Mother Earth Living

Guide to Eating Flowers: Edible Flowers List

By Cathy Wilkinson Barash
April/May 1998
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Edible flowers like sage blossoms can add more than just good looks to a citrus salad.
Photo by Cathy Wilkinson Barash


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Sweet Flavors

• Banana (Musa spp.)
• Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile, Mat­ricaria recutita) — applelike
• Dandelion (Taraxacum spp.) — bitter when old
• Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.) —  sweet to vegetal
• Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
• Linden (Tilia spp.)
• Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) — mildly sweet
• Pineapple guava (Feijoa ­sellowiana) — tropical
• Red clover (Trifolium pratense)
• Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) — fresh
• Yucca (Yucca spp.)

Spicy/sweet

• Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) — licorice
• Bee balm (Monarda didyma)
• Dianthus (Dianthus caryophyllus) — clove
• Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) — mild licorice
• Pineapple sage (Salvia ­elegans)

Floral

• Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) — sweet
• Jasmine (Jasminum sambac, J. officinale) — sweet
• Lavender (Lavandula spp.) — strong, perfumy
• Lilac (Syringa spp.)
• Rose (Rosa spp.)
• Scented geranium (Pelargonium spp.)
• Sweet violet (Viola odorata) — strong, perfumy

Minty

• Johnny Jump-up (Viola ­tricolor) — mild
• Mint (Mentha spp.) —  variable
• Pansy (Viola ¥wittrockiana) — mild

Citrus

• Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) — mild
• Lemon (Citrus limon) — sweet
• Lemon verbena (Aloysia ­triphylla) — sweet
• Orange (Citrus sinensis) — sweet
• Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) — mild
• Signet marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia) — tarragon flavor with citrus undertones
• Tuberous begonia (Begonia Tuberhybrida Hybrids)

Peppery/spicy

• Arugula (Eruca sativa)
• Broccoli (Brassica oleracea, Botrytis Group)
• Canary creeper (Tropaeolum peregrinum)
• Kale (Brassica oleracea, Acephala Group)
• Mustard (Brassica juncea)
• Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)
• Radish (Raphanus sativus)

Onion/garlic

• Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) —  oniony
• Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) — garlicky
• Nodding onion (Allium ­cernuum) — oniony
• Society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) — sweet garlic

Herbal

• Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
• Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)
• Dill (Anethum graveolens)
• Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) — strong
• Oregano (Origanum spp.)
• Rosemary (Rosmarinus ­officinalis)
• Sage (Salvia officinalis)
• Savory (Satureja hortensis, S. montana)
• Marjoram (Origanum ­majorana)
• Thyme (Thymus spp.)

Bitter

• Calendula (Calendula ­officinalis) — mild
• Chicory (Cichorium intybus) — mild
• Chrysanthemum (Dendranthema ¥grandiflora) — mild
• English daisy (Bellis perennis) — mild
• Safflower (Carthamus ­tinctorius) — strong
• Shungiku (Chrysanthemum coronarium) — mild
• Sunflower (Helianthus ­annuus) — bittersweet

Other

• Borage (Borago officinalis) — cucumberlike
• Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) — mild, nutty
• Pea (Pisum sativum) — pealike
• Redbud (Cercis canadensis) — pealike
• Rose-of-sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) — mildly vegetal
• Runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus) — beanlike
• Squash (Cucurbita spp.) — vegetal
• Tulip (Tulipa spp.) — bean or pealike


Cathy Barash is a garden photographer, writer, and editor for Meredith Books in Des Moines, Iowa.

Click here for the original article,  Guide to Eating Flowers .


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