Interesting Edibles

A range of tasty and unusual fruits and other useful plants. Ideal for ornamental gardens, forest gardens and permaculture. Includes some nitrogen-fixing plants which help increase soil fertility, supporting neighbouring plants. We also have a passion for unusual textile, fibre and basketry plants.

Japanese Rose Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’

A beautiful white, repeat-flowering form, which produces flowers and hips all through the summer and autumn. The large hips, over 2.5cm across are a ‘superfood’ rich in a range of vitamins and minerals. Very easy to grow, disease-resistant plants 1.5-2m tall, make a good hedge and thrive in even dry, poor soils.

Bare-root plants available from December

Pot-grown plants available all year

Sea Buckthorn Hippophae rhamnoides ‘Orange Energy’

A small, upright tree with beautiful silver leaves, which also fixes nitrogen. Fruit have a delicious, very sharp lemony flavour very high in Vit C. Great alternative to lemon juice in desserts, jams and salad dressings. A productive female form. We hope to have male plants available in future – one male plant can pollinate around 8 female plants.

Pheasant Berry Leycesteria formosa

A very easy to grow and reliable shrub which is great for wildlife. Spikes of white flowers with purple-red bracts are great for pollinators throughout the summer, followed by dark purple berries which are edible when fully ripe, and also loved by many bird species.

Bare-root plants available from December

Pot-grown plants available all year

Szechuan pepper Zanthoxylum sp.

Aromatic shrub to 2 metres, pepper-like fruits with a distinctive spicy, tingly flavour are used in Chinese, Korean and Japanese cuisines.

Pot-grown plants

Siberian Pea Tree Caragana arborescens

Attractive shrub to 3 metres with fragrant yellow pea-like flowers in early summer. The lentil-like seeds are edible, and the extensive, nitrogen-fixing roots make it a great companion plant, especially on poor soils. Very limited stock 2022/23

Bare-root plants available from December

Pot-grown plants available all year

Chinese/Cathay Quince Chaenomeles cathayensis

An upright shrub to 3 metres. Pretty pink spring blossoms followed by fragrant quince-like fruit in autumn. A rarely grown species, but one of our favourites, with large fruit to 15cm diameter. Not to be confused with Japanese Quince Chaenomeles japonica/C. speciosa, or the ‘True Quince’ Cydonia oblonga

Bare-root plants available from December

Pot-grown plants available all year

New Zealand flax Phormium tenax

Elegant, upright, sword-shaped leaves to 2 metres tall. Not edible, but leaves are fibrous and can be used for textiles and baskets. We like to tear strips off fresh leaves to use as strong twine in the garden. Makes a great windbreak in exposed and coastal conditions.

Pot-grown plants

Chusan Palm Trachycarpus fortunei

A fully hardy fan palm from the snow-capped mountains of China. Slow growing at first but when established grows about 30cm/year, eventually making a tree several metres tall. Needs a location sheltered from strong winds and does well in semi-shaded conditions. Formerly widely grown in China and Japan for rope and other rough, strong textiles. Three different fibres from leaf blades, leaf stalk and leaf sheaths.

Young plants in 9cm pots

Fique Furcraea longaeva

A large, succulent, rosette-forming plant, similar to Agave or Yucca, but much less spiky! Great for tropical-style gardens. Grown as a crop in Central America for the leaf fibres. Hardy outside in coastal Southern areas, but needs a sunny position, good drainage and protection from the hardest frosts inland. Drought-resistant and grows well in large pots.

Young plants in 9cm pots

Alder Trees Alnus spp.

Red Alder Alnus rubra and Italian Alder Alnus cordata. Quick-growing Nitrogen-fixing trees help build soil fertility. Excellent as part of the canopy layer of a forest garden or a quick-growing windbreak to shelter fruit trees.

Bare-root trees 80-120cm tall available from December

Pot-grown trees available all year

Japanese Quince Chaenomeles Speciosa ‘Nivalis’

An easy to grow, hardy shrub to 1.5m tall. Similar to Chinese Quince, but with a more spreading habit, and slightly smaller fruit (5-6cm across). Beautiful white blossom in late winter and early spring.

Bare-root plants available from December

Pot-grown plants available all year

Chilean Myrtle Luma apiculata

A beautiful, evergreen shrub with aromatic leaves and sweet-scented white flowers in summer. Hardier than other Myrtles, but does best in a sheltered spot and is most fragrant in a sun-baked position. Responds well to trimming and topiary. Older stems develop beautiful bark with white and orange patches.

Pot-grown plants

Chilean Guava Ugni molinae

Reportedly Queen Victoria’s favourite fruit! Grown for her in Cornwall and taken to London by train. Related to Chilean Myrtle, but slightly tender and with much better flavour. Blueberry sized fruit on beautiful evergreen shrubs with scented summer flowers. The flavour is unique – rich, fragrant and tropical.

Young plants in 9cm pots

Himalayan Dogwood (aka Bentham’s Cornel) Cornus capitata

Also known as Himalayan Strawberry tree, this elegant evergreen tree has beautiful summer flowers with large white blossom-like bracts and edible red fruit in autumn.

Scorpion Vetch Coronilla valentina

Beautiful evergreen shrub with scented yellow flowers in winter and early spring, excellent for pollinators. Frost hardy but needs a sheltered, well-drained spot to do well. In the pea family so fixes nitrogen in the soil.

About The Mother Tree

The Mother Tree is a partnership between Richard Lewis and Schumacher College, a department of The Dartington Hall Trust, which is registered in England as a company limited by guarantee (no. 1485560) and a charity (no. 279756).

More About Us

Contact Us

The nursery is split between Henri’s Field (opposite Schumacher College) and our propagation area near the Old Craft Education Building. We’re usually around on Thursday, 9AM to 1PM. Pop in and say hi or drop us a line to check our schedule this week.

Get in Contact