In keeping with my eccentric goal of only landscaping with plants that have edible parts, I have been experimenting with a variety of edible groundcovers.
One area of my front yard is under some evergreen trees, which block moisture and most sun, and instead rain down pine needles that cause the soil to stay pretty acidic. Hardly anything will grow there.
What I have found that will grow in such dismal conditions are creeping raspberries (Rubus Pentalobus).
In the picture you can see the very dry conditions and the blanket of pine needles. I watered this plant some the first summer to make sure it was set, and then have pretty much ignored it.
This edible ground cover is amazing! I am starting to see it used all over the Seattle area. It forms a low growing mat of green growth that stays under 6 inches in height and spreads 3 to 6 feet in all directions. It spreads by sending out runners, with leaves on them, which put down their own roots. It doesn’t climb trees or structures, so it won’t smother any of your other plants. I have seen it in lovely displays as it cascades off walls, softening hard edges of raised planting areas.
During spring and summer, the thornless leaves are shiny, dark green above and gray-green below. They turn burgundy or scarlet color in fall and winter. I’ve not really noticed the flowers, but have seen in late summer yellow raspberry like berries that form. Some have described them as tasty; personally I am eagerly waiting to try one to see how they taste.
You can easily propagate this plant by separating the different nodes that have put down roots.