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25 Flowers You Can Eat

Updated on March 27, 2017
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Edible flowers add whimsy to dishes
Edible flowers add whimsy to dishes | Source

Edible Flowers

Leaves of plants are often delicious, but many people aren't aware that sometimes flowers can be eaten, too. As a kid I discovered the tangy, tart flowers of wood sorrel through my botanist mother, and I still seek them out today. There is a purity found in flowers that isn't always found in the leaves.

Flowers have been eaten since ancient times. Rose petals and lotus blooms are often used in Indian cuisine; the Chinese eat daylilies; Italians use squash blossoms; and the ancient Romans ate violets.

Apart from being beautiful and interesting conversation starters, it's always good to know what's edible in nature in case you find yourself lost in the woods or in a survival situation. There have been countless stories about people surviving precisely because they had a knowledge of what was around them, and what they could eat.

Have you ever eaten a flower?

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Be Careful

  • There are a lot of look-alike plants in nature, and often they are poisonous. Before eating wild plants or flowers, consult a botanist or reference book, or be certain that what you're about to eat is what you think it is. Here is a list of poisonous plants, but the best bet is to grow the flowers from seed yourself.
  • Never eat flowers grown commercially or for floral arrangements, as they are often sprayed with pesticides and other toxic chemicals.
  • Only eat the flower's petals; do no eat the stamen or pistils unless you know for sure it's okay to do so.
  • After picking flowers, put them in a glass of ice water or on a wet paper towel in the fridge. Use them as soon as possible.

Arugula
Arugula | Source

1. Arugula

Scientific name: Eruca sativa

Common names: Arugula, rocket, garden rocket, roquette, rucola

Colors: White; yellow; purple

Flavor: Peppery, nutty, spicy

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, flavonoids

Basil
Basil | Source

2. Basil

Scientific name: Ocimum basilicum

Common names: Sweet basil, basil, kitchen basil

Colors: White; purple

Flavor: Strong, sweet, lemon, mint

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, calcium, flavonoids

Borage
Borage | Source

3. Borage

Scientific name: Borago officinalis

Common names: Borage, starflower, bee bread, burrage

Colors: Blue; pink; white

Flavor: Mild, cucumber-like

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, B-complex, flavonoids

Calendula
Calendula | Source

4. Calendula

Scientific name: Calendula officinalis

Common names: Calendula, pot marigold, garden marigold, common marigold

Colors: Yellow; orange

Flavor: Spicy, peppery, and tangy

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, flavonoids, carotenoids

Carnation
Carnation | Source

5. Carnation

Scientific name: Dianthus

Common names: Carnation

Colors: Pink; red; white; yellow; purple; green

Flavor: Sweet and spicy, clove-like

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, vitamin A

Chamomile
Chamomile | Source

6. Chamomile

Scientific name: Matricaria chamomilla

Common names: Chamomile, camomile, pineapple weed, scented mayweed

Colors: White

Flavor: Sweet, slight apple taste

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, potassium, calcium, flavonoids

Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum | Source

7. Chrysanthemum

Scientific name: Chrysanthemum

Common names: Chrysanthemum, mum, crysanth

Colors: Yellow; white; red; pink; orange

Flavor: Peppery, from light to pungent

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, calcium

Coriander
Coriander | Source

8. Coriander

Scientific name: Coriandrum sativum

Common names: Coriander, cilantro, dhania

Colors: White; light pink

Flavor: Similar to the herb; green flavor people either love or hate

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, iron, potassium

Red clover
Red clover | Source

9. Clover

Scientific name: Trifolium pratense

Common names: Red clover

Colors: Red (purple/pink)

Flavor: Sweet, slightly anise-like

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, B-complex, phosphorus, potassium, calcium

Dandelion
Dandelion | Source

10. Dandelion

Scientific name: Taraxacum officinale

Common names: Dandelion, common dandelion

Colors: Yellow

Flavor: Sweet, honey-like

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, potassium, B-complex, iron, flavonoids

Fennel
Fennel | Source

11. Fennel

Scientific name: Foeniculum vulgare

Common names: Fennel

Colors: Yellow

Flavor: Sweet, anise-like

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, calcium, iron, carotenoids

Hibiscus
Hibiscus | Source

12. Hibiscus

Scientific name: Hibiscus

Common names: Hibiscus

Colors: Red; pink; white; yellow; orange

Flavor: Tart, cranberry-like

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, potassium, flavonoids

Hibiscus tea
Hibiscus tea | Source

Hibiscus Tea

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried Hibiscus flowers
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 cups cold water

Method:

  • Discard stems
  • Soak flower petals in cold water for 1-2 days, until the color of the petals has faded
  • Strain through a fine sieve
  • Add sugar and stir
  • Serve warm or cold, straight or with lemon wedges or orange zest
  • Keeps in the fridge for 5 days

Jasmine
Jasmine | Source

13. Jasmine

Scientific name: Jasminum officinale

Common names: Jasmine

Colors: White; yellow

Flavor: Sweet, delicate, highly aromatic

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, vitamin C, flavonoids

Lavender
Lavender | Source

14. Lavender

Scientific name: Lavandula

Common names: Lavender

Colors: Purple

Flavor: Sweet and floral

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, flavonoids

Lemon verbena
Lemon verbena | Source

15. Lemon Verbena

Scientific name: Aloysia citrodora

Common names: Lemon verbena, lemon beebrush

Colors: White; pink

Flavor: Lemony

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, flavonoids

Lilac
Lilac | Source

16. Lilac

Scientific name: Syringa

Common names: Lilac

Colors: Purple; white; pink

Flavor: Lemony, floral

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, iron, calcium

Mint
Mint | Source

17. Mint

Scientific name: Mentha

Common names: Mint

Colors: White; pink; purple

Flavor: Minty, cooling, fresh

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, flavonoids

Nasturtium
Nasturtium | Source

18. Nasturtium

Scientific name: Tropaeolum

Common names: Nasturtium

Colors: Red; yellow; orange; white; pink

Flavor: Sweet, spicy, peppery

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, iron, flavonoids

Pansy
Pansy | Source

19. Pansy

Scientific name: Viola × wittrockiana

Common names: Pansy

Colors: Yellow; purple; white; pink; red; orange; blue

Flavor: Mildly sweet, tart

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, iron, carotenoids, flavonoids

Petunia
Petunia | Source

20. Petunia

Scientific name: Petunia

Common names: Petunia

Colors: Pink; purple; white; red

Flavor: Sweet and spicy

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium

How To Make Candied Edible Flowers

Rose
Rose | Source

21. Rose

Scientific name: Rosa

Common names: Rose, wild rose

Colors: Pink; white; red; yellow; orange

Flavor: From sweet, sour, to spicy

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, B-complex, calcium

Snapdragon
Snapdragon | Source

22. Snapdragon

Scientific name: Antirrhinum

Common names: Snapdragon, dragon flower

Colors: White; yellow; pink; red; orange; purple

Flavor: Mild or slightly bitter

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, iron, potassium, phosphorus

Squash
Squash | Source

23. Squash

Scientific name: Cucurbita

Common names: Squash, pumpkin, gourd

Colors: Yellow; orange

Flavor: Sweet, nectar-like

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, vitamin C, B-complex, potassium, carotenoids

Sunflower
Sunflower | Source

24. Sunflower

Scientific name: Helianthus annuus

Common names: Sunflower

Colors: Yellow; orange

Flavor: Green and leafy; better after being lightly steamed

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin E, vitamin C, B-complex, phosphorus

Violet
Violet | Source

25. Violet

Scientific name: Viola

Common names: Violet, viola

Colors: Purple; blue; pink

Flavor: Sweet, nectar-like

Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, iron, flavonoids

© 2012 Faceless39

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    • Faceless39 profile image
      Author

      Faceless39 23 months ago from The North Woods, USA

      Thanks for the wonderful comments! I appreciate them. And I have never tried lilacs either :)

    • Chantelle Porter profile image

      Chantelle Porter 23 months ago from Chicago

      I had no idea you could eat this many flowers, especially the lilac. Very interesting and pretty article.

    • GiftsByDiana profile image

      Diana Burrell-Shipton 24 months ago from Hubbard, Ohio, USA

      I have eaten all of these except for the mums.

      I love being an organic gardener and having such a variety of fun and tasty choices :)

      Thanks for helping folks to explore the world of edible flowers.

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

      Treathyl FOX 2 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Lovely HUB. I'll take the Squash, Violet and the Pansy. :)

    • Celiegirl profile image

      Celiegirl 4 years ago

      Thanks, informative and too cool. Knew of a lot of these but surprised by many more.

    • Rosana Modugno profile image

      Rosana Modugno 5 years ago from 10th Kingdom

      Well organized piece. I've always wanted to know about edible flowers. This was great. Thanks :)

    • Faceless39 profile image
      Author

      Faceless39 5 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      Even though there's such a huge variety of edible flowers, my favorite is still the almost-unknown wood sorrel. I seem to have a real eye for them, and find them (and munch them) all over the place. They're wonderfully sour, and so are the stems and leaves. Here's a picture in case you want to find them in your own yard: http://www.all-creatures.org/picb/wfshl-creepingwo...

      Thanks so much for the beautiful comments!

    • Mommiegee profile image

      Mommiegee 5 years ago from Alabama

      I love that you let us know how each one tasted and their nutritional values. I give this hub a thumbs up!

    • maheshpatwal profile image

      maheshpatwal 5 years ago from MUMBAI

      In india people have been using flowers such as basil,corridender and rose petals/water made from petals in their foods/juices for many years to make them more delicious...... your list contains many flowers which was unkown to me till now....... well researched and written. Very informative hub

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Lilac really and red clover? I have funny stories about lilacs and have been trying to rid my lawn of red clover when I should have been eating it. No chemicals on my lawn, so I may try it.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Beautiful, informative hub. I have eaten lots of these flowers, but I learned about a few that I didn't know you could eat. The pictures are fabulous - and now you've got me craving arugula - I love the sweet, sesame-like flavor and hibiscus tea. Mmmm. I'm going to go find some of these flowers just so I can make some tea now. :)

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 5 years ago from Indiana

      Great hub. I've always been fascinated by edible flowers! I'll try to incorporate a link out to our hub from my edible landscaping one:) Great job!

    • Faceless39 profile image
      Author

      Faceless39 5 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      Thank you all for the awesome comments.

      And btw, if you find any good recipes, please share!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      A fabulous hub, lovely pictures and useful information - I didn't realise there were so many edible flowers!

      voted up/shared

    • mwilliams66 profile image

      mwilliams66 5 years ago from Left Coast, USA

      A wonderfully informative hub. I have always enjoyed flowers in salads when out at restaurants, but had no idea where to begin in using them in my cooking. Your very comprehensive article has certainly armed me with the knowledge to begin adding them to my own dishes.

      Voting up, interesting, awesome and pinning.

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Just amazing and I had just found a recipe today with squash blossoms. The food on here is very elegant! The hub delightful. I will share this! Maybe print it out and put it in the back of my cookbook also.

    • michememe profile image

      Miche Wro 5 years ago

      This is what I enjoy about Hubs, learning. I wish you could see my face. I am thinking I NEVER knew this. Thanks for the information.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      I Love all the gorgeous flowers, brilliant pics. and very useful info. will most certainly bookmark this page.

    • Sheepsquatch profile image

      Sheepsquatch 5 years ago from Springfield, MO

      This is a very nice collection of edible flowers, though some of them I wouldn't want to eat like the dandelion.

    • Faceless39 profile image
      Author

      Faceless39 5 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      I'm growing some violets this summer.. can't wait to try them out!

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 5 years ago

      Nice! Beautiful pics and info. I love edible flowers.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      Wow! How interesting! I've order dishes that were garnished with flowers, and once in a while I've gotten brave enough to taste them. It's nice to know which are okay to eat, though!

    • Faceless39 profile image
      Author

      Faceless39 5 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      Thanks for all the great comments. Let us all know if you try eating any of these!

    • profile image

      Sueswan 5 years ago

      I have had chamomile and chrysanthemum tea.

      Bookmarking this one.

      Voted up and awesome.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      such an informative hub. Many flowers were foreign to me until now...

      voted up as interesting and sharing it across!

    • ken blair profile image

      ken blair 5 years ago

      I've never eaten a flower though i prefer eating vegetables. The ideas are unique and new to me. Thanks for sharing it here.

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 5 years ago from Northern California

      Come to think of it, I've eaten Indian Paintbrush. The flowers taste sweet. However I did not eat large quantities of this flower.

      I've seen it growing wild in the Northern Sierras and the Trinity Alps of California.

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 5 years ago from New Jersey

      I have only eaten some edible flowers before. But it would be interesting to try all the ones listed here. Very beautiful layout and easy to read format.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      An informative and detailed hub! I am really surprised to see the long list of flowers - most of them are well-known, to be edible! In my country, we use rose - mostly for making rose milk and banana flowers to make patties along with lenthils and assorted spices which are really delicious and nutritious. Lotus stems and flowers are used for dishes mainly in the northern states of my country. The layout is well-formatted with colorful pics and interesting videos. Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up and Socially Shared.

    • Faceless39 profile image
      Author

      Faceless39 5 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      This might seem like a lot of edible flowers, but I only picked a few to focus on. If you're interested, here's a more complete list of all edible flowers: http://homecooking.about.com/library/weekly/blflow...

      Thanks very much for all of your nice comments!

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      Wow, I encounter so many of these flowers all the time and had no idea that they were edible. I think it's time i embraced a few flowers in my salad. Thank you for this very interesting hub.

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image

      Melissa Flagg 5 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      Fantastic hub. The pictures a beautiful. I didn't know you could eat violets! My poor violet plant won't have any flowers when I'm done with it! lol

      Great job, I had to bookmark it, it was so good.

    • mvaivata profile image

      mvaivata 5 years ago

      This is an incredibly cool hub! I would be curious to try some of these in recipes. Definitely sharing!

    • Dale Hyde profile image

      Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

      A most informative and useful hub about edible flowers and their preparations. :) A "colorful" hub as well! Great photos and videos. It is always inspiring to see a well thought out and planned hub chocked full with information. :)

    • vegetarianceleste profile image

      vegetarianceleste 5 years ago from San Fransisco

      A wonderful hub - I had no idea there where that many edible flowers. Voted up!

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 5 years ago from Northern California

      It's nice to have all of this information, including pictures, all in one place.

      There's a traditional remedy for unbearably hot weather. The Chinese make a 'tea' from Chrysanthemum flowers. I can verify from experience that it helps.

      Rated interesting.