List of Edible and Beneficial Trees and Herbaceous Perennials for West Kauai Permaculture.


Fruit Trees canopy:

  • Mango

  • Jack Fruit (wonderful food source tree, starch and protein, (strong in hurricane winds)

  • Bunya Pine (available on island but rare)

  • Black Sapote

  • Mamey Sapote  (plant in the interior forest, in shallow water tables) 

  • Custard Apple

  • Citrus

  • Mulberry (forest edge may be best)

  • Guava (careful to not plant invasive varieties!)

  • Avocado

  • Star apple

  • Coconut

  • Peach Palm (food starch supply and wood)

  • Acai

  • Cashew

  • Ulu (Breadfruit) plant in wind protected areas, interior forest. (many varieties with slight differing seasons)

  • Durian

  • Rambutan (interior forest)

  • Malabar chestnut (possibly a better medium understory tree or forest edge)

  • Lonomea (sapindus oahuensis)

  • Clove

  • Neem

  • Kukui nut


Fruit Trees Under Storey:

  • Papayas

  • Acerola (Barbados Cherry)

  • Abiu (from amazon. Wet and warm, but in full sun)

  • Wax Jambu (Mountain Apple)

  • Banana

  • Brazil Cherry (Surinam Cherry)

  • Tamarillo (Tree Tomato. not drought tolerant)

  • Carambola (Star Fruit)

  • Bilimbi (cucumber tree) related to starfruit. Full sun.

  • Davidson plum

  • Grumichama (Brazil cherry)

  • Jaboticaba (slow growing. Graft or airlayer will fruit a few years sooner)

  • Macadamia

  • Mangosteen


Fruit understory, Bushes, Shrubs and Berries:

  • Coffee

  • Pepino

  • Pitaya (dragonfruit) also known as a “climber”.

  • Poha berry (bigger fruit at higher elevations (1000-4000), smaller but more fruit at lower elevations.)

  • Miracle berry (drought tolerant with shade, acid loving)

  • red leaved (cranberry) hibiscus

  • Cacao (chocolate)

  • Camu camu – Extremely high in vitamin c. Grow next to continual water source/ponds



  • Lilikoi (passion fruit)

  • Vanilla bean (orchid)

  • Chayote (squash)

  • Pitaya (dragonfruit)

Perennial Ground covers:

  • Sweet Potato

  • Singapore Daisy (wedelia), use if already in place as it's better than grass... but not advised to plant this in a new area!

  • Pinto peanut- fast spreading. Permanent.

  • Velvet bean- hardy, nitrogen fixer, great weed suppressor. But an aggressive climber. Useage as a short-term green manure is best.

Long-term legume trees:

  • Tipuana Tipu (Pride of Bolivia) -large, hardy, drought resistant, good wood.

  • Koa (Acacia- highland and lowland (fermosa) varieties).

  • Inga Edulis (ice-cream bean)-edible pods, forage leaves.

  • Cassuarina Torulosa (ironwood) -useful if in place, but classified invasive so might not be best option for planting new trees unless specific function is needed and maintained.


Medium-term legume trees:

  • Leucaena (Haole Koa) -Already in place in most fallow land. Useful but not advised for propogating in new area, unless it's specific uses and mannerisms are known and well maintained.

  • Indigofera- Good forage for milking animals. Good biomass in soil production

  • Desmodium (150 different species... the ground cover in same family has many uses)

  • Gliricidia sepium (Madre de Cacao) -forage, fast growing, non-invasive, can be used as a living fence.

  • Albizia lebbeck (useful if already in place. Propagate with caution and only with working knowledge of the trees!!, basically, chop it down before it goes to seed! )

  • Calliandra – for forage and soil fertility. non-invasive


Short-term small trees and bushes:

  • Sesbania Sesbans (egyptian pea)-forage and good compost. Possible alley cropping for agroforestry

  • Cassia- hundreds of species in this genus, nitrogen fixers

  • Crotalaria (rattlepods)-good compostable, certain species can be poisonous to animals. (I've seen these growing all over feral ag land on west side.)

  • Pigeon Pea- multiple uses. Great, non invasive

  • Tephrosia- many species toxic to fish, traditional fish pond harvest on mass. Possible natural pesticide. Nitrogen fixer.


Annual ground cover:

  • Cow pea – food source and biomass. Nitrogen fixer

  • Velvet bean-

  • Lab Lab – food source for humans as well. Produces much biomass

  • Vetch

  • Field Pea

  • Lupin

Other beneficial Perennials

  • Mamaki (within forest floor for west side)

  • Vetiver grass- soil erosion control and soil remediation of heavy metals.

  • Poha berry- higher elevation=bigger berries

  • Miracle berry- grow by a lemon, lime or grapefruit tree for a garden novelty.

  • Katuk

  • Kalo

  • Tulsi

  • Mamaki -part shade, Red-veined varieties appear to handle full sun in open lowland landscapes.

  • Yakon- low glycemic food source. But not nutrient dense

  • Olena- (turmeric)

  • vanilla vine/orchid

  • Ipu- (chayote squash). Aggressive food source

  • Comfrey- medicinal

  • Spilanthes- (toothache plant) medicinal

  • stevia -(sweetleaf) needs partial shade

  • okra

  • kava

  • sugarcane- also great for bulky hedges, fast growing.

  • cardamom


  • Bambusa blumeana- thorny, hedge, non-invasive, erosion control.

  • many other beneficial bamboos to choose from, list expanding soon.