Garden Literature


Persimmon tree (Diospyros virginiana)

  • Extremely hardwood-used commonly to make golf clubs!
  • Persimmon fruit is one of the most widely eaten in the world. The American Persimmon fruit ripens in late Fall, and can add a high amount of Vitamin C and antioxidants to your diet. The seeds can be dried and prepared like coffee, and the leaves can be used to make a sweet tea. Try eating this fruit after a frost-the cold temperate brings out the sugars! But careful of eating it too soon- unripe it is extremely astringent!



Serviceberry (Amelanchier)

  • Also known as Shadbush, Juneberry, Shadwood, Sugarplum, Chuckley pear
  • The fruit of several species are excellent to eat raw, tasting somewhat like a blueberry, strongly accented by the almond-like flavour of the seeds. Fruit is harvested locally for pies and jams.
  • The Native American food pemmican was flavored by shadbush fruits in combination with fat and dried meats, and the stems were made into arrow shafts.
  • Fruits are important to wildlife.




  • Latin name: Vaccinium
  • Vaccinium is a Genus of Shrubs or Dwarf shrubs in the plant Family Ericaceae. The Fruit of many species are eaten by humans and some are of commercial importance, including the Cranberry, Blueberry, Bilberry or whortleberry, Lingonberry or cowberry, and huckleberry.


  • Latin name: Rubus
  • Rubus is a large Genus of Flowering plants in the Rose family, Rosaceae, subfamily Rosoideae. Raspberries, blackberries, and dewberries are common, widely distributed members of the genus.


  • Latin name: Sambucus
  • They bear large clusters of small white or cream-colored Flowers in late spring; these are followed by clusters of small black, blue-black, or red berries.
  • The flowers of Sambucus nigra are used to produce Elderflower cordial. The French, Austrians and Central Europeans produce elderflower syrup, commonly made from an extract of elderflower blossoms, which is added to pancake (Palatschinken) mixes instead of blueberries. People throughout much of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe use a similar method to make a syrup which is diluted with water and used as a drink. Wines, cordials and Marmalade have been produced from the berries. In Italy (especially in Piedmont) and Germany the Umbels of the elderberry are batter coated, fried and then served as a dessert or a sweet lunch with a sugar and cinnamon topping.
  • Used for its antioxidant activity to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.
  • The leaves, twigs, branches, seeds and roots contain a Cyanide producing Glycoside. Ingesting any of these parts in sufficient quantity can cause a toxic build up of cyanide in the body. However, ripe berries (pulp and skin) are safe to eat.

Holly (2 – male/female)

  • Latin name: Ilex
  • Holly berries are somewhat toxic to humans, though their poisonous properties are overstated and fatalities almost unknown. They are extremely important food for numerous species of birds, and also are eaten by other wild animals.
  • During winter Storms, birds often take refuge in hollies, which provide shelter, protection from Predators (by the spiny leaves), and food.
  • The flowers are sometimes eaten by the Larva of the Double-striped Pug Moth
  • Several holly species are used to make Caffeine-rich Herbal teas. The South American Yerba Mate is boiled for the popular revigorating drinks Mate, and Chimarrão, and steeped in water for the cold Tereré. Guayusa leaves have the highest known caffeine content of any plant.
  • In North and Central America, Yaupon (I. vomitoria), was used by southeastern Native Americans as a ceremonial stimulant and Emetic known as “the Black drink”. As the name suggests, the tea’s purgative properties were one of its main uses, most often ritually.
  • The well known district of Los Angeles is known as Hollywood, as a reference to the magic of filmmaking, which comes from the fact that the wood of the Holly Bush, or “Hollywood” was traditionally used to make ‘magic wands’ in celtic and norse mythologies.




    • Latin name: Mentha
    • The leaf, fresh or dried, is the culinary source of mint.
    • Mint leaves are used in teas, beverages, jellies, syrups, candies, and ice creams.
    • Mint aids the digestive system, can soothe headaches, and can act as a stimulant when experiencing fatigue or exhaustion
    • Menthol from mint essential oil (40%–90%) is an ingredient of many cosmetics and some perfumes. Menthol and mint essential oil are also much used in medicine as a component of many drugs, and are very popular in Aromatherapy.
    • A common use is as an Antipruritic, especially in insect bite treatments (often along with Camphor).
    • Mint leaves are often used by many campers to repel Mosquitoes. It is also said that extracts from mint leaves have a particular mosquito-killing capability. Mint plants planted near doorways help drive ants away.
    • Mint oil is also used as an environmentally-friendly Insecticide for its ability to kill some common pests like wasps, hornets, ants and cockroaches.
    • Mint leaves, without a qualifier like peppermint or apple mint, generally refers to Spearmint leaves.




  • Red lobelia
  • Asters-natives
  • Milkweed
  • Only food source for endangered monarch butterflies. Often thought to be just a weed and cleared by gardeners, it serves as a place for larvae to be hatched as well and feeds the monarchs for the entire span of their lives.
  • Rose mallow
  • Aster
  • Blue star
  • Coral bells
  • Pink Turtlehead
  • Cardinal Flower



  • Trumpet honeysuckle
  • Native to the northeast. Important food source for hummingbirds and insect pollinators.
  • Passion Flower



  • Ipomea batatas / Potato
  • Radishes
  • Kale
  • Arugula
  • Romaine



  • Creeping rosemary
  • Woody fern
  • Northern Sea Oats
  • Hairy Wood-rush
  • Ostrich fern
  • Bunchberry/Creeping Dogwood Cornus canadensis
  • Tiny white leaflets that appear like flowers show up in teh spring, and are followed by little red berries in late summer. These make up a favorite food for birds such as spruce grouse and warbling vireo, who help distribute the seeds. Native to the northeast and Canada, and an important source of food for deer and songbirds alike!