I'm a dental hygienist, pyrography artist, avid gardener, writer, vegetarian, world traveler, and many other things!
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.
15. Lemon Verbena
9. Red Clover
- 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. Check this list of poisonous plants to help ensure that you're not grabbing something poisonous, 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.
Video: Edible Flowers Demo
Common names: Arugula, rocket, garden rocket, roquette, rucola
Scientific name: Eruca sativa
Colors: White; yellow; purple
Flavor: Peppery, nutty, spicy
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, flavonoids
Common names: Sweet basil, basil, kitchen basil
Scientific name: Ocimum basilicum
Colors: White; purple
Flavor: Strong, sweet, lemon, mint
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, calcium, flavonoids
Common names: Borage, starflower, bee bread, burrage
Scientific name: Borago officinalis
Colors: Blue; pink; white
Flavor: Mild, cucumber-like
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, B-complex, flavonoids
Common names: Calendula, pot marigold, garden marigold, common marigold
Scientific name: Calendula officinalis
Colors: Yellow; orange
Flavor: Spicy, peppery, and tangy
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, flavonoids, carotenoids
Common names: Carnation
Scientific name: Dianthus
Colors: Pink; red; white; yellow; purple; green
Flavor: Sweet and spicy, clove-like
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, vitamin A
Common names: Chamomile, camomile, pineapple weed, scented mayweed
Scientific name: Matricaria chamomilla
Flavor: Sweet, slight apple taste
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, potassium, calcium, flavonoids
Common names: Chrysanthemum, mum, crysanth
Scientific name: Chrysanthemum
Colors: Yellow; white; red; pink; orange
Flavor: Peppery, from light to pungent
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, calcium
Common names: Coriander, cilantro, dhania
Scientific name: Coriandrum sativum
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
9. Red Clover
Common names: Red clover
Scientific name: Trifolium pratense
Colors: Red (purple/pink)
Flavor: Sweet, slightly anise-like
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, B-complex, phosphorus, potassium, calcium
Common names: Dandelion, common dandelion
Scientific name: Taraxacum officinale
Flavor: Sweet, honey-like
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, potassium, B-complex, iron, flavonoids
VIDEO: Sweet Flower Pancakes
Common names: Fennel
Scientific name: Foeniculum vulgare
Flavor: Sweet, anise-like
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, calcium, iron, carotenoids
Common names: Hibiscus
Scientific name: Hibiscus
Colors: Red; pink; white; yellow; orange
Flavor: Tart, cranberry-like
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, potassium, flavonoids
Hibiscus Tea Recipe
- 1 cup dried Hibiscus flowers
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 8 cups cold water
- 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
Common names: Jasmine
Scientific name: Jasminum officinale
Colors: White; yellow
Flavor: Sweet, delicate, highly aromatic
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, vitamin C, flavonoids
Common names: Lavender
Scientific name: Lavandula
Flavor: Sweet and floral
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, flavonoids
15. Lemon Verbena
Common names: Lemon verbena, lemon beebrush
Scientific name: Aloysia citrodora
Colors: White; pink
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, flavonoids
VIDEO: Edible Flowers
Common names: Lilac
Scientific name: Syringa
Colors: Purple; white; pink
Flavor: Lemony, floral
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, iron, calcium
Common names: Mint
Scientific name: Mentha
Colors: White; pink; purple
Flavor: Minty, cooling, fresh
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, flavonoids
Common names: Nasturtium
Scientific name: Tropaeolum
Colors: Red; yellow; orange; white; pink
Flavor: Sweet, spicy, peppery
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, iron, flavonoids
Common names: Pansy
Scientific name: Viola × wittrockiana
Colors: Yellow; purple; white; pink; red; orange; blue
Flavor: Mildly sweet, tart
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, iron, carotenoids, flavonoids
Common names: Petunia
Scientific name: Petunia
Colors: Pink; purple; white; red
Flavor: Sweet and spicy
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium
VIDEO: How To Make Candied Edible Flowers
Common names: Rose, wild rose
Scientific name: Rosa
Colors: Pink; white; red; yellow; orange
Flavor: From sweet, sour, to spicy
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, B-complex, calcium
Common names: Snapdragon, dragon flower
Scientific name: Antirrhinum
Colors: White; yellow; pink; red; orange; purple
Flavor: Mild or slightly bitter
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, iron, potassium, phosphorus
Common names: Squash, pumpkin, gourd
Scientific name: Cucurbita
Colors: Yellow; orange
Flavor: Sweet, nectar-like
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin A, vitamin C, B-complex, potassium, carotenoids
Common names: Sunflower
Scientific name: Helianthus annuus
Colors: Yellow; orange
Flavor: Green and leafy; better after being lightly steamed
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin E, vitamin C, B-complex, phosphorus
Common names: Violet, viola
Scientific name: Viola
Colors: Purple; blue; pink
Flavor: Sweet, nectar-like
Nutritional benefits: Vitamin C, iron, flavonoids
- Cooking with Flowers Tips and Hints
- Edible Flower Recipes
- Candied Flowers Recipe
- Cake With Crystallized Flowers
- Gorgeous Organic Edible Flowers Cake
© 2012 Kate P
Levko Yaskewych on July 25, 2020:
Snapdragons taste like pea pod with a slightly quick bitter tang.
nice on May 13, 2019:
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on September 08, 2015:
Thanks for the wonderful comments! I appreciate them. And I have never tried lilacs either :)
Chantelle Porter from Chicago on September 08, 2015:
I had no idea you could eat this many flowers, especially the lilac. Very interesting and pretty article.
Diana Burrell-Shipton from Hubbard, Ohio, USA on August 28, 2015:
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.
Treathyl FOX from Austin, Texas on October 05, 2014:
Lovely HUB. I'll take the Squash, Violet and the Pansy. :)
Celiegirl on January 15, 2013:
Thanks, informative and too cool. Knew of a lot of these but surprised by many more.
Rosana Modugno from 11th Kingdom on August 12, 2012:
Well organized piece. I've always wanted to know about edible flowers. This was great. Thanks :)
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on July 31, 2012:
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 from Alabama on July 31, 2012:
I love that you let us know how each one tasted and their nutritional values. I give this hub a thumbs up!
maheshpatwal from MUMBAI on June 30, 2012:
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
Judy Specht from California on June 25, 2012:
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.
Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on June 08, 2012:
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 from Indiana on June 08, 2012:
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!
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on June 08, 2012:
Thank you all for the awesome comments.
And btw, if you find any good recipes, please share!
Movie Master from United Kingdom on June 08, 2012:
A fabulous hub, lovely pictures and useful information - I didn't realise there were so many edible flowers!
mwilliams66 from Left Coast, USA on June 07, 2012:
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 from Lincoln, Nebraska on June 07, 2012:
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.
Miche Wro on June 07, 2012:
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.
Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on May 30, 2012:
I Love all the gorgeous flowers, brilliant pics. and very useful info. will most certainly bookmark this page.
Sheepsquatch from Springfield, MO on May 29, 2012:
This is a very nice collection of edible flowers, though some of them I wouldn't want to eat like the dandelion.
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on May 29, 2012:
I'm growing some violets this summer.. can't wait to try them out!
mecheshier on May 23, 2012:
Nice! Beautiful pics and info. I love edible flowers.
Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on May 23, 2012:
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!
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on May 23, 2012:
Thanks for all the great comments. Let us all know if you try eating any of these!
Sueswan on May 23, 2012:
I have had chamomile and chrysanthemum tea.
Bookmarking this one.
Voted up and awesome.
Ruchira from United States on May 23, 2012:
such an informative hub. Many flowers were foreign to me until now...
voted up as interesting and sharing it across!
ken blair on May 22, 2012:
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 from Northern California on May 09, 2012:
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.
Stephanie Bradberry from New Jersey on May 09, 2012:
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.
Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on May 09, 2012:
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.
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on May 07, 2012:
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!
Catherine Taylor from Canada on May 07, 2012:
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.
Melissa Flagg COA OSC from Rural Central Florida on May 07, 2012:
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 on May 06, 2012:
This is an incredibly cool hub! I would be curious to try some of these in recipes. Definitely sharing!
Dale Hyde from Tropical Paradise on Planet X on May 06, 2012:
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 from San Fransisco on May 06, 2012:
A wonderful hub - I had no idea there where that many edible flowers. Voted up!
Larry Fields from Northern California on May 06, 2012:
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.