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.

THE 10 COMMANDMENTS OF EDIBLE FLOWERS

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

COMMON NAME – BOTANIC NAME – FLAVOR

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.