Deciduous Trees and Shrubs

The term deciduous applies to shrubs and vines as well as trees. Deciduous plants and trees go through a yearly cycle of dropping their leaves (typically when it gets cold or dry) and re-growing them (typically when it warms up). 

Understanding these terms and these natural cycles is specifically important in permaculture because designs often rely on the foliage of deciduous trees or vines providing shade in the summertime, when they have leaves, but allowing sunshine and heat into a space in the winter, when they don’t have leaves. This is often part of passive solar heating (and cooling).  Commonly deciduous plants are more numerous in food production and the choices are wider than with evergreen plants.