Plant Palettes

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One of the assumptions in practicing Permaculture is that you work with nature. Working against nature will yield a design that requires undue inputs over time, and a system that will eventually collapse without those inputs. Old-growth forests are largely self-maintaining without external inputs or human intervention. Even so, the plants in an old-growth forest are well-suited to the climate, conditions, and ecosystem.

Capturing "palettes" of plants that are likely to thrive within a given Köppen analog helps ensure that plants chosen for a given design are likely to thrive with reduced inputs over time. Whereas Hardiness zones generally only consider temperature, the Köppen system considers rainfall etc when building a climate profile, so although the Steppes of Mongolia may have the same temperatures as parts of the Pacific Northwest, the rainfall dictates an entirely different plant palette for each climate.

How to Determine Your Köppen Classification

In the United States, the simplest reference is a by-county listing available from the Institute for Veterinary Public Health via the Wayback Machine. A zip file displaying classification for the entire planet by Longitude/Latitude is also available via the Wayback Machine.

Plant Palette Links

Koeppen-Geiger Zones & Palette Links
Class Description Sample Locations
Af (description here) (Examples here)
Am (description here) (Examples here)
Aw (description here) (Examples here)
BWh (description here) (Examples here)
BWk (description here) (Examples here)
BSh (description here) (Examples here)
BSk Cold, semi-arid climate Arapahoe County, CO; Chihuahua, MX; and Mildura, NSW, Australia
CSa Temperate Mediterranean climate Tel Aviv, Beirut, parts of Los Angeles County in California, and Perth Australia
CSb Mediterranean climate with dry summers San Francisco, Vancouver Canada, and Cape Town South Africa
CWa (description here) (Examples here)
CWb (description here) (Examples here)
CWc (description here) (Examples here)
CFa (description here) (Examples here)
CFb (description here) (Examples here)
CFc (description here) (Examples here)
DSa (description here) (Examples here)
DSb (description here) (Examples here)
DSc (description here) (Examples here)
DSd (description here) (Examples here)
DWa (description here) (Examples here)
DWb (description here) (Examples here)
DWc (description here) (Examples here)
DWd (description here) (Examples here)
DFa (description here) (Examples here)
DFb (description here) (Examples here)
DFc (description here) (Examples here)
DFd (description here) (Examples here)
ET (description here) (Examples here)
EF (description here) (Examples here)

References and handy tools

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