What Are Food Forests

The PermaTree FoodForest(s) have been growing physically and also digitally, on the website. As you can imagine most plants need more than just 3 years to grow strong and even more to produce fruit. Even in the tropical climate we have at the farm. Currently producing from the list above are Bananas, Guayusa, Coffee and all the others including Bamboo, are still in the growing phase.

So we have been using the time to educate ourselves more on all the health benefits of the plants we are growing. Happy to share now and here with you, some of our learnings and findings.

The Food Forest is “Garden Eden”!

“Forest gardening” is a prehistoric method of securing food in tropical areas. These gardens exemplify polyculture, and conserve much crop genetic diversity and heirloom plants that are not found in monocultures. Forest gardens have been loosely compared to the religious concept of the Garden of Eden.

PermaTree Food Forest Status December 2018

We have the main overview Food Forest page which links to every element of the forest. So far (December 2018) we have been able to publish about the following healthy crops:

  1. Did you know that the Avocado tree carries monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid?
  2. Are you aware that the Banana act as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of friendly bacteria and  produces digestive enzymes to assist in absorbing nutrients?
  3. Did you know that the Coconut supplies an impressive 61% dietary fiber and contain two types of carbohydrates?
  4. Did you know that according to one legend the Coffee plant was discovered during the 9th-century by a Ethiopian goatherd named Kaldi, when he noticed how excited his goats became after eating the beans from a coffee plant
  5. Imagine a energizing healthy indigenous beverage you have never heard of yet … which will give you energy and keep you awake but in a gentle way without making you nervous. Extremely healthy. Stimulates  the immune system. No yellow teeth, no bad breath. Sounds like something made up right? Guess what we discovered this amazonian beverage in our farm and its called: Guayusa It contains LOTS of Antioxidants, stimulant: Theobromine (found in cacao), amino acid: L-theanine (found in green tea) aaand Caffeine (found in coffee).
  6. Have you hear of a fruit which looks like snake eggs and tastes like apple with lemon but really tasty? In some places they call it the ‘memory fruit’ because of the high amount of potassium and pectin. But because of the odd looks, its better know as Snakefruit (salak)
  7. Did you know there is a tropical fruit where practitioners of herbal medicine in Asian, African and South American countries have used the bark, leaves, root, and fruits of the soursop tree to treat infections with viruses or parasites, arthritis, depression, stomach ailments, fever, parasitic infections, hypertension and rheumatism. It’s used as a sedative, as well. But claims of the fruit’s anti-cancer properties have attracted the most attention. It tastes like strawberry and pineapple with an underlying creamy flavor of coconut or banana. Nothing less complex. This fruit is called Soursop (Annona muricata)
  8. And last but not least some information about the fastest growing plant in the world which does NOT  require irrigation, fertilizer or pesticides: Bamboo – it’s not only used for constructions as you may know but it is TRUE multipurpose crop, with over 1500 documented uses (!) One of them is that the bamboo shoots can be cocked and eaten (contains phytochemicals, which have antibacterial and antiviral effects in the body. They are a good source of dietary fibre. Bamboo shoots contain potassium, important for a healthy heart and to maintain normal blood pressure). The leafs can be used to drink tea or beer (Bambusa). The bamboo shoots MUST be cooked because most bamboo species contain cyanide compounds of varying levels, with species cultivated for food containing the least amount. 

Tropical Fruits of Ecuador

If you also embrace diversity and a healthy living then you might be interested into the so called tropical fruits or exotic fruits of this planet. Here in Ecuador the different micro-climates provide a fantastic environment for most of the tropical fruits, to grow very well.


Our goal with finca PermaTree here within the amazon region of Ecuador, is to grow all of the existing exotic fruits of the planet in one place. Just because we can. And maybe because we the humans are ending natural diversity and this is a growing future issue for the next generations on the planet. We are not here to save the planet or whatever. The planet does not need us. We the planet earth. Back to the tropical fruits a quick overview of the exotic stars within all of them:

  • Annona muricata, Guanábana (Soursop)
  • Artocarpus heterophyllus, Jackfruit (Jackfruit)
  • Vasconcellea × heilbornii, Babaco (Mountain Papaya)
  • Artocarpus altilis, Fruti Pan (Breadfruit)
  • Passiflora edulis, Granadilla (Passionfruit) …
  • Stenocereus/Hylocereus, Pitahaya (Dragon fruit)
  • Annona cherimoya, Cherimoya (Custard Apple)
  • Nahuatl tzapotl, Sapote
  • Alibertia patinoi, Borojo

Additionally many other tropical fruits from Asia also do grow very well in Ecuador such as the Durio zibethinus, Durian fruit tree.

Fruits and vegetables which are growing now at PermaTree ?

Depending on the season you an find: papayas, bananas, plantain, cacao, ice cream bean, sugar cane, pineapple, guava, lemons, guayusa, hierba luisa (lemon grass type), cassava (yuca), wild cherry tomatoes, corn, rosemary, basil, thine, aloe vera, vetiver, neem, noni, naranjilla, zapote and we have been planting guanábanas, mango, avocados, oranges, grapefruits, chirimoya, coconuts, strawberry, maracuya, breadfruit, bamboo (bamboo shoots), macadamia, peach palm (contact), soursop, jackfruit, star fruit and dragon fruit.
Check out our fruit of Ecuador poster here on issuu or visual.ly

The plant nursery

Arriving in El Pangui canton Zamora Chinchipe we have lost no time and started right away with a plant nursery (A nursery is a place where plants are propagated and grown to usable size). Our food forest plant-wish-list is growing (see the list below. Currently about 147 different names… Most of them are of course fruit plants but many vegetables and of many herbs. Also so called “árboles maderables” aka timber trees. We are focusing on local plants but are also taking advantage of the tropical climate to grow and plant bamboo and all the known tropical plants here. One of the more challenging task here has been to get the seeds! Its crazy most people dont grow anything. The best way is buying the fruit / vegetable and planting it later directly.

Photos from the plant nursery

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Plants we already have in the nursery

Jinjibre – Ginger
Coco palms
Tobacco plant
Hierba Luisa Grass
Tutuma / Bototo
Garlic – Ajo
Cabagge – Cool
Red “Grayseed”
Cucumbre – Cucumber
Jarasillo – timber tree
Pulmera Euterpe

Food forest wish-list

// FRUITS – Frutas
Annona (Annonaceae)
Araza – Arazá (Eugenia stipitata)
Banana – Guineo (Musa × paradisiaca)
Red dacca banana – Guineo moreno (Musa acuminata (AAA Group) ‘Red Dacca’.)
Cacao – Cocoa (Theobroma cacao)
Lemon – Limon (Citrus × limon)
Lime? – Limoncillo (Melicoccus bijugatus)
Lulo – Naranjilla (Solanum quitoense)
Grapefruit – Pomelo (Citrus x paradisi)
Tree Tomato / Tamarillo – Tomate de árbol (Solanum betaceum, Syn. Cyphomandra betacea)
Borojo – borojó (Borojoa patinoi)
Papaya – Mamon (Carica papaya)
Mountain Papaya – Babaco (Vasconcellea x heilbornii; sin. Carica pentagona)
Passion fruit – Maracuyá (Passiflora edulis)
Jackfruit – árbol de jaca / yaca o panapén (Artocarpus heterophyllus)
Soursop – Guanábana (Annona muricata)
Chirimuya – Chirimoya (Annona cherimola)
Durian – durián (Durio zibethinus)
Sweet granadilla or grenadia – Granadilla (Passiflora ligularis)
Abiu – Caimito (Pouteria caimito)
Noni – gunábana cimarrona, fruta del diablo (Morinda citrifolia)
Peach – Melocoton (Prunus persica)
Pineapple – Piña (Ananas comosus)
Pitahaya – pitahaya (Cactus fruit)
Purple mangosteen – (Garcinia mangostana)
Rhubarb – Ruibarbo (Rheum rhabarbarum)
Grape – Uva (Vitis vinifera subsp. vinifera)
Star fruit – Carambola (Averrhoa carambola)
Mango / melocotón de los trópicos (Mangifera indica)
Orange – Naranja (Citrus x sinensis)
Salak – Snakefruit (Salacca zalacca)
Peruvian cherry – Uchuva (Physalis peruviana)
Pumpkin – Zapallo / Calabaza (Cucurbita pepo)
Sapote – Zapote (tzapotl)

// VEGETABLES – Verduras
Avocado – Aguacate, Palta (Persea americana)
Beans – Frijoles y Porotos (Phaseolus vulgaris)
Carrot – Zanahoria (Daucus carota)
Chia (Salvia hispanica)
Cabbage – Col, Repollo (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)
Corn – Mais / Choclo (Maize)
Onion – Cebolla (Allium cepa)
Garlic – Ajo (Allium)
Ginger – Jengibre (Zingiber officinale)
Potatoes – papa o patata (Solanum tuberosum)
Pepper – pimiento (Capsicum annum)
Pumpkin – Calabaza gigante (Cucurbita pepo)
West Indian pumpkin – Calabaza (Cucurbita moschata)
Tomatos – Tomate (Solanum lycopersicum)
Tiny tomato – Tomate de selva – (Lycopersicon esculentum)
Tumeric – Cúrcuma (Curcuma zedoaria)
Radishes – Rábanos (Raphanus sativus)
Quinoa – Quinua (Chenopodium quinoa)
Yuca – Manioc (Manihot esculenta)
Zucchini – calabacín (Cucurbita pepo subsp. pepo convar. giromontiina)
Spinach – Espinacas (Spinacia oleracea)
Fennel – Hinojo (Foeniculum vulgare)
Chili pepper – Chile / Pimiento / ají (Capsicum)

// HERBS – Hierbas
Basil – Basilikum – Albahaca (Ocimum basilicum)
Caña de azúcar – Saccharum officinarum
Lemongrass – Hierbaluisa (Cymbopogon)
Vanilla – Vainilla (Vanilla planifolia)
Aloe Vera – Sábila / Alóe (Aloe)
Camille – Manzanilla (Chamaemelum nobile)
Peppermint – Menta (Mentha × piperita, also known as M. balsamea Willd)
Oregano – orégano (Origanum vulgare)
Rosemary – Romero (Rosmarinus)
Lavender – Lavanda (Lavandula angustifolia)
Maggy herb – Levístico o hierba maggi (Levisticum officinale)
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana)
Coffee – Cafe
Tea – Tee
Coca (Erythroxylum novogranatense var. novogranatense) the legal version.
Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis)
Cannabis / Marihuana (Cannabis sativa, Cannabis sativa forma indica, Cannabis ruderalis) the legal version.
Cha / Cháhuā – planta de té (Camellia sinensis)

Canela – Árbol de la canela (Cinnamomum verum)
Tutuma – Bototo (Ecuador) – “Calabash Tree” (Crescentia cujete)
Baobab (Adansonia digitata) Africa
Moringa (Moringa oleifera) Africa
Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
Cedar – Cedro (Cedrus libani )
Cockspur coral tree – Ceibo (Erythrina crista-galli)
Guayacay – guayaco (Guaiacum officinale)
Erythrina – El árbol del porotillo (Erythrina velutina)
Quickstick – mata ratón / madre cacao (Gliricidia sepium)
Ischnosiphon – Guarumo, casupo o tirite (Ischnosiphon arouma)
Saman – Samanea saman, samán, tamarindo (Albizia saman)
Rubber tree – árbol del caoutchouc (Hevea brasiliensis)
Balsa – Arbol de Balsa (Ochroma pyramidale)
Sauce – Salix (Salix caprea)
Podocarpus – Intimpa (Podocarpus glomeratus)
Sangre de drago
Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens)
Sangre de drago (racaena drace)
Forestiera – Forestiera ecuadorensis (Oleaceae)
Olive – árboles de olivo negro (Olea europaea)
Teak – Teca (Tectona grandis)
Vegetable ivory – Tagua palma (Phytelephas macrocarpa)
Guayacán, madera negra (Tabebuia bilbergii)
Amarillo (Centrolubium Ochroxilmi)
Brazilian fern tree – Pachaco / guapuruvú (Schizolubium parabybon)
white teak – Melina / gamhar (Gmelina arborea)
Balsa – Ochroma lagopus — Sierra humedo tropical, 5nos
Seique / Tornillo (Cedrelinga cateniformis)
Cutanga – Parkia multijuga— Bosque montanoso seco
Guarango – Parkia nitida — Bosque montanose seco
Jacaranda – Jacaranda capais — Bosque montanose seco
Mani de arbol – Cariodendrum orinosesis — Oriente, bosque muy humedo tropical
Pigue – Pollalista kaustenil — Oriente, bosque muy humedo tropical
Sangre de Drago – Crotom s.p — Oriente, bosque muy humedo tropical
Balsa – Ochroma lagopus — Sierra humedo tropical, 5nos
Laurel – Cordial alliodora — Sierra, bosque humedo tropical, 18anos
Caoba – Swintenia macrophylla — Costa, bosque seco, 25anos
Causarina – Causarina eguisetifolia — Costa, bosque seco, 25anos
Flanboyan – Delonix regia — Costa, bosque seco
Guapan – Minguaitin guianensis — Costa, bosque seco
Leucaena – Leucaena leucocephala — Costa, bosque seco
Acacia fistula – Clarisla recemosa
Algarrobo – Prosopis inemis
Nin – Azadirechte indica

// NUTS – Nueces/Nuts
Coconut – Coco
Brazil nut – nuez amazónica (Bertholletia excelsa)
Chontaduro (nut)
Inca-peanut – maní del Inca / maní jíbaro (Plukenetia volubilis)

and more …