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Edible flower

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Blue borage is used as a sweet-flavored garnish

Edible flowers are flowers that can be consumed safely. Flowers may be eaten as vegetables as a main part of a meal, or may be used as herbs. Flowers are part of many regional cuisines, including Asian, European, and Middle Eastern cuisines.[1]


Moringa oleifera flowers are a popular food item on the Indian subcontinent
The Vietnamese dish gỏi bông điên điển và tép đồng with Sesbania bispinosa flowers
Cichorium intybus

A number of foods are types of flowers or are derived from parts of flowers. The costly spice saffron consists of the stigmas and styles collected from the inside of a type of crocus flower. Broccoli, artichokes, and capers are all technically flower buds, albeit immature forms.[2] Other parts of the plants than the flowers mentioned in this list may be poisonous.

Flowers reported as edible include:[1]


Some flowers are safe to eat only in small amounts. Apple flowers (Malus spp.) contain cyanide precursors, and Johnny jump-ups (Viola tricolor) contain saponins. Borage (Borago officinalis) and daylily (Hemerocallis spp.) flowers are diuretics, and sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) can have blood-thinning effects. The flowers of linden trees (Tilia spp.) are reportedly "safe in small amounts", but heavy consumption can cause heart damage. Marigolds (Tagetes spp.) can be harmful in large amounts, and only certain species have an appealing flavor.[1]

Toxic flowers are easily mistaken for edible varieties, and unrelated safe and unsafe species may share a common name. Various non-toxic plants can cause severe allergies in some people. Flowers cultivated as ornamental plants for garden use are not intended for use as food.[8]


Chocolate cake with candied violets

Edible flowers are added to foods to provide flavor, aroma, and decoration. They can be eaten as part of a main dish or be incorporated into salads or cakes.[9] Flowers can be added to beverages as flavorings, or be used to make beverages such as tisanes and wines. They are added to spreads such as butter or fruit preserves, and to vinegar, marinades, and dressings.[1][8]

Flowers are also consumed for sustenance.[1] Many flowers that are technically edible can be far from palatable.[10] An example of a species with flowers that are of high nutritional value is the dandelion, whose flowers are shown to contain high levels of polyphenols and antioxidants and possess anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic properties.[11]

For the best flavor, flowers should be fresh and harvested early in the day. Wilted and faded flowers and the unopened buds of most species can be unpleasant and often bitter. The taste and color of nectar widely vary between different species of flower; consequently, honey may vary in color and taste depending on the species of flower. Many flowers can be eaten whole, but some have bitter parts, such as the stamens and stems.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Lauderdale, C. and E. Evans. Edible Flowers. Archived 2013-10-22 at the Wayback Machine Horticulture Information Leaflet 8513. North Carolina State University. 1999.
  2. ^ "Edible Flowers". Waterfields. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
  3. ^ "Acacia flowers—a potent cough mixture". European Union Development Fund. Archived from the original on 2014-11-22. Retrieved 2014-05-13.
  4. ^ "Acacia flower fritters". Morrison, Médoc, France. 29 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Frittelle di Fiori d'Acacia (Black Locust Flower Pancakes)". Cooking and traveling in Italy.
  6. ^ "ACACIA FLOWER FRITTERS". Tatty Apron. 3 June 2013.
  7. ^ "Riaperta la stagione della cacia". Unazebrapois. 2012.
  8. ^ a b c Newman, S. E. and A. S. O'Connor. Edible Flowers. Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine Colorado State University Extension. 2013.
  9. ^ https://www.rocketgardens.co.uk/growing-using-edible-flowers-2/
  10. ^ Coyle, G. Edible Flowers. Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback Machine University of Minnesota Extension Service. Reviewed 1999.
  11. ^ "Is the Healthiest Part of Dandelion Its Flower?". 17 April 2014.

Further reading[edit]

  • Barash, C. W. Edible Flowers from Garden to Palate. Golden: Fulcrum Publishing, 1993.
  • Brown, K. Flowerpower. New York: Anness Publishing Limited, 2000.
  • Mead, C. and E. Tolley. A Potpourri of Pansies. New York: Clarkson Potter Publishers, 1993.
  • Strowbridge, C. and F. Tillona. A Feast of Flowers. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1969.

External links[edit]