In 2001 Paula Westmoreland started designing and developing the Natural Capital plant database with the intent of creating a "living knowledge tool" to assist people in creating polycultures, guild designs, and testing the results. The initial focus was on plants adaptable to colder climates.  To that end, the database contains the following information:

  • Plant Selections (Alphabetical listings of with linked data files)
  • Plant Searches by Niche (Tolerances, Behaviors, Ecological Functions, and Human Uses)
  • Natural Associates (Native Plant Communities and Natural Polycultures)
  • Cultivated Polycultures and Plant Guilds

As a "living knowledge tool", the database usefulness is driven by the quality and quantity of input from our plant researchers, designers, and contributing subscribers. Some parts of the data are more complete than others and you may find missing data. We are constantly updating the database, but please let us know when you find an issue and we will take steps to correct it. The integrity of the information is most important to us. By the way, you will not find photographs of plants on this site. Images can easily be found on the internet with a google or other image search engine.

Special Thanks

Although there have been many contributors to this field we'd like to acknowledge a few in particular for re-invigorating the growing field of plant ecological design.

Toby Hemenway in Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-scale Permaculture provides a good introductory framework for the garden ecosystem.

Dave Jacke in Edible Forest Gardens develops robust design methods for plant ecological systems.

Bill Mollison and David Holmgren for developing the Permaculture Principles and Practices.


  • Data Design, Review, & Analysis
    • Paula Westmoreland, Ecological Design
    • Daniel Halsey, United Designers International
  • Data Entry
    • Jennifer Adams (Lifetime Subscriber)
    • Sarah Bray
    • Jacque Conn (Lifetime Subscriber)
    • Milena Klimek (Lifetime Subscriber)
    • Amanda Morrick
    • Mary Rogers
    • Paula Westmoreland (Natural Capital)
    • Daniel Halsey (Natural Capital)
  • Web Development
    • Mike DeLosier
    • Ben Stallings (Lifetime Subscriber)
    • Robyn Lindgren (2011 Joomla Rebuild)
    • Paul Sebby (2012-17 Webmaster, Joomla and Database Programmer)
    • Alan Smith (2117- Joomla and Database Programmer)