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Dynamic accumulators are plants believed to draw up certain minerals and other nutrients from the subsoil, making them organically available to organisms in the topsoil. Plants classified as dynamic accumulators tend to have deep taproots and fleshy leaves and stems. Extensive anecdotal evidence has lead to the popularity of the concept, but few (if any) rigorous, scientific studies have been conducted and published. The concept was popularized by organic gardening writer Robert Kourik in his book Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape—Naturally in which he listed several plants. Physician and permaculturist John Kitsteiner did extensive research into the concept of dynamic accumulators, but found no references he considered reliable:
"[W]e should not treat or teach the concept, the theory, of dynamic accumulators as scientifically proven information. We should not treat it as fact. [...] Personally, I will continue to use dynamic accumulators in a holistic approach to soil improvement. It may help our soils for our intended purposes in exactly the way that we think, or it may help for entirely another reason. If it works, I don’t really need to know why."
According to Toby Hemenway:
"Robert [Kourik] is now in the process of doing lab analyses and a deep literature search to find hard data on accumulators. We do know from hyper-accumulators that there are plants that specifically uptake certain nutrients, so there probably really are “dynamic accumulators,” but we’re a ways from knowing truly what they are."
Plants typically categorized as dynamic accumulators
- Carrot leaves
- Lemon Balm
- Mint-peppermint, spearmint
- Stinging Nettle
- Strawberry leaves
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