April, 2012

New Food Plants


Oikos Tree Crops


Lotus Berry   European Hackberry Celtis australis

Cherry Like Fruit-Largest Fruits of the Hackberries

Durable Species Grown throughout Europe as a Street TreeLotus Berry Tree

Although all the species of hackberries are edible, barely is it worth the time to consume what is essentially a pit with a thin skin of fruit on the surface. However, a number of species have been consumed for thousands of years especially the cherry sized fruits of the European hackberry. This selection is processed into wine or eaten raw and is used in Spain, Greece and Iran. Said Lotus Berry fruit to be very sweet, this species is probably the best for human consumption. Makes a great shade tree which is very disease and insect resistant. Immune to witches broom too. Fast growing to 80 feet. Hardy to -10 to -15 F.

Paper pots    12-18"               $8.75 each        


Black Mulberry   Morus nigra

Hardy Form of the Fruiting Cultivated Mulberry for PeopleBlack Mulberry

Used to Make Drinks, Syrups, Jams, Dried Like Raisins and Wine

This is one of the fastest growing mulberries growing more that 3-5 ft. per year until fruiting begins. Lustrous green leaves are very clean and free of disease throughout the summer. Both the taste and juiciness of black mulberries-especially the nigra species-is much more worthwhile to grow compared to seedling mulberries you may commonly find. Usually the fruit is also larger reaching up to 4 inches long on some seedlings. Only the seedlings survive at my zone 5-6 farm location. All the grafted selections died during a brutal -20 F winter. Black mulberries contain 8 percent sugar and are high in potassium and vitamin C. This fruit is best enjoyed fresh. Ask any child or child of nature. Height and width to 30 ft. Hardy to -15 to -20 F.

Paper pots       3-6"  $4.75 each 



Dandelion       Taraxacum officinale  

Nutritious Green  High in Vitamin A and C- More Calcium and Iron than Spinach

 Although dandelions have been cultivated for centuries, rarely has anyone made selections for ease of harvest, larger leaf or lack of bitterness. But a few cultures are into dandelions and the French, Italian and German breeders know a good dandelion when they see one. To many, the dandelion is just a weed.  (That single plant that help create a multimillion dollar lawn herbicide business.) To others, the flowers are a source for wine making. Some people make a wish while blowing the seeds skyward. We offer three selections all of which are slight 'improvements' to make the dandelion easier to cultivate for production of greens. Leaves can be cut throughout the season but are best young and mixed at a 1 to 10 ratio with regular salad greens. Plants are multi-seeded in a Thick Leaved French Dandelion pot and can be further propagated by root cuttings or seeds. Feel free to make wishes. I wish I had more dandelions in my lawn of life. Hardy to

 -30 F.


Thick Leaf Improved - This French strain is really the best yielding selection making it easy to harvest the upright growing leaves up to 12 inches long. Very vigorous selection.

 Paper pots     $2.75 each









Nouvelle- French type with very good leaf quality. Dark green broad leaves. More compact and less bitter than other types.

Paper pots   $2.75 each





 Vollherizgen - German selection made for less bitterness. Nice rosette of dark green leaves. Very good salad selection. For less bitterness try growing you dandelions in light shade.

Paper pots   $2.75 each








Nine Star Perennial Broccoli Brassica oleracea botrytis aparagoidesNine Star Broccoli 

Perennial Form of Brassica-Overwinters- Produces for 2-3 years

This form of broccoli is a selection of brassica that is known for its delicious leaves and immature florets. Although the flower buds look like cauliflower this selection has a  very mild flavor compared to kale and is not overly fibrous. Here in Michigan, Nine Star died to the ground this last winter only to resprout this spring. Plants in our un-heated polyhouses suffered no winter damage and did not die to the ground. Can be produced direct from seed so try to leave a few flower buds for future propagation. Some plants reached 5 feet tall in one year. Very nice selection. Hardy to 0 F plus or minus. Mulch the lower stem in colder climates.   Space 3 ft. apart.

Paper pots   1 year plants     $3.75 each    





Sea Kale  Crambe maritima    

Perennial Kale  Hardy to -25F

Edible Flowerbuds, Leaves and Shoots -Plants Live up to 10 years                     

This perennial wild brassica is found along the coasts in northern Europe. As a garden plant it is a clump forming perennial capable of producing edible flower buds like broccoli and young shoots like kale. Plants will continue to produce for 10 years but older leaves are too tough to eat. Like dandelions, this plant was used to a great extent in Europe as a blanched leaf crop. Dense spikes of bright yellow flowers are produced which are relished by honeybees. Best in full sun. Easy to grow in sand or rich organic soil. Height and width to 3 ft.

Paper pots    $6.75 each



Giant Tree Spinach     Chenopodium giganteum Giant Tree Spinach

Highly Nutritious Salad Plant

Annual Greens-Salad Plant High in Calcium and Vitamin A

This form of lambsquarter is one of the most delicious and palatable forms of lambsquarter ever grown. You can begin harvest when the plants are only 1 ft. tall and continue throughout the summer season. The leaves are very soft and juicy to eat and are not fibrous even at the end of the summer season. The mineral rich leaves can also be cooked like spinach and mixed with other salad greens. In our new plant garden plants grew up from 4 to 7 ft. tall with a distinct Giant Tree Spinach plants pyramidal shape. Surface sow seeds. Germination with take place within 7-10 days. Begin harvest in 60 days. Seeds can be saved for future propagation just by shaking the seed heads in a paper bag.

Packet of 500 seeds           $3.75 each    



Wanigas Swamp Rose           Rosa palustris 'Wanigas'

This compact form of swamp rose was found as a stand out chance seedling in a wetland in central Michigan. The bright reddish purple fall color and dense growth habit make it unique with this species. Reproduces true from seed. Hip production is low compared to other shrub roses but the petals have a nice floral flavor great for an addition to tea. I have grown  this species off and on for the last 10 years and found it easy to grow outside of wetland conditions. Height to 3 with equal width. Hardy to -30 F.

Paper pots 6-12"      $6.75 each


 Swamp Rose Hip



Prairie Rose   Rosa arkansana var suffulta              

Durable Shrub Rose Easy to Grow in a Variety of Climates

 Arching Canes of Bright Pink Flowers

Iowa Seed Source

Soft pink flowers and red hips are reliably produced on this plant that can be grown almost anywhere from desert to prairie. Rarely will you find a rose that can tolerate so much and come out 'smelling like a rose.' Immune to black spot, aphids and will tolerate some shade. This species of shrub rose is rarely found in the massive 'rose nursery' industry. The petals were used for tea by the Lakota and the hips were gathered in times of famine. Height to 3-5 ft. Hardy to at least -30 F.

Paper pots     6-12"     $7.75 each 

Lemon Catnip   Nepeta cataria citrodoria
Lemon Catnip 
Lemon flavored perennial herb great for tea. Very easy to grow and will self-seed under the right conditions. We are using this plant as a source for tea and a 'disrupter' for insects in our orchards. An added advantage is the amazing number of butterflies and bees that love this plants flowers. The flavor is great for people and evidently not so much for cats with this selection. Full sun. Almost any soil.   Height to 3 ft. -20 F hardiness.

Paper pots     $4.75 each



Kansas Wild Bergamot   Monarda fistulosa var. menthifolia

Tall Aromatic Monarda Selection - Great for Tea

We received this seed many years ago from a wild food advocate who taste tested her way into a universe of flavors by finding a good tea selection. We further developed this strain by producing many seedlings from this original find and found it much more aromatic with a delicious blend of licorice, mint and lemon. Resistant to mildew. Plants tend to be tall up to 3-4 ft. tall with a distinct upright column of foliage and flowers. The butterflies and bees are completely in love with the flowers. Plants spread slowly and can be divided by roots or resplanted with seeds. Easy to grow in full sun or part shade. Hardy to - 30 F.

Paper pots   $4.75 each       25 or more     $2.75 each


Dwarf Snowberry    Symphoricarpos albus var. pauciflorus

Creeping Form of Snowberry    Fruit Consumed by Ruffed Grouse

Rare Northern Michigan Seed Source Fruit Remains on Dward SnowberryBranches after Leaf Fall

This creeping form of snowberry is one the easiest woodland plants to grow in a variety of soils and  locations.  The fruit is produced along the branches which remain  throughout winter. This plant rarely reaches more than 6 inches tall.  Plants will eventually form large colonies and grow best in part or light shade.  The fruits are not considered edible however they were often used as part of a wash to clean sores, for burns and as a deodorant. Seeds collected from colonies growing in a birch and balsam fir forest growing in sand.  Hardy to -30 F.

Paper pots, 6-12",  2 year plants   $7.75 each

Rough-Leaved Dogwood   Cornus rugosa 

Blue Fruited Dogwood -Small Tree Form from Northern Michigan

Rough leaved Dogwood leafThis species dogwood is a rare find growing on a limestone substrate in northern Michigan. Our seed was collected from tree type individuals over 20 ft. tall growing in the shade of birch, aspen and balsam fir. Each fruit cluster looks like a mixture of reds, whites and blues as the fruit ripens.  The high calorie fruits are high in fat which are consumed in the fall by birds.  Large white flower clusters up to 5 inches across.  Tolerant to a wide range of soils and shade.  -25 rough leaved dogwood berries   F hardiness.

Paper pots 

 6-12"    $8.75 each



Now 25 Per Case    

2 Foot   case of 25   $67.50 (2.70 each)

3 Foot   case of 25  $106.25 (4.25 each)

4 Foot   case of 25  $131.25 (5.25 each)


For contact about orders and shipping questions:

email: customerservice@oikostreecrops.com

Phone:   269-624-6233                             Fax:  269-624-4019 

Mail in orders and requests for catalogs:    Oikos Tree Crops

                                  PO Box 19425

                                  Kalamazoo, MI  49019-0425



Questions about these plants email: kasmus@oikostreecrops.com


Kenneth Asmus
Oikos Tree Crops