I just read this fascinating article on kernza, an alternative to wheat that is a perennial, rather than annual, crop. From the article, "Can This Breakfast Cereal Help Save The Planet?", this is important because:

These plants don't require reseeding. Their roots go deep into the earth, live right through the winter, and send up fresh green stems every spring.

This, in turn, reduces the need for tilling, pesticide, and fertilizers (whether organic or not), and also helps reduce erosion, runoff, and habitat destruction.

I tried to find other examples of perennial crops, but the Wikipedia article just lists a few generic examples. I know that most types of fruit and nuts are from trees and thus perennial, but what others are there?

In an effort to vote with my dollars at the grocery store, what are examples of perennial crops that are commonly available in stores?

  • 2
    It will depend on where you are, but a quick google turns up plenty of possibilities in the UK (asparagus, rhubarb, oca, globe artichokes, perpetual kale, skirret, sprouting broccoli)
    – aucuparia
    Apr 17, 2019 at 9:34
  • 1
    Strawberries may be not perennial, but usually last two seasons and "seed" themselves.
    – Erik
    Apr 17, 2019 at 12:58

2 Answers 2


All of the tree fruits, of course:

  • apple
  • pear
  • all citrus
  • apricot
  • avocado
  • cherry
  • date
  • persimmon
  • olive
  • plum
  • fig

Most of the soft fruits or "berries":

  • raspberries
  • blackberries
  • blueberries
  • grapes

You might put strawberries on this list but they don't last nearly as long as these other berries and tend to require fairly intensive management for the period they do last.

And all of the tree nuts too (some of which aren't botanical nuts):

  • acorns (chances are low that you'll find these in your local grocery but they are edible with the right processing, mature oak are prolific - though not yearly - producers, and related to the example in your question, kernza, acorns can be used to make a flour that serves some of the same culinary purposes as grain flours)
  • almonds
  • walnuts
  • pecans
  • brazil nuts
  • cashews
  • macadamia nuts
  • pine nuts
  • chestnuts
  • hazelnuts (filberts)
  • coconut
  • hickory nuts

Many different herbs:

  • basil (some kinds)
  • chives
  • mint
  • oregano
  • parsley
  • sage
  • rosemary
  • thyme

Other fruits and "vegetables":

  • asparagus
  • tree collards
  • kale
  • tomato

Root crops like garlic, horseradish, ginger, potatoes might belong on one of these lists but though they're perennial they're still dug for harvest and so they don't fall into exactly the same low-disturbance category as most of the rest of these.

Also, though these crops are all capable of living and producing for many years, doing so may only be possible in the right climate and economical production at scale may dictate treatment as an annual instead (thus just because it's on this list and in your local grocery store, there is no guarantee production involved perennial management).

  • Tomatoes are cultivated as annuals (even if some species are perennials in their native habitat). link
    – Mil
    Jun 4, 2020 at 9:03
  • Yup. That's so. Jun 4, 2020 at 14:00

Have a look at the work of Martin Crawford, e.g. Creating a Forest Garden: Working with Nature to Grow Edible Crops:

Offering inspiration for all gardeners, this book features beautiful color photographs and illustrations throughout, and is divided into two parts. Part One looks at why and how to grow particular crops and how to look after them for maximum health. Part Two features more than 100 perennial edibles in detail, both common and unusual, from rhubarb to skirret and Jerusalem artichoke to nodding onions. This book also provides plenty of cooking tips.

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