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Edible Forest Garden Glossary

The following terms will help you grasp the key elements of Edible Forest Design.

Plant Growth Patterns

Annual Plant
A plant that lives for just one annual growing season.
Biennial Plant
A plant that takes two years to complete its biological lifecycle.
Perennial Plant
A plant that lives for more than two years.
Herbaceous Plant
A plant that has no persistent woody stem above ground. The leaves and stems die down at the end of the growing season.
Herbaceous Perennial
A small flowering plant, that grows and flowers over the spring and summer, dies back every autumn and winter, and then returns in the spring from its root-stock.
Umbel
An umbel is an inflorescence which consists of a number of short flower stalks (called pedicels) that spread from a common point. The arrangement can vary from being flat topped to almost spherical.

Edible Forest Gardening Terms

Dynamic Accumulator
A plant that gather nutrients from the subsoil. If the plant is mulched, or dies-back seasonally or otherwise the leaves and roots decompose releasing the nutrients into the top soil.
Coppice
Many trees make new growth from their stump or roots if cut down. The term Coppice may refer to the plants action of regrowth, or the woodland management practice cutting the tree to a stump to harvest the wood and to stimulate its regrowth for later re-harvesting.
Ecological Analog
Species selected by a gardener to perform functions, fill niches, create habitat or exhibit a form similar to 'model' species. When designing a human useful polyculture, the designer needs to fill all the niches and functions of an equivalent ecosystem or there will be holes in the ecological fabric that nature will eventually fill. By filling the empty ecological niches with more human useful analogous species (or a group of species) results in better productive outcomes.
Food Forest
Another term for an Edible Forest Garden (EFG).
Guild
A group of species that partition resources or create networks of mutual support. More than just a polyculture.
Habit
A plants typical growth shape and form.
Niche
The way of life of a species. The way a species obtains its needs and works within its environment and ecosystem.
Nitrogen Fixer
A plant that has a relationship with soil bacteria that fix or convert atmospheric nitrogen (N2) into other plant useful Nitrogen chemicals such as ammonia (NH3) and ammonium (NH4+).
Polyculture
Two or more plants growing together.
Succession
A process where an ecological community undergoes more or less orderly and predictable changes following disturbance or initial colonization of new habitat.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 09 September 2013 23:34
 
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