A guild is a Permaculture term used to describe plants that grow together harmoniously in natural communities or that cooperate or benefit one another in artificially designed ones. Think of it as a group of plant friends who share tips, tricks and meals with one another to make life in the rugged wilderness a little easier.
While driving up to big bear with "Edible and Useful Plants of California" in satchel this winter, I was struck by just how rich the guilds of our local SoCal mountains are.
Checkout the edible bounty of one of Southern California's most common native plant communities (found in foothills and remaining oak stands):
**PLEASE NOTE Any consumption of wild or found species is at-your-own-risk. The following information is not meant to be instructional, nutritional or medical advise***
Live Oak Trees - acorns a staple for flour, rich protein filled nuts offered native americans (first nations) peoples an enduring staple
Pinyon Pine - the native pinyon pines of Southern California produce true pine nuts ! Pine nuts are another excellent enduring staple crop that can be stored or consumed in a variety of dishes. They provide protein precious oils and all kinds of wonderful flavor. PESTO! Need I say more?
Sugar Bush - This sumac varietal (a similar relative, lemonade berry is more common closer to coasts) produces small berries that infuse water or beverages with a vitamin-C rich pink lemonade type flavor.
Manzanita - Big berry manzanita is one of the more common Arctostaphylos species you'll find growing in the San Bernardino mountains. They produce a wonderful small tart berry, great for preserving or mixing with nut flours for homemade protein bars.
And these are just edible trees! Factor in Mormon tea - an ephedra producing coffee alternative, Sage of every variety - a delicious seasoning and essential oil plant, Milkweed - a butterfly nectary species, whose new shoots can be cooked and eaten like bok choi and Wild Onions and hyacinth bulbs, California's native wild diet is looking pretty decent. And this is just the scrubby regions!
Hi! I'm Briana, Lead Designer and Founder of Califia ECOdesigns in Pasadena, CA. I've organic farmed all over Western North & Central America and love designing drought tolerant and sustainable landscapes. I earned my Permaculture Design Certification in 2011 from engineer Rob Avis.