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Edible Flowers

Edible Flowers TipsThis chart is a collaborative research project by Amy Barclay de Tolly and Home Cooking Guide Peggy Trowbridge. The links will take you to full color photos of the specific flowers to help with identification, but please don't depend solely on these photos. Be sure you know exactly what you choose to consume. If you are allergy-prone, it's probably best to forego consumption of flowers. For more information, refer to the article on Incredible Edible Flowers and Poisonous Plants and Flowers Chart.

Poisonous Plants and Flowers Chart
Edible Flowers Information and Recipes
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Spice Information
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Edible Flowers
Common Name Botanical Name Comments
Angelica Angelica archangelica May be skin allergen to some individuals. Good with fish and the stems are especially popular candied. Tastes like: celery-flavored. More info here.
Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Tastes like: sweet, anise-like, licorice
Apple Malus species Eat in moderation; may contain cyanide precursors. Tastes like: delicate floral flavor
Arugula Eruca vesicaria Tastes like: nutty, spicy, peppery flavor
Basil Ocimum basilicum Tastes like: different varieties have different milder flavors of the corresponding leaves. Tastes like: lemon, mint. More info here.
Bee Balm Monarda species Also known as bergamot, it is used to make a tea with a flavor similar to Earl Grey Tea. More info here.
Borage Borago officinalis Taste like: light cucumber flavor. More info here.
Burnet Sanguisorba minor Tastes like: faint cucumber flavor, very mild. More info here.
Calendula* Calendula officinalis Tastes like: poor man's saffron, spicy, tangy, peppery, adds a golden hue to foods
Carnation Dianthus caryophyllus (aka Dianthus) Tastes like: spicy, peppery, clove-like
Chamomile* Chamaemelum nobile Tastes like: faint apple flavor, good as a tea
Chicory* Cichorium intybus Buds can be pickled.
Chives: Garden Allium schoenoprasum Tastes like: mild onion flavor. More info here.
Chives: Garlic Allium tuberosum Tastes like: garlicky flavor
Chrysanthemum: Garland* Chrysanthemum coronarium Tastes like: slight to bitter flavor, pungent
Citrus: Lemon Citrus limon Tastes like: waxy, pronounced flavor, use sparingly as an edible garnish, good for making citrus waters
Clover Trifolium species Raw flowerheads can be difficult to digest.
Coriander Coriander sativum Pungent. A prime ingredient in salsa and many Latino and Oriental dishes. Tastes like: Some palates detect a disagreeable soapy flavor while others adore it. More info here.
Cornflower* Centaurea cynaus (aka Bachelor's Buttons) Tastes like: sweet to spicy, clove-like
Dandelion* Taraxacum officinalis Tastes like: very young buds fried in butter taste similar to mushrooms. Makes a potent wine.
Day Lily Hemerocallis species Many Lilies (Lillium species) contain alkaloids and are NOT edible. Daylillies may act as a laxative. Tastes like: sweet, crunchy, like a crisp lettuce leaf, faintly like chestnuts or beans
Dill Anthum graveolens More info here.
English Daisy* Bellis perennis Tastes like: tangy, leafy
Fennel Foeniculum vulgare Tastes like: sweet, licorice flavor. More info here.
Fuchsia Fuchsia X hybrida Tastes like: slightly acidic
Gardenia Gardenia jasminoides Tastes like: light, sweet flavor
Gladiolus* Gladiolus spp Tastes like: similar to lettuce
Hibiscus Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Tastes like: slightly acidic, boiled makes a nice beverage
Hollyhock Alcea rosea Tastes like: very bland, nondescript flavor
Honeysuckle: Japanese Lonicera japonica Berries are highly poisonous. Do not eat them!
Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis Should be avoided by pregnant women and by those with hypertension and epilepsy.
Impatiens Impatiens wallerana Tastes like: very bland, nondescript flavor
Jasmine: Arabian Jasminum sambac Tastes like: delicate sweet flavor, used for teas.
Johnny-Jump-Up Viola tricolor Contains saponins and may be toxic in large amounts. Tastes like: sweet to bland flavor
Lavender Lavendula species Lavender oil may be poisenous. More Info. Tastes like: floral, slightly perfumey flavor
Lemon Verbena Aloysia triphylla Tastes like: lemony flavor, usually steeped for tea
Lilac Syringa vulgaris Tastes like: lemony, floral, pungent
Mallow: Common Malva sylrestris Tastes like: sweet, delicate flavor
Marigold: Signet Tagetes tenuifolia (aka T. signata) Tastes like: spicy to bitter
Marjoram Origanum majorana More info here.
Mint Mentha species More info here.
Mustard Brassica species Eating in large amounts may cause red skin blotches. More info here.
Nasturtium Tropaeolum majus Buds are often pickled and used like capers. Tastes like: sweet, mildly pungent, peppery flavor
Okra Abelmoschus aesculentus
(Hibiscus esculentus)
Tastes like: similar to squash blossoms
Pansy Viola X wittrockiana Tastes like: very mild sweet to tart flavor
Pea Pisum species Flowering ornamental sweet peas are poisonous.
Pineapple Guava Feijoa sellowiana Tastes like: similar to the ripe fruit of the plant, flavorful
Primrose Primula vulgaris Birdseye Primrose (P. farinosa) causes contact dermatitis. Tastes like: bland to sweet flavor
Radish Raphanus sativus Tastes like: milder, sweeter version of the more familiar radish heat
Redbud Cercis canadensis Tastes like: mildly sweet
Rose Rosa rugosa or R. gallica officinalis Tastes like: sweet, aromatic flavor, stronger fragrance produces a stronger flavor. Be sure to remove the bitter white portion of the petals. Rose hips are also edible (see Rose Hips Recipes).
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis Tastes like: pine-like, sweet, savory. More info here
Runner Bean Phaseolus coccineus Tastes like: nectar, bean-like
Safflower* Carthamus tinctorius Another "poor man's saffron" without the pungent aroma or strong flavor of the real thing
Sage Salvia officinalis Sage should not be eaten in large amounts over a long period of time. Tastes like: varies by type. More info here.
Savory: Summer Satureja hortensis More info here.
Scented Geranium Pelargonium species Citronella variety may not be edible. Tastes like: varies with differing varieties from lemon to mint. More info here.
Snapdragon Antirrhinum majus Tastes like: bland to bitter flavor
Society Garlic Tulbaghia violacea Tastes like: a very mild garlic flavor
Squash Blossom Cucurbita pepo species (aka Zucchini Blossom) Tastes like: sweet, nectar flavor. More info here.
Sunflower* Helianthus annus Tastes like: leafy, slightly bitter. Lightly steam petals to lessen bitterness. Unopened flower buds can be steamed like artichokes.
Thyme Thymus vulgaris Tastes like: lemon, adds a nice light scent. More info here.
Tuberous Begonia Begonia X tuberosa ONLY HYBRIDs are edible. The flowers and stems contain oxalic acid and should not be consumed by individuals suffering from gout, kidneystones, or rheumatism. Further, the flower should be eaten in strick moderation. Tastes like: crisp, sour, lemony
Violet Viola species Tastes like: sweet, nectar
(Banana) Yucca Yucca baccata Flowers (petals only) and fruit are edible. Other parts contain saponin, which is poisonous. Large amounts may be harmful. Tastes like: crunchy, fresh flavor Tastes like: crunchy, fresh flavor
Flowers to Avoid Some flowers in particular to be avoided (but not a complete list) are: azalea, crocus, daffodil, foxglove, oleander, rhododendron, jack-in-the-pulpit, lily of the valley, and wisteria. See a more complete list.
*Only the petals of these composite flowers are edible. The pollen of composite flowers is highly allergenic and may cause reactions in sensitive individuals. Sufferers of asthma, ragweed, and hayfever should not consume composite flowers, and may have extreme allergies to ingesting any flowers at all.

Disclaimer: The author and Home Cooking Guide have thoroughly researched all the aforementioned edible flowers. However, individuals consuming the flowers, plants, or derivatives listed here do so entirely at their own risk. Neither the authors or Home Cooking can be held responsible for any adverse reaction to the flowers.

Edible Flowers Chart
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