Could plants with silver leaves promote global cooling? That’s what scientists at the University of Bristol seem to have concluded, i.e., that crop plants with reflective leaves—silvery, shiny or waxy—could indeed help to cool the planet, especially if grown on a large scale by the world’s farmers. They report that different varieties of crop plants, especially grasses like corn, wheat or barley, vary widely in how much light they reflect, and if the most reflective varieties were grown across the planet, “the world would cool by an average of 0.1 degrees Celsius, equivalent to almost a fifth of the warming since the Industrial Revolution.”

Though it’s unlikely that all the world’s farmers will switch to more reflective crops anytime soon, gardeners in this corner of the planet could perhaps help reduce global warming by “loding” up on silver plants! To that end, we’ve drawn up a “map” to the mine of silver foliage at Berkeley Hort and will be happy to give you a copy on your next visit to the Nursery. Here are just a few possibilities (availability of all plants is seasonal):

Edible Silvers
Artichoke,
Pineapple Guava,
‘Himalayan Silver’ Mint

Groundcovers
Dymondia margaretae,
Cerastium tomentosum,
Sedum ‘Cape Blanco’

Shrubs
Westringia fruticosa,
Tibouchina heteromalla,
Convolvulus cneorum

CA Natives
Zauschneria spp.,
Artemisia spp.,
Salvia sonomensis

Perennials
Artemisia spp.,
Cineraria spp.,
Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’,
Raoulia australis,
Lotus berthelotti,
Senecio greyii,
Sideritis cypria,
Geranium harveyi,
Plectranthus argenteus, etc.

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