Innovation Food Forest Plant Inventory

Here is a list of plants that are currently in the Food Forest. There are some signs present for a few of the plants, but otherwise you will need to identify the plants for yourself, like a scavenger hunt! The uses of each plant are also listed, so please help yourself once you’ve safely identified the edible parts of the plant.


Asimina triloba (Pawpaw, Indian banana)


Common Name: Pawpaw, Indian banana
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal
Primary Function: Food Crop – fruit bearing
Fun Facts: Thomas Jefferson grew paw paws at his Virginia plantation home, Monticello. They are the largest native fruit to North America. They ripen in September, and are absolutely delicious! The trees here are too young to bear fruit, but you can expect a small harvest beginning around year 2020.


Vaccinium corymbosum (Highbush Blueberry)
Common Name: Highbush Blueberry


Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Vaccinium corymbosum
Location(s) in IFF: Various
Field: Shrub
Primary Function: Food Crop – fruit bearing
Additional Function: Ornamental
Fun Fact: This plant is the most common commercially grown blueberry in present day North America.
Size: 6 to 12 feet tall
Flower Color: white
Flower Shape: bell shaped
Ideal Conditions: acidic soil
Tolerates: shade, sun, wet, dry
Harvest Start Date: June 1
Harvest End Date: June 30
Usable Parts: fruit


Allium schoenoprasum (Chives)

Common Name: Chives
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Allium schoenoprasum
Primary Function: Food Crop – produces flowers, leaves, and roots
Fun Fact: Chives have natural insect repelling properties. The plant is a great compliment to any garden for pest control and for fresh herbs.


Asparagus officinalis (Asparagus)

Common Name: Asparagus
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Asparagus officinalis
Primary Function: Food Crop
Fun Fact: Asparagus is commonly thought to be an aphrodisiac but is actually a strong diuretic.


Camellia sinensis (Tea Camellia)

Common Name: Tea Camellia
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Camellia sinensis
Primary Function: Food Crop – commonly used for tea
Additional Function: Can be dried and used as tea
Fun Fact: Camellia leaves have historically been used in Chinese and Indian teas. Studies have uncovered many health benefits of drinking tea including anti-cancer properties and weight loss effects.


Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud)

Common Name: Eastern Redbud
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Cercis canadensis
Primary Function: Wildlife Habitat
Fun Fact: Native Americans consumed redbud flowers, raw or boiled, and ate roasted seeds. Flowers are edible raw. This plant fixes nitrogen into the soil.


Corylus americana (American Hazelnut)


Common Name: American Hazelnut
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Corylus americana
Primary Function: Food Crop
Fun Fact: The nuts from this tree provide food for many animals including deer, squirrels, turkeys, pheasants, and woodpeckers. The image on the far right shows the catkins that decorate the tree all winter and release pollen in the spring.


Diospyros virginiana (Persimmon)

Common Name: Asian Persimmon
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Diospyros virginiana
Primary Function: Food Crop – fruit bearing
Fun Fact: The seeds of the persimmon tree were used as make shift buttons during the Civil War.


Ficus carica (Fig)

Common Name: Fig
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Ficus carica
Primary Function: Food Crop – fruit bearing
Additional Function: Ornamental
Fun Fact: Our fig tree was generously donated by Mason employee Vittoria Perrone.


Fragaria x ananassa (Tristar Stawberry)

Common Name: Tristar Stawberry
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Fragaria x ananassa
Primary Function: Food Crop – fruit bearing
Fun Fact: Although evidence is not conclusive, some evidence has shown that a diet inclusive of strawberries leads to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and that the fruit’s extract has anticancer properties.


Gaylussacia baccata (Black Huckleberry)

Common Name: Black Huckleberry
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Gaylussacia baccata
Primary Function: Wildlife Habitat – fruit bearing


Prunus persica (Peach)

Common Name: Peach
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Prunus persica
Primary Function: Food Crop – fruit bearing
Additional Function: Habitat – food for wildlife and perch for birds
Fun Fact: Peaches have a great deal of symbolism in Asian and European culture. The branches and fruit were long thought to protect against evil spirits.


Prunus salicina (Japanese Plum)

Common Name: Japanese Plum
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Prunus salicina
Primary Function: Food Crop – fruit bearing
Additional Function: Wildlife Habitat – provides food and roosting for birds


Pyrus pyrifolia (Asian Pear)

Common Name: Asian Pear
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Pyrus pyrifolia
Primary Function: Food Crop – fruit bearing
Fun Fact: Virginia is one of five states in the US where Asian pears are grown!


Pyrus serotina (Chinese Pear)

Common Name: Chinese/Asian Pear
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Pyrus serotina
Primary Function: Food Crop – fruit bearing
Fun Fact: The pears from this plant are particularly crisp, juicy, and quite delicious.


Rheum rhabarbarum (Rhubarb)

Common Name: Rhubarb
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Rheum rhabarbarum
Primary Function: Food Crop – edible stems and stalks
Additional Function: Medicinal – used as a laxative and diet aid
Fun Fact: After sugar became affordable to commoners in 17th century England, the rhubarbs pies became highly popular.


Ribes odoratum (American Clove Currant)

Common Name: American Clove Currant
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Ribes odoratum
Primary Function: Food Crop – produces edible flowers berries
Additional Function: Ornamental
Fun Fact: The Ribes odoratum is among the most drought resistant of the Ribes genus.


Rubus idaeus (Raspberry)

Common Name: Dwarf Raspberry
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Rubus idaeus
Primary Function: Food Crop – fruit bearing
Additional Function: Medicinal – high in antioxidants
Fun Fact: The raspberry is not actually a berry. It is a cluster of drupelets (the fruit) surrounding a central core. Both the cluster and core are edible.


Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis (American Black Elderberry)

Common Name: American Black Elderberry
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Sambucus nigra L. ssp. canadensis (L.) R. Bolli
Primary Function: Food Crop – bears leaves, berries, and flowers
Additional Function: Medicinal Plant
Fun Fact: In Romania, the flowers of this plant are used to make a popular soda. In the UK, the fermentation is done in a sealed container to make champagne.


Sassafras albidum (Sassafras)

Common Name: Sassafras
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Sassafras albidum
Primary Function: Food Crop
Additional Function: Sassafras is allopathic and can discourage the growth of certain other plants within its root zone.
Fun Fact: The roots and root bark supply oil of sassafras (used to perfume soap) and sassafras tea, and have been used to flavor root beer.


Symphytum x uplandicum 'Bocking 14' (Russian Comfrey)

Common Name: Russian Comfrey
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Symphytum x uplandicum ‘Bocking 14’
Primary Function: Nutrient Accumulator
Additional Function: Medicinal Plant
Fun Fact: Each plant harvested can yield 4-5 pounds of nutrient rich leaves that can be used as a great fertilizer.


Trifolium michelianum Savi (Balansa Clover)

Common Name: Balansa Clover
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Trifolium michelianum Savi
Primary Function: Food Crop – foliage for livestock
Additional Function: Fixes nitrogen


Trifolium pratense (Red Clover)

Common Name: Red Clover
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Trifolium pratense
Primary Function: Cover Crop – increases soil fertility
Additional Function: Medicinal Plant
Fun Fact: Health care practitioners have used the red clover for a wide range of treatments including cardiovascular health, menopause, osteoporosis, cancer, and eczema. The pink petals are also edible.


Viola sororia (Violets)

Common Name: Violets
Scientific Name ‘Cultivar’: Viola sororia
Primary Function: Ornamental – lawn and garden plant
Additional Function: Medicinal and Food Crop – edible flowers and leaves
Fun Fact: The violet’s flowers and leaves have historically been used medicinally to treat headaches, constipation, and symptoms of the common cold. The flowers are edible and frost hardy.


Email Doni at for a complete list of plants, detailed maps of the Innovation Food Forest and for any other questions.