    Senior Member Curramore1's Avatar
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    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.
     
     

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    #7
    Moderator eco4560's Avatar
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    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!
     
     

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    #8
    Senior Member Speedy's Avatar
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    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.
     
     

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    #9
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    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
     
     

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    #10
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    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 .
     
     

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