Edible Flower Chart
The use of flowers in culinary practices dates back to Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Indian cultures, gaining popularity during the Victorian era.
While many now garnish food and drinks for elegance, caution is crucial, as not all flowers are edible, and some can be harmful. It’s vital to avoid pesticides, never harvest flowers from roadsides, and identify and consume only edible flowers and their edible parts.
Use flowers sparingly due to potential digestive complications, and note that most herb flowers share a spicier taste with their leaves. Utilizing fresh edible flowers in cooking is a resurging trend, but responsible awareness is key.
Refer to our Edible Flowers Chart before incorporating any flowers into your meals.
Begonia – Tuberous begonias and Waxed begonias
- The leaves, flowers, and stems are edible.
- Begonia blossoms have a citrus-sour taste.
- The petals are used in salads and as a garnish.
- Stems, also, can be used in place of rhubarb.
- The flowers and stems contain oxalic acid
- Should not be consumed by individuals suffering from gout, kidney stones, or rheumatism.
- The fleshy leaves and flowers are edible raw or cooked.
- They can have a slightly bitter aftertaste.
Calendula – Also called Marigolds
- Only the petals are edible.
- Flavors range from spicy to bitter, tangy to peppery.
- Their sharp taste resembles saffron (also known as Poor Mans Saffron).
- Has pretty petals in golden-orange hues.
- Sprinkle them on soups, pasta or rice dishes, herb butter, and salads.
- Petals add a yellow tint to soups, spreads, and scrambled eggs.
Carnations – aka Dianthus
- Only the petals are edible.
- The petals can be steeped in wine, or candy, or used as cake decoration.
- Surprisingly sweet petals in desserts cut them away from the bitter white base of the flower.
- Dianthus is a miniature member of the carnation family with a light clove-like or nutmeg scent.
- Petals add color to salads or aspics.
- Carnation petals are one of the ingredients used to make Chartreuse, a French liqueur.
- These flowers are Tangy, and slightly bitter, ranging in colors from red, white, yellow, and orange.
- They range in taste from faint peppery to mild cauliflower.
- They should be blanched first and then scatter the petals on a salad.
- The leaves can also be used to flavor vinegar.
- Always remove the bitter flower base and use petals only.
- Young leaves and stems of the Crown Daisy, also known as Chop Suey Greens or Shingiku.
- Are widely used in oriental stir-fries and as salad seasoning.
- Sweet, anise-like, licorice.
- White & red clover blossoms were used in folk medicine against gout, rheumatism, and leucorrhea.
- It was also believed that the texture of fingernails and toenails would improve after drinking clover blossom tea.
- Native Americans used whole clover plants in salads and made white clover leaf tea for coughs and colds.
- Avoid bitter flowers that are turning brown, and choose those with the brightest color, which are tastiest.
- The raw flower heads can be difficult to digest.
- Also called the Bachelor’s button.
- They have a slightly sweet to spicy, clove-like flavor.
- Bloom is a natural food dye.
- More commonly used as a garnish.
- Also called Sweet Rocket or Dame’s Violet.
- This plant is often mistaken for Phlox.
- Phlox has five petals, and Dame’s Rocket has just four.
- The flowers, which resemble phlox, are deep lavender, and sometimes pink to white.
- The plant is part of the mustard family.
- The plant and flowers are edible but fairly bitter.
- The flowers are attractive and added to green salads.
- The young leaves can also be added to your salad greens.
- The seed can also be sprouted and added to salads.
- It is not the same variety as the herb commonly called Rocket, which is used in salads.
- Member of the Daisy family.
- Flowers are sweetest when picked young.
- They have a sweet, honey-like flavor.
- Mature flowers are bitter.
- Dandelion buds are tastier than the flowers: best to pick these when they are very close to the ground, tightly bunched in the center, and about the size of a small gumball.
- Good raw or steamed.
- Also made into wine.
- Young leaves taste well steamed, or tossed in salads.
- When serving a rice dish use dandelion petals like confetti over the rice.
- Slightly sweet with a mild vegetable flavor, like sweet lettuce or melon.
- Their flavor is a combination of asparagus and zucchini.
- Chewable consistency.
- Some people think that different colored blossoms have different flavors.
- To use the sweet petals in desserts, cut them away from the bitter white base of the flower.
- Also great to stuff like squash blossoms.
- Flowers look beautiful on composed salad platters or crowning a frosted cake.
- Sprinkle the large petals in a spring salad.
- In the spring, gather shoots two or three inches tall and use as a substitute for asparagus.
- Many Lilies contain alkaloids and are NOT edible.
- Day Lilies may act as a diuretic or laxative; eat in moderation.
- The flowers have a mildly bitter taste.
- Most commonly used for their looks.
- Used like a lemon: on pizza, a salad topping, in sauces, over cucumber salads.
- Flowers (anthers removed) have a nondescript flavor (taste vaguely like lettuce).
- They make lovely receptacles for sweet or savory spreads or mousses.
- Toss individual petals in salads.
- It can also be cooked like a day lily.
- Cranberry-like flavor with citrus overtones.
- Use slightly acidic petals sparingly in salads or as garnish.
- The flower can be dried to make an exotic tea.
- Very bland-tasting flavor.
- Sweet honey flavor.
- Only the flowers are edible.
- The Berries are highly poisonous – Do not eat them!
- The flowers have a sweet flavor.
- They can be used as a garnish in salads or floated in drinks.
- Lovely yellow, white, and purple blooms have a mild wintergreen flavor and can be used in salads, to decorate cakes, or served with soft cheese.
- They are also a great addition to drinks, soups, desserts, or salads.
- The flavor of lilacs varies from plant to plant.
- Very fragrant, and slightly bitter.
- Has a distinct lemony taste with floral, pungent overtones.
- Great in salads and crystallized with egg whites and sugar.
- Small flowers, white to yellow are delightfully fragrant and have a honey-like flavor.
- The flowers have been used in tea as a medicine in the past.
- The Frequent consumption of linden flower tea can cause heart damage.
- The marigold can be used as a substitute for saffron.
- Also great in salads as they have a citrus flavor.
- Comes in varieties ranging from trailing to upright and in brilliant sunset colors.
- Nasturtiums rank among the most common edible flowers.
- Blossoms have a sweet, spicy flavor similar to watercress.
- Stuff whole flowers with savory mousse.
- Leaves add a peppery tang to salads.
- Pickled seed pods are a less expensive substitute for capers.
- Use entire flowers to garnish platters, salads, cheese tortas, open-faced sandwiches, and savory appetizers.
- Pansies have a slightly sweet green or grassy flavor.
- If you eat only the petals, the flavor is extremely mild.
- If you eat the whole flower, there is a winter, green overtone.
- Use them as garnishes, in fruit salads, green salads, desserts, or soups.
- In China, the fallen petals are parboiled and sweetened as a tea-time delicacy.
- Peony water was used for drinking in the Middle Ages.
- Add peony petals to your summer salad or try floating in punches and lemonades.
Phlox, Perennial Phlox
- It is the perennial phlox, NOT the annual, that is edible.
- It is the high-growing (taller) and not the low-growing (creeping) phlox.
- Slightly spicy taste.
- Great in fruit salads.
- The flowers vary from a Redish purple to pink, some white.
- The flavor is sweet and tropical, somewhat like a freshly picked ripe papaya or exotic melon.
- Also, known as Cowslip.
- This flower is colorful with a sweet, but bland taste.
- Add to salads, pickle the flower buds, cook as a vegetable, or ferment into a wine.
Queen Anne’s Lace
- Also known as Wild Carrot and Bishop’s Lace.
- It is the original carrot, from which modern cultivars were developed, and it is edible.
- The flowers are small and white and bloom in a lacy, flat-topped cluster.
- Great in salads.
- The problem is, it is closely related to, and looks almost exactly like Wild or Poison Hemlock.
- Wild or Poison Hemlock is said to be the most poisonous plant native to the United States.
- The best way to differentiate – Queen Anne’s Lace has a hairy stem, while the stems of Wild Hemlock are smooth and hairless and hollow with purple spots.
- Flavors depend on the type, color, and soil conditions.
- Flavor reminiscent of strawberries and green apples.
- Sweet, with subtle undertones ranging from fruit to mint to spice.
- All roses are edible, with the flavor being more pronounced in the darker varieties.
- Can garnish ice cream and desserts, or larger petals can be sprinkled on desserts or salads.
- Freeze them in ice cubes and float them in punches also.
- Petals are used in syrups, jellies, perfumed butter, and sweet spreads.
- Be sure to remove the bitter-white portion of the petals.
- The flower flavor generally corresponds to the variety.
- For example, a lemon-scented geranium would have lemon-scented flowers.
- Come in fragrances from citrus and spice to fruits and flowers, in the colors of pinks and pastels.
- Sprinkle them over desserts and in refreshing drinks or freeze them in ice cubes.
- The Citronelle variety may not be edible.
- Delicate garden varieties can be bland to bitter.
- Flavors depend on the type, color, and soil conditions.
- Probably not the best flower to eat.
- The flower is best eaten in the bud stage when it tastes similar to artichokes.
- Once the flower opens, the petals may be used like chrysanthemums, the flavor is bittersweet.
- The unopened flower buds can also be steamed like artichokes.
- Also known as Wild Baby’s Breath.
- The flower flavor is sweet and grassy with a hint of nutty, vanilla flavor.
- Can have a blood-thinning effect if eaten in large amounts
- Flavor varies from tulip to tulip, but generally, the petals taste like sweet lettuce, fresh baby peas, or a cucumber-like texture and flavor.
- Some people have had strong allergic reactions to them.
- If touching them causes a rash, numbness, etc. Don’t eat them!
- Don’t eat the bulbs ever. If you have any doubts, don’t eat the flower.
- Sweet, perfumed flavor
- Related flowers, Johnny jump-ups or violas, and pansies.
- Come in colorful purples and yellows to apricot and pastel hues.
- I like to eat the tender leaves and flowers in salads.
- I also use the flowers to beautifully embellish desserts and iced drinks.
- Freeze them in punches to delight children and adults alike.
- They make pretty adornments for frosted cakes, sorbets, or any other desserts, and they may be crystallized as well.
- Heart-shaped leaves are edible, and tasty when cooked like spinach.
- The white Yucca flower is crunchy with a mildly sweet taste (a hint of artichoke).
- In the spring, they can be used in salads and as a garnish.
- Apple Blossoms have a delicate floral flavor and aroma.
- They are a nice accompaniment to fruit dishes and can easily be candied to use as a garnish.
- Eat in moderation as the flowers may contain cyanide precursors.
- The seeds of the apple fruit and their wild relations are poisonous.
- Also, known as Banana Hearts.
- The flowers are a purple-maroon torpedo-shaped growth that appears out of the top of usually the largest of the trunks.
- Banana blossoms are used in Southeast Asian cuisines.
- The blossoms can be cooked or eaten raw.
- The tough covering is usually removed until you get to the almost white tender parts of the blossom.
- It should be sliced and let sit in water until most of the sap is gone.
- If you eat it raw, make sure the blossom comes from a variety that isn’t bitter.
- Most of the Southeast Asian varieties are not bitter.
Citrus Blossoms (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, kumquat)
- Use highly scented waxy petals sparingly.
- Distilled orange flower water is characteristic of Middle Eastern pastries and beverages.
- Citrus flavor and lemony.
- The blossoms are a creamy color and have a sweet scent and sweet taste.
- When harvesting elderberry flowers, do not wash them as that removes much of the fragrance and flavor.
- Instead, check them carefully for insects.
- The fruit is used to make wine.
- The flowers, leaves, berries, bark, and roots have all been used in traditional folk medicine for centuries.
- All other parts of this plant, except the berries, are mildly toxic!
- They contain a bitter alkaloid and glycoside that may change into cyanide.
- The cooked ripe berries of the edible elders are harmless.
- Eating uncooked berries may cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Alliums (leeks, chives, garlic, garlic chives)
- Known as the “Flowering Onions.” There are approximately four hundred species that include the familiar onion, garlic, chives, ramps, and shallots.
- All members of this genus are edible.
- Their flavors range from mild onions and leeks right through to strong onion and garlic.
- All parts of the plant are edible.
- The flowers tend to have a stronger flavor than the leaves and the young developing seed heads are even stronger.
- We eat the leaves and flowers mainly in salads.
- The leaves can also be cooked as a flavoring with other vegetables in soups, etc.
- Use whenever a light onion flavor and aroma is desired.
- Separate the florets and enjoy the mild, onion flavor in a variety of dishes.
- The flowers can be white or pink, and the stems are flat instead of round.
- The flavor has a garlicky zing that brings out the flavor of your favorite food.
- Milder than the garlic bulb. Wonderful in salads.
- Depending on the variety, flowers range from pale lavender-blue to deep rose.
- It has a flavor similar to licorice.
- Angelica is valued in culinary from the seeds and stems, which are candied and used in liqueurs, to the young leaves and shoots, which can be added to a green salad.
- Because of its celery-like flavor, Angelica has a natural affinity with fish.
- The leaves have a stronger, clean taste and make an interesting addition to salads.
- In its native northern Europe, even the mature leaves are used, particularly by the Laplanders, as a natural fish preservative.
- Many people in the cold Northern regions such as Greenland, Siberia, and Finland consider Angelica a vegetable and eat the stems raw, sometimes spread with butter.
- Young leaves can be made into tea.
- Both flowers and leaves have a delicate anise or licorice flavor.
- Some people say the flavor reminds them of root beer.
- The blossoms make attractive plate garnishes and are often used in Chinese-style dishes.
- Excellent in salads.
- Depending on the type, the flowers are either bright white, pale pink, or delicate lavender.
- The flavor of the flower is milder but similar to the leaves of the same plant.
- Basil also has different varieties that have different milder flavors like lemon and mint.
- Sprinkle them over salad or pasta for a concentrated flavor and a spark of color that gives any dish a fresh, festive look.
- Also called Wild Bergamot, Wild Oswego Tea, Horsemint, and Monarda.
- Wild bee balm tastes like oregano and mint.
- The taste of bee balm is reminiscent of citrus with a soft mingling of lemon and orange.
- The red flowers have a minty flavor.
- Any place you use oregano, you can use bee balm blossoms.
- The leaves and flower petals can also be used in both fruit and regular salads.
- The leaves taste like the main ingredient in Earl GrayTea and can be used as a substitute.
- Has lovely cornflower blue star-shaped flowers.
- Blossoms and leaves have a cool, faint cucumber taste.
- Wonderful in punches, lemonade, gin and tonics, sorbets, chilled soups, cheese tortas, and dips.
- The taste usually is likened to that of cucumbers, and burnet can be used interchangeably with borage.
- Chervil flowers are delicate white flowers with an anise flavor.
- Chervil’s flavor is lost very easily, either by drying the herb or by too much heat.
- That is why it should be added at the end of cooking or sprinkled on in its fresh, raw state in salads.
- Earthy flavor, eat either the petals or the buds.
- Chicory has a pleasant, mild-bitter taste that has been compared to endive.
- The buds can be pickled.
- Like the leaves and seeds, the flowers have a strong herbal flavor.
- Use leaves and flowers raw as the flavor fades quickly when cooked.
- Sprinkle to taste on salads, bean dishes, and cold vegetable dishes.
- It has star-burst yellow flowers that have a mild anise flavor.
- Use with desserts or cold soups or as a garnish with your entrees.
- The white variety of ginger is very fragrant and has a gingery taste on the tongue.
- Petals may be eaten raw or you can cook the tender young shoots.
- The flowers are intensely fragrant and are traditionally used for scenting tea.
- True Jasmine has oval, shiny leaves and tubular, waxy-white flowers.
- The false Jasmine is in a completely different genus, “Gelsemium”, and the family, “Loganiaceae”, is considered too poisonous for human consumption.
- This flower has several common names including yellow jessamine or jasmine, Carolina jasmine or jessamine, evening trumpet flower, Gelsemium, and Woodbine.
- Sweet, floral flavor, with lemon and citrus notes.
- Flowers look beautiful and taste good too in a glass of champagne, with chocolate cake, or as a garnish for sorbets or ice creams.
- Lavender lends itself to savory dishes also, from hearty stews to wine-reduced sauces.
- Diminutive blooms add a mysterious scent to custards, flans, or sorbets.
- Do not consume lavender oil unless you know that it has not been sprayed and is culinary-safe.
- Tiny cream-colored citrus-scented blossoms.
- Leaves and flowers can be steeped as herb tea and used to flavor custards and flans.
- Flowers are a milder version of a plant’s leaf.
- Use as you would the herb.
- The flavor of the flowers is minty but with different overtones depending on the variety.
- Mint flowers and leaves are great in Middle Eastern dishes.
- A milder version of the plant’s leaf.
- Use as you would the herb.
- Milder version of leaf.
- Fresh or dried herbs and blossoms enhance the flavor of Mediterranean dishes.
- Use with meats, seafood, sorbets, or dressings.
- The dried flowers, Mexican saffron, are used as a food colorant in place of the more aromatic and expensive Spanish saffron.
- The flowers are violet-blue, pink, or white up to 1 3/8 inches long, small, tubelike, clustered together in whorls along the stem tops.
- Flowers have a subtler sage taste than the leaves and can be used in salads and as a garnish.
- Flowers are a delicious companion to many foods including beans, corn dishes, sauteed or stuffed mushrooms, or pesto sauce.
- The flavor of the flowers is somewhat hot and peppery and similar to thyme.
- A milder version of leaf.
- Use sprigs as a garnish or remove flowers and sprinkle over soups, etc.
- Use thyme anywhere an herb might be used.
- Also called garden rocket, roquette, rocket-salad, Oruga, Rocket salad, rocket-gentle; Raukenkohl (German); rouquelle (French); rucola (Italian).
- An Italian green is usually appreciated raw in salads or on sandwiches.
- The flowers are small, white with dark centers, and can be used in the salad for a light piquant flavor.
- The flowers taste very similar to the leaves and range in color from white to yellowish with dark purple veins.
- Arugula resembles radish leaves in both appearance and taste.
- Leaves are compound and have a spicy, peppery flavor that starts mild in young leaves and intensifies as they mature.
- The artichoke is considered a flower in which the leaves of the flower are eaten and the choke or thistle part is discarded.
- The top portion of broccoli is flower buds.
- As the flower buds mature, each will open into a bright yellow flower, which is why they are called florets.
- Small yellow flowers have a mild spiciness (mild broccoli flavor) and are delicious in salads or a stir-fry or steamer.
- Corn shoots may be eaten when they resemble large blades of grass with a strong sweet corn flavor, which could be used as a garnish for a corn chowder.
- The whole baby corn in husk may also be eaten, silk and all.
- Young leaves can be steamed, used as a herb, eaten raw, or cooked like spinach.
- Some people are highly allergic to mustard. Start with a small amount.
- Eating in large amounts may cause red skin blotches
- Also known as Ochro, Okoro, Quimgombo, Quingumbo, Ladies Fingers, and Gumbo.
- It has hibiscus-like flowers and seed pods that, when picked tender, produce a delicious vegetable dish when stewed or fried.
- When cooked it resembles asparagus yet it may be left raw and served in a cold salad.
- The ripe seeds have been used as a substitute for coffee; the seed can be dried and powdered for storage and future use.
- A sister of the Broccoli plant.
- Edible garden peas bloom mostly in white but may have other pale colorings.
- The blossoms are slightly sweet and crunchy and they taste like peas.
- The shoots and vine tendrils are edible, with a delicate, pea-like flavor.
- Remember that harvesting blooms will diminish your pea harvest, so you may want to plant extra.
- Flowering ornamental sweet peas are poisonous – do not eat them.
- Depending on the variety, flowers may be pink, white, or yellow, and will have a distinctive, spicy bite (has a radish flavor).
- Best used in salads.
- The Radish shoots with their bright red or white tender stalks are very tasty and are great sauteed or in salads.
Scarlet Runner Beans
- Have brilliant red blooms that are very tasty and can be served as a garnish for soups, in salads.
- Bean pods toughen as they age, so make use of young pods as well as flowers.
- Squash and pumpkin blossoms are edible and taste mildly of raw squash.
- Prepare the blossoms by washing and trimming the stems and removing the stamens.
- Squash blossoms are usually taken off the male plant, which only provides pollen for the female.