Edible Flowers

Our gardens are full of flowers that are bursting with color, interesting shapes and fragrances.  But, some of them may actually also be edible.  See the 10 Commandments of Edible Flowers below and check the list to see if you have any edible flowers growing in your yard.


1. Eat only those flowers you can positively identify as safe and edible. Learn the Latin or botanical names, which are universally accepted (common names may vary from region to region).

2. Do not assume that restaurants and caterers always know which flowers are edible. Just
because it is on your plate does not mean it is edible (see Rule #1).

3. Eat only those flowers that have been grown organically.

4. Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries, garden centers or public gardens (see Rule #3).

5. Do not eat flowers if you have hay fever, asthma or allergies.

6. Do not eat flowers picked from the side of heavily trafficked roads.

7. Eat only the petals of flowers; always remove and discard the pistils and stamens before eating. (Except for the tiny flowers like thyme where it would be like performing microsurgery to remove the pistils and stamens.)

8. Not all sweet-smelling flowers are edible; some are poisonous.

9. Eat only the flowers of the recommended plants; other parts may be toxic or inedible, even though the flower may be delicious.

10. Gradually introduce flowers into your diet – one at a time and in small quantities, the way you would new food to a baby.

Nasturtium flower


Anise hyssop                Agastache foeniculum – Licorice

Apple                           Malus spp. - Floral

Arugula                        Eruca vesicaria sativa- Peppery

Banana                         Musa spp. – Sweet

Basil                             Ocimum basilicum – Herbal

Bee balm                      Monarda didyma – Spicy/sweet

Borage                         Borago officinalis – Cucumber

Broccoli                       Brassica oleracea – Spicy

Calendula                     Calendula officinalis – Slightly bitter

Canary creeper             Tropaeolum peregrinum – Peppery

Chamomile                   Anthemis nobilis – Apple

Chicory                        Cichorium intybus- Slightly bitter

Chives                          Allium schoenoprasum – Oniony

Chrysanthemum            Dendranthema grandiflorum – Mild to slightly bitter

Coriander (Cilantro)     Coriandrum sativum – Herbal

Dandelion                     Taraxacum officinale -Sweet-slightly bitter

Daylily                          Hemerocallis spp. – Sweet to vegetal

Dianthus                       Dianthus caryophyllus – Sweet, clove

Dill                               Anethum graveolens – Herbal

Elderberry                    Sambucus Canadensis – Sweet

English daisy                 Bellis perennis – Slightly bitter

Fennel                          Foeniculum vulgare – Herbal

Garlic chives                 Allium tuberosum- Garlicky

Hibiscus                       Hibiscus rosa-sinensis – Mild citrus

Hollyhock                     Alcea rosea – Mild nutty

Honeysuckle                 Lonicera japonica – Sweet floral

Hyssop                         Hyssopus officinalis – Strong herbal

Japanese plum              Prunus ‘Mume’- Sweet almond

Jasmine                        Jasminum sambac & J. officinale – Sweet floral

Johnny-jump-up           Viola tricolor – Slightly minty

Kale                             Brassica oleracea, Acephala gr. – Spicy

Lavender                      Lavandula spp. – Strong floral

Lemon                          Citrus limon- Sweet citrus

Lemon verbena             Aloysia triphylla – Sweet citrus

Lilac                             Syringa spp. – Floral

Linden                          Tilia spp. – Sweet

Marjoram                     Origanum vulgare – Herbal

Mint                             Mentha spp. – Minty

Mustard                       Brassica juncea – Spicy

Nasturtium                    Tropaeolum majus – Peppery

Nodding onion              Allium cernuum – Oniony

Ocotillo                        Fouquieria splendens – Sweet cranberry

Okra                            Abelmoschus aesculentus – Mild, sweet

Orange                         Citrus sinensis – Sweet citrus

Oregano                       Origanum spp. – Herbal

Pansy                           Viola x wittrockiana – Slight minty

Pea                              Pisum sativum – Pea-like

Pineapple guava            Feijoa sellowiana – Sweet tropical

Pineapple sage              Salvia elegans – Spicy sweet

Radish                          Raphanus sativus- Peppery

Red clover                    Trifolium pretense – Sweet

Redbud                        Cercis Canadensis – Pea-like

Rose                            Rosa spp. – Floral

Rose of Sharon             Hibiscus syriacus – Mild

Roselle                         Hibiscus sabdariffa – Mild citrus

Rosemary                     Rosmarinus officinalis - Herbal

Runner bean                 Phaseolus coccineus – Bean-like

Safflower                      Carthamus tinctorius – Bitter

Sage                             Salvia officinalis – Herbal

Scented geranium         Pelargonium spp. – Floral

Shungiku                      Chrysanthemum coronarium – Slightly bitter

Signet marigold             Tagetes signata (T. tenuifolia) - Citrusy tarragon

Society garlic                Tulbaghia violacea – Sweet garlicky

Squash                         Curcubita pepo spp. – Vegetal

Summer savory             Satureja hortensis – Herbal

Sunflower                     Helianthus annuus - Bittersweet

Sweet woodruff            Galium odoratum – Fresh, sweet

Thyme                          Thymus spp. - Herbal

Tuberous begonia         Begonia x tuberhybrida- Citrus

Tulip                             Tulipa spp. - Bean- or pea-like

Violet                           Viola odorata – Sweet floral

Winter savory               Satureja Montana – Herbal

Yucca                          Yucca spp. - Sweet (must be cooked)

Flower Canapes

Origin:  Cathy Wilkinson Barash is author of numerous garden books including Edible Flowers:   From Garden to Palate.


Iris’ in the Bad Lands

By Kay M. Phiel, Gwinnett County Master Gardener
In early May, 2011,  a friend and I took a Road Scholar/Elderhostle program to the Black Hills, Bad Lands, and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.  We were surprised to see a Prairie Homestead out in the very desolate-looking Bad Lands area of western South Dakota.  It was raining fairly heavily that day so we didn’t explore as much as we might have.  I picked up a brochure just before we reboarded the bus and was surprised to read a portion on Iris Gardens.   We did not actually see the iris’ when we were there, as they were in another area, but I thought you might find the brochure interesting.


Iris Gardens
(Retyped from a brochure about a Prairie Homestead in the Bad Lands, Philip, South Dakota)

“When the first Homesteaders came to this area many of them brought iris plants from home, knowing that the hardy plant could withstand the trip west for weeks or months on end, in the hot summer as well as the cold winter.  These little iris plants grew and multiplied rapidly, therefore they were shared with neighbors and used as decorative plants to place on graves.  There are still some of the original iris, often called flags, on the prairies where a homesteader once lived.  The buildings may be gone but the iris lives on at these abandoned home sites.  Throughout the Great Plains, from Mexico to Canada, iris can be found blooming in and around old cemeteries.
“After extensive research, we have found that there are also varieties of iris than can be found in the old cemeteries, many of them having been there for at least one hundred years.  Whenever we find iris that have spread away from the graves as well as outside the fences, perhaps in nearby ditches, we take samples and plant them near the north entrance to Prairie Homestead.  Many of these cemeteries contain graves dating back to the Civil War and the early 1900′s.
“It is also thought that early Episcopal pastors may have distributed a particular variety of iris to their parishioners here in western South Dakota, as the same color and variety can be found existing in many of their old cemeteries.
“The iris that we have collected indicate that they have lived and multiplied without any care, through intense heat, bitter cold and lack of rainfall, and are not one of the new varieties found today.  The samples are labeled on a small cross with the name of the cemetery and when possible the nearest town.
The iris around the entrance sign are a mixture of the old iris as well as some of the newest hybrids, many donated by interested family and friends.”

McDaniel Farm Park Update

Here are some pictures taken out at McDaniel Farm Park in the garden today.

We harvested about 60#’s of produce to send over to Annandale Village, our Plant-a-row for the Hungry location here in Gwinnett. We now have a total of 395#’s of produce harvested and donated to-date!

Alice showing off part of the harvest

Barbara Picking Peppers

Joyce tending to her Cantaloupes

Virginia, Tammy & John Cleaning out the Squash beds

The garden is looking great and we have hardly any weeds. It frees up our time to work on other tasks. We’re actually having fun working there on each workday.

New Bug on the Block – Kudzu Bug

In 2009 the kudzu bug, also called the globular stinkbug, Megacopta cribraria, was first observed in Georgia, which appears to be when and where it was introduced to the US.  These small stinkbugs are native to Southeast Asia and feed primarily on Kudzu.  They however also feed on soybeans, one of Georgia’s agricultural crops.  I first noticed them when I looked at my fig tree in late March this year and found it literally covered in these tiny bugs.  I sent a photo to Marlene at the Extension office as I could not find them in my insect book.

Kudzu Bug

Over a period of a few weeks the bugs slowly left my fig tree and probably started feeding on Kudzu as it steadily greened up.  They obviously prefer legumes to figs.  But, once my string beans and soybean plants started growing the bugs were back.  They seem to favor the stems as I have not seen them on the bean pods or the green figs.

Kudzu Bugs on fig tree

I control them by knocking them off the plants into a cup of soapy water.  This is my main defense against all insects that harm my garden.  Adult stinkbugs in general are tough to get rid of with pesticides and the soapy water approach is most satisfying and effective.

Be on the lookout for them this fall when they start looking for a place to overwinter in your house.  As they are so small they can craw through cracks in the walls, foundation and around windows and will take up residence in the walls of your house.  If you find them inside your home do not squash them as they truly are stinkbugs and have a foul odor.

So, if you find a small, greenish grey bug, just smaller than a ladybug, you have seen the Southeast’s most recently arrived insect pest.