Flowers are gorgeous to look at, and who doesn’t love receiving a big bouquet of assorted flowers?
However, did you know that there is a large number of flowers that are actually edible? They could be incorporated into desserts, beverages, and even main courses.
Not only do edible flowers add a pop of color and wonderful fragrance to your meal, but they are also packed with vitamins and minerals.
Flowers You Can Eat
In this article, we have compiled a list of 33 different edible flower varieties. We have mentioned various ways you can incorporate them into your everyday cooking.
The Borage officinalis, otherwise no one has the starflower, is a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean regions and naturalized in other locations.
The flavor profile of B. officinalis is reminiscent of cucumber and sweet honey.
They’re commonly used in salads and desserts as a garnish.
Nasturtium isn’t a flowering plant itself. It’s actually a genus of several plants in the cabbage family.
They are most commonly known as watercress or yellowcress. Nasturtium comes from the Latin words nasus and tortus, meaning “twisted nose.”
The name is likely a reference to its peppery, tangy flavor and its subsequent effects on the nasal passages when consumed.
Calendula is another genus of roughly 15 to 20 species of perennials in the Daisy family.
Calendulas are often known as marigolds. Calendulas are known as a “poor man’s saffron” because historically, the marigold dried petals were used to color cheese when substituted for expensive saffron.
Marigolds are mildly sweet and slightly better and add color to soups, stews, custards, and liquors.
Squash blossoms belong to the Cucurbita family, and the most common variety is the Cucurbita pepo.
In Southeast European and Middle Eastern cuisine, squash blossoms are often stuffed uncooked.
Some regions in Italy and Spain frequently fry squash blossoms into fritters.
In Mexican cuisine, they’re often used in soups and as a filling for quesadillas.
Violets refer to flowering plants that belong to the viola genus of the Violaceae family.
However, most violets are used to decorate salads, poultry, and fish dishes, as essence for soufflés creams and desserts, or crystallized as candied violets.
French cuisine is known for its Violet Syrup, used when making violet scones and other desserts.
Chamomile is the common name for many flowering plants resembling daisies in the Asteraceae Family.
Chamomile is often used as a flavoring agent for foods, beverages, oral health products, and cosmetics.
The most widely known culinary use for chamomile is in chamomile tea, made with dried chamomile flowers steeped and hot water.
However, chamomile has also been historically used in flavoring beers and ales.
Contrary to what the name suggests, Daylilies are not lilies.
They are members of the Asphodelaceae family and are most commonly bred for their beautiful flowers.
Despite being a poisonous neurotoxin, Daylilies are used in Chinese cuisine and medicine.
You can often find daylilies in hot and sour soup and moo shu pork. However, too much ingestion of uncooked flowers may result in diarrhea.
Cilantro, also known as coriander or Chinese parsley, is an edible herb belonging to the Apiaceae Family.
Although the entire plant is edible from flower to root, only fresh leaves and dried seeds are traditionally used in cooking.
Typically the leaves are used fresh because they quickly lose their aroma when dried or frozen.
Meanwhile, the seeds are used as a spice. In Thai cuisine, coriander root is commonly used in soups and curry paste.
Marigolds, Known as pot marigolds, common marigolds, ruddles, Mary’s gold, and scotch marigolds, are flowering plants thought to be native to southern Europe and naturalized widely throughout all of Europe.
Marigolds are used to make teas. On the other hand, marigold leaves are edible but often do not taste good.
Lavender belongs to the genus Lavendula which contains 47 flowering species in the mint family.
For culinary purposes, English lavender is the most commonly used species for its sweet fragrance and citrus notes.
Lavender is a spice or condiment for pasta, salads, dressings, and desserts. Lavender buds are also commonly used in teas.
Because drying increases the flavor and aroma of lavender, dried lavender buds are the most common ingredient when cooking with lavender.
Arugula, also known as rockets, garden rockets, or eruca, is a flowering plant belonging to the Brassicaceae family.
Typically, arugula is a Greenleaf vegetable with a tart, peppery and bitter flavor. However, all parts of the arugula are edible, including its flower and seeds.
Typically regular flour can be consumed raw just like it leaves. The flower petals of arugula are particularly tasty raw in salads as a green.
Mint, or mentha, is a genus belonging to the Lamiaceae Family. Currently, there are 13 to 24 mint species, with many hybrids which occur naturally.
Most culinary mint is used with fresh or dried mint leaves. Mint leaves are fresh aromatic sweet, and have a cool aftertaste.
They’re typically used in tease beverages, syrups, candies, and ice creams. I like mint in a good cocktail!
Mint is commonly used in lamb dishes in the Middle East, sauces and jellies in British and American cuisine, and in curries in Indian cuisine.
Pansies and Johnny Jump-ups
Pansies, otherwise known as Johnny jump ups are a species within the viola genus.
Pansies are entirely edible and a popular garnish for salads, thanks to their brightly colored appearance.
Although they are edible and beautiful, they’re not typically considered tasty.
When cooked down, Johnny jump-ups have a flavor reminiscent of spinach. Fortunately, what they lack in flavor, they make up for in antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
Rose, from the genus Rosa and family Rosaceae, are the most famous flowering plants known for their romantic connotations worldwide.
They’re over 303 seas of roses, including miniature roses, climbing roses, and much more.
Rosewater is commonly used in Middle Eastern Persian and south Asian cuisine as a key component in many famous sweets, such as Turkish delights, Barfi, baklava, halva, knafeh, nougat, and Gulaab Jamun.
Although dandelions are typically seen as weeds in North America and Eurasia, these flowering plants are entirely edible and have countless health benefits.
Dandelion greens contain high amounts of vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium.
Dandelion greens are a part of Kashmiri, Spanish, Italian, Albanian, Slovakian, Sephardic Jewish, Chinese, Korean, and Greek cuisine.
Alliums are a genus that includes hundreds of aromatic herb species, including onions, garlic scallions, leeks, chives, and shallots.
Alliums are economically considered one of the most important species of flowers for cooking.
This genus includes many wildly grown alliums, such as wild garlic and ramps.
Alliums are not only an essential part of many cuisines, but they are also important medicinal ingredients.
Basil, also known as great basil, sweet basil, and Genovese basil, is a culinary herb in the mints family.
There are wide varieties of basil, including sweet basil, Thai basil, and Mrs. Burns lemon. Cross-pollination has also introduced several basil hybrids, such as lemon and African blue basil.
One of the most famous basil dishes is the Italian pesto.
Agastache foeniculum, also known as anise hyssop, blue giant Hyssop, fragrant giant Hyssop, and lavender hyssop, is a plant in Indigenous to northeastern and north-central North America.
This plant is tolerant to both deer and drought. It attracts pollinators like honeybees, butterflies, bumblebees, hummingbirds, carpenter bees, and moths.
Their leaves can be used as seasonings in teas and salads.
Scarlet Runner Beans
Phaseolus coccineus, known as runner beans, scarlet runner beans, multiflora beans, and butter beans, or a flowering plant belonging to the legume family.
Typically flowers are either red or white in color and can be grown ornamentally.
However, most of these plants are developed for the beans they produce.
Begonias or a group of flowering plants belonging to the Begoniaceae family.
Begonias are safe to eat in small amounts. Still, they can become potentially toxic if ingested in large quantities due to the oxalic acid found in the tissue of the flower.
When consumed in small amounts, begonias have a sour taste.
Thyme is another aromatic perennial belonging to the mint family, like basil, and it is a common herb used in many meals.
They are indigenous to the Mediterranean region and are used for culinary, medicinal, and ornamental purposes.
In many Levantine countries, thyme is used when making zaatar. Time is also a key component of herbs de Provence.
Fresh thyme Is often sold in bunches of sprigs or dried in whole or powdered form.
Like basil and thyme, rosemary belongs to the mint family and is native to the Mediterranean region.
It is fragrant, with Evergreen needle-like leaves. For culinary purposes, rosemary leaves are used as a spice for flavoring foods.
In particular, rosemary is a common herb for flavoring stuffings, lamb roast, pork, chicken, and turkey.
Rosemary leaves are both used in fresh and dried forms in Mediterranean cuisine.
Helianthus, more commonly known as sunflowers, are a genus of 70 species belonging to the daisy family.
Sunflowers are the most widely known plant in this genus. Still, the genus also includes other flowering species, such as Jerusalem artichoke.
Most commonly, sunflowers are grown for culinary purposes.
Monarda, also known as Bergamont, Bee Balm, horsemint, and Oswego tea, is a genus belonging to the mint family.
Bergamont is endemic to North America and is Commonly used as a spice or essential oil.
Like many other plants in the mint family, Bergamont possesses antiseptic properties and is particularly good for treating mouth and throat infections.
For culinary purposes, Bergman is a popular mint for seasoning wild game meats, especially game poultry.
Clover is the common name for plants belonging to the Trifolium genus of the legume family.
Although they originate in Europe, clovers can also be found in South America and Africa.
Although clovers are edible, they’re not commonly used for food. Typically their seeds are reserved for feeding livestock.
With that said, clovers can be used for making teas, salads, sandwiches, and smoothies and for sautéing and stir-frying.
Cornflower, or bachelors buttons, are a common weed native to Europe that typically grows in cornfields.
Unfortunately, cornflowers are now endangered due to the overuse of herbicides.
For culinary purposes, cornflower is generally used as a spice and to garnish dishes with their beautiful blue petals.
Cornflower petals are a key ingredient in Lady Grey tea.
Dill is a herb found in the celery family that originates from Eurasia but is found worldwide.
For culinary purposes, diligence sometimes is referred to as still weed. There are why they are used in European, Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisines.
Dill is very aromatic, making it the perfect ingredient to impart a lot of flavor to a dish.
Common dishes centered around dill include gravlax, dill herring, dill pickles, Shevid polo, and baozi.
Hibiscus, also known as Rosemallow hardy hibiscus rose of Sharon and tropical hibiscus, is a genus within the Mallow family.
The genus contains several hundred species typically native to subtropical and tropical climates.
The most popular way to consume hibiscus is to drink it in tea. Hibiscus tea is renowned for its beautiful red hue and abundant vitamin C.
Honeysuckle Is a flowering shrub or vine commonly grown in North America and Eurasia.
There are over 180 species of honeysuckle identified, and they are considered highly invasive.
Typically honeysuckle is reserved for ornamentation. They’re beautiful to look at and produce sweet edible nectar.
Kale is a variety of cabbage with edible leaves rich in fiber and nutrients.
Kale is often green or purple in color and does not have a head like other forms of cabbage.
It has recently gained popularity in the west for being rich in vitamins and minerals and is even considered a superfood.
You may be familiar with the intoxicating scent of lilacs, but did you know these beautiful little blossoms are also edible?
Lilac flowers are perfectly edible and are often used as an infusion for sugars and honey.
Beyond infusions, lilacs can also be used in various desserts, such as ice cream sherbet custard and puddings.
Broccoli is another edible plant in the cabbage family.
Although we don’t typically think of Broccoli as a flowering plant, Broccoli does form Flowers as long as the plant is allowed to grow for longer periods.
Typically Broccoli is harvested early so that the buds remain tight. However, Broccoli can still be consumed even after the bright yellow broccoli flowers bloom.
In fact, broccoli flowers are often seen as a delicacy and are sold at upscale markets.
Dianthus, commonly known as carnation pinks or sweet Williams, is a herbaceous perennial widely grown in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Dianthus are edible and have a spicy floral and clove-like taste to them.
The more fragrant the variety, the more flavor it has in parts, making them ideal for decorating cakes and garnishing.
Flowers You Can Eat
- Squash Blossoms
- Day Lilies
- Pansies and Johnny jump-ups
- Anise Hyssop
- Scarlet Runner Bean
- Broccoli Flowers
Edible flowers are a fantastic way to garnish a dish with a healthy pop of color and vitamins.
With so much variety to try and many different ways to incorporate flowers into foods, you can create endless combinations of drinks, desserts, and meals with edible flowers.
Let us know what your favorite edible flower is in the comments below.
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