List of Edible Flowers
If you’re just looking for a quick list, here’s a quick list of edible flowers below. If you’re looking for some tasty recipes for using each flower, or wondering how they taste, read on my friends.
- Anise Hyssop
- Bachelors Buttons
- Bee Balm
- Black Locust
- Chives (and other alliums)
- Dame’s Rocket
- Fruit Blossoms (Apple, pear, plum, citrus, etc)
- Scented Geraniums
An old school flower garden favorite, Angelica has been grown and eaten since the middle ages. The beautiful flowers are themselves edible, and you can eat them right out in the garden.
How does angelica taste? Floral, with hints of anise and carrot, along with a bit of mild bitterness.
The flower stalks are often candied, and it was a popular confection in the dark ages in Europe. According to Hank Shaw at Honest Food, here’s how to make candied angelica:
“First, you need to know what candied angelica is. It is a very old form of candy. Flavor and structure comes from the herb stems, sweetness from cane sugar. The stems are blanched, then soaked in heavy syrup, boiled in that syrup, soaked again — several times — until they turn translucent. You then dry the stems a bit and roll them in caster sugar.”
Angelica is also a medicinal flower, and it was revered as the “herb of angels” historically. According to WebMD, Angelica is used to treat heartburn, flatulence, loss of appetite, bed wetting, arthritis, stroke, dementia, circulation problems, anxiety, fever, and insomnia. Quite the list! They also note that it was used historically to “bring the menses,” so don’t eat it if you’re pregnant.
We don’t grow angelica in the garden, but I found a wild patch next to our favorite summertime swimming hole last year. This summer, I’m excited about harvesting some of our own and trying out these angelica recipes:
- Angelica Creme Fraiche (Angelica Cultured in Goats Milk) ~ Forager Chef
- Angelica Seed Pound Cake ~ Forager Chef
- Rhubarb Compote with Angelica & Dried Cherries ~ Forager Chef
- Rhubarb and Angelica Jam ~ Saveur
A favorite of the bees, Anise Hyssop has a wonderful scent that fills the garden in midsummer. The flowers and leaves have a delicate black licorice flavor that’s pleasant but not overwhelming. They’re tasty fresh, or you can add anise hyssop blossoms to baked goods as well. Try any of these anise hyssop recipes:
- Anise Hyssop Woopie Pies ~ Homespun Seasonal Living
- Anise Hyssop Gumdrops ~ Homespun Seasonal Living
- Anise Hyssop Ice Tea ~ Taste Cooking
Still looking for more ideas? Here’s a list of things to do with Anise Hyssop. My favorite use? Just leaving it be and watching the bumble bees work the beautiful fragrant flowers in the summertime…
With a bright citrus taste and a hint of sour, begonias are a flavorful edible flower that’s quite versatile. They can be eaten alongside savory or sweet dishes equally well. Eat the weeds notes that begonia blossoms and leaves are tasty raw, and that the stalks can be cooked like rhubarb.
Try any of these begonia recipes:
- Strawberry Begonia Salad ~ Sunset Magazine
- Begonia Flower Vinegar ~ PBS
- Begonia Fritters ~ Funny How Flowers Do That
- Begonia Cocktails ~Funny How Flowers Do That
- Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Begonias ~ Funny How Flowers Do That
- Grilled Sea Bass with Citrus Begonia Dressing ~ Funny How Flowers Do That
- Pistachio and Lemon Cream Tart with Sugared Begonias ~ Funny How Flowers Do That
With a flavor reminiscent of fresh cucumbers, borage flowers are often added to cool summertime drinks. While the edible flowers tend to get all the attention, borage leaves are also edible and make a lovely salad green. The greens can also be served cooked, and added to anything in place of spinach.
- Borage Ravioli ~ Saveur
- Blackberry Borage Fool ~ Epicurious
- Borage Party Spread Appetizers ~ Taste of Home
In the late spring and early summer, our black locust trees are covered with fragrant white blossoms. For about 2 to 3 weeks each year, you can smell them from many yards away. You can also “hear” them, as the trees attract so many bees that they seem to hum when in bloom.
The bees know where the good stuff is, and if you can manage it, pick a few of the edible blossoms to make black locust fritters! While that’s the most popular way to enjoy these fragrant edible flowers, there are also a few more black locust recipes you should try:
- Black Locust Flower Syrup ~ Nature on the Shelf
- Black Locust and Ricotta Crostini with Wild Mint ~ Foraged Foodie
- Black Locust Flower Jelly ~ Three Foragers
- White Wine and Locust Flower Jelly ~ Indiana Public Media
- Baked Salmon in Locust Blossom Cream Sauce ~ Northern Woodlands
- Locust Flower Sorbet ~ Backyard Forager
The beautiful orange/yellow flowers of calendula make a beautiful annual in the flower garden, and their bright edible flower petals add color to all manner of dishes. For the most part, they add bright colors to recipes, but not a lot of flavor. They’re used to create these bright natural herbal cupcake sprinkles, and the petals are beautiful in these Calendula and thyme shortbread cookies.
A well known herbal medicinal, calendula is often used topically to treat skin issues. We use a calendula infused oil on burns, but it’s also anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and astringent. This makes it the perfect choice for an all-purpose calendula salve.
Beyond its external uses, calendula is also used internally to treat muscle spasms, sore throat, menstrual cramps and stomach complaints (source).
Calendula flower is used to prevent muscle spasms, start menstrual periods, and reduce fever. It is also used for treating sore throat and mouth, menstrual cramps, cancer, and stomach and duodenal ulcers. Calendula has also been used for measles, smallpox, and jaundice.
Looking for more inspiration? Here are 10 things to make with calendula flowers.
- Flower Power Cake ~ Green Kitchen Stories
- Granola with Yogurt & Edible Flowers ~ What Should I Eat for Breakfast Today
Best known as a simple relaxing herbal tea, chamomile can also be used to add a warm, sunny floral flavor to baked goods. Most people know how chamomile tea tastes and that same flavor infuses into cakes, jams scones, and buns. Try any of these delectable chamomile recipes:
Chives (and Other Alliums)
Chive greens add an onion flavor, and they’re the perfect topping sprinkled on top of a baked potato. Chive blossoms are also edible, and while they taste similar, they do have a flavor all of their own. That same spicy allium flavor combines with subtle floral notes to create one of my favorite edible flowers.
I tend to eat them raw right out in the garden, which gives me a quick pick me up and gets me moving. They’re often added to salads, or preserved in chive blossom vinegar or chive blossom butter.
When things turn cold during foliage season in Vermont, every grocery store, hardware store, nursery and tourist trap puts out the same chalkboard sign advertising “Hardy Mums!” I don’t know why, I know it’s juvenile, but it always makes me chuckle, bringing to mind some exceptionally robust and hardy grandmotherly figures.
Most people around these parts buy them in the fall and leave them in pots as decorations until early winter, and then compost them. A neighbor informed me that they’re actually perennials, and though he’s well over 80, he admitted to dumpster diving to rescue discarded mums.
But even more exciting…they’re edible flowers too!
Chrysanthemum greens are a cooked vegetable in Asian cuisine, and the edible flowers are commonly made into chrysanthemum tea. Here are a few recipes to try:
- Chrysanthemum Greens with Sesame Miso Dressing ~ Diversavore
- Herbal Chrysanthemum Tea ~ The Omnivores Cookbook
Red clover and white clover are both sweet edible flowers that can be harvested in huge quantities in the summer months. The flowers themselves can be dried and ground to make clover flour which adds nutrition and helps extend flour supplies during tough times.
The base of each clover flower produces a bit of sweet nectar, and many country kids know how to harvest clover flowers, peel back the leaves and get a drop of sweet honeydew from each flower. Personally, I just eat them whole in season for a sweet garden treat that tastes a bit like snap peas.
Beyond fresh clover flowers and ground clover flour, the blossoms can just be added to baked goods whole. Try any of these clover recipes:
- Red Clover Flour Muffins (Gluten-Free) ~ Clover Leaf Farm
- White Clover Flour Cookies ~ Southern Forager
- Clover Blossom Soda Bread ~ The Forages Feast
- Red Clover Biscuits ~ Edible Wild Food
- White Clover Cinnamon Strawberry Banana Cookies ~ Raising Little Wilds
Daisy (Bellis perennis)
I’m always excited when I see daisy greens popping up in the early spring. They come out early, and though they’re a bit bitter, I’m happy to eat them as the snow is melting back in our northern climate. Later on in the year, daisies are bright sunny edible flowers that add more beauty than taste.
The flowers are slightly bitter, and I don’t find them particularly tasty. My young daughter, on the other hand, can’t get enough of them. Perhaps it’s a matter of taste buds, or maybe it’s just that she loves their beauty enough to forgive their flavor.
Generally, edible daisy flowers are used raw as a garnish.
Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis)
A biennial plant in the broccoli family, Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) is just as edible as any other garden brassica. It goes by many names, including dame’s rocket, damask-violet, dame’s-violet, dames-wort, dame’s gilliflower, night-scented gilliflower, queen’s gilliflower, rogue’s gilliflower, summer lilac, sweet rocket, mother-of-the-evening, and winter gilliflower.
Though it looks quite similar to tall perennial Phlox (Phlox paniculata), they’re not the same plant. Dame’s Rocket has 4 petals, while Phlox has 5. Incidentally, it’s phlox look-alike is also edible, so the distinction doesn’t really matter that much so far as edible flowers go.
Generally, the leaves are eaten before the plant flowers, and they’re added to salads. The flower buds are cooked and eaten like broccoli raab, and the edible flowers can be eaten raw or used as a garnish.
Forager Chef has a great article on foraging and cooking with Dame’s Rocket if you’re looking for specifics.
Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale)
Dandelion greens are one of the first spring greens, and they’re bitter right when your body needs a bit of a pick me up after a winter of heavy foods. They can be incorporated into dishes, like in this homemade dandelion pasta made with the greens right in the noodles. Dandelions are medicinal, used internally as a dandelion tincture for skin and urinary tract problems or externally in salves, massage oils and lotion bars for muscle aches.
Every part is edible. The greens are often cooked into savory dishes, or eaten raw to add a touch of bitter to salads. Dandelion roots are cooked like carrots, or dried, roasted and then ground into a dandelion coffee substitute. The flowers are often made into old fashioned dandelion wine, and my little ones love dandelion flower ice cream.
- Dandelion Petal and Lemon Cookies with Kale Drizzle ~ Veggie Desserts
- Dandelion and Honey Gummy Bears ~ Adamant Kitchen
- Dandelion Petal Bread ~ Homespun Seasonal Living
- Dandelion Shortbread Cookies ~ Adamant Kitchen
- Dandelion Donuts with Chocolate Frosting ~ Brooklyn Farm Girl
- Dandelion Root Muffins ~ Grow Forage Cook Ferment
- Fried Dandelion Blossoms ~ Simply Beyond Herbs
While elderflowers are delicious, and a truly one of a kind taste, more often than not I leave them on the plants because I want more elderberries. We make elderberry jam every year and it’s one of my favorites. That said, elderflower wine is on my homebrewing bucket list, and this elderflower strawberry mead looks out of this world. Simple elderflower fritters are one of the most common ways to eat them outside of winemaking.
Though I’ve yet to try it, I’ve read that storing apples packed with elderflowers infuses flavor into the apples while they’re in a root cellar. At least according to the book Preserving Food without Canning or Freezing, the resulting apples taste like pineapple. That must have seemed pretty magical 200 years ago…
Here are a few more modern elderberry recipes to try:
- Lemon Elderflower Popsicles ~ Occasionally Eggs
- Lemon Elderflower Cake ~ Liv for Cake
- Elderflower Kombucha ~ Homestead Honey
- Elderflower Marshmallows ~ Nitty Gritty Life
I’m told that fireweed jelly is a huge hit in Alaska, where the blossoms are used to mark the progression of summer. They start blooming at the bottom and work their way up as the season progresses. Generally, these flowers are wild foraged, which is no big deal since they often grow in huge patches (as soon as you find one, there’s more nearby). The trick is, they require a cool climate.
Beyond a jelly with the edible flowers, I’ve just read that the leaves of fireweed can be made into a tea substitute. According to Honest Food, “You make fireweed tea by stripping the leaves off the stalks, bruising them in some way, letting them oxidize and ferment, then drying and storing them. This is more or less the same way traditional tea is made.”
Forsythia (Forsythia sp.)
These bright yellow blossoms burst forth in firey bushes, well before the leaves emerge. I’ve always wanted one because they signal spring like nothing else here in the north country. I recently got a chance to try the blossoms from a neighbor, and while they’re beautiful, I found them pretty tasteless. Maybe they were past their peak? Maybe it’s a variety thing.
I can’t say, but recipes using the edible flowers from forsythia are quite common and other’s seem to enjoy their flavor:
- Cherry Forsythia Scones ~ Healing Harvest Homestead
- Forsythia Jelly ~ The Free Range Life
- Forsythia Syrup ~ Grow Forage Cook Ferment
Fruit Blossoms (Apple, Cherry, Strawberry, etc)
The flowers of many fruiting trees and shrubs are edible long before they set fruit. The problem is if you eat the flowers they won’t turn into fruit. This is a good way to thin a crop if your apple tree is over-producing. Thinning the blossoms ensures that the remaining fruit will be larger and helps prevent stress on the tree.
You can find edible flowers on apples, cherries, plums, citrus, and many other trees. Fruiting shrubs like strawberries, honeyberries, and blueberries are also edible. They’re not used all that often in recipes because most people prefer fruit to edible flowers, but here are a few ideas:
- Flourless Chocolate Torte with Plum Blossoms ~ Nitty Gritty Life
- Plum Blossom Coridal ~ Gather Victoria
- Cherry Blossom Cookies ~ Just One Cookbook
- Hibiscus Flower Enchiladas ~ Love and Olive Oil
- Hibiscus Margaritas ~ Minimalist Baker
- Vegan Hibiscus Flower Tacos ~ All Recipes
- Hibiscus Loaf Cake ~ Serious Eats
- Hibiscus Flower Quesadillas ~ Feasting at Home
Beyond just being edible, honeysuckle is also medicinal. A honeysuckle extract, like this homemade honeysuckle glycerite, can be used to treat sore throat, cool hot flashes and ease respiratory infections.
Keep in mind that unlike some of the other edible flowers on this list, where many parts of the plant are edible, other parts of honeysuckle are toxic. Do not eat honeysuckle berries later in the season, just stick to the fragrant early season edible flowers.
I often think of lavender as just a scent for body products, like this homemade lavender soap, lavender salt soak, lavender oatmeal bath, and even a lavender face mask. Adding lavender to food works just as well, and can create a really unique taste.
Lavender goes particularly well with chocolate or honey in my opinion, but there’s plenty of ways to use it…
- Lavender Lemonade Prosecco Cocktail ~ Happiness is Homemade
- Lemon Lavender Madeleines ~ Chocolates and Chai
- Lavender Infused Gin ~ Sidewalk Shoes
- Lemon Lavender Bundt Cake ~ Recipes from a Pantry
- Almond Lavender Biscotti ~ Sidewalk Shoes
- Small Batch Blueberry Lavender Jam ~ Life Currents
- Lilac Lemon Grapefruit Sherbet ~ Will Frolic For Food
- Lilac Water ~ Feasting at Home
- Lilac Syrup ~ The Kitchen McCabe
- Lilac Wine ~ And Here We Are
- Lilac Honey Cake ~ Homespun Seasonal Living
- Lilac Cheesecake ~ Unconventional Baker
Seeking more? Here are 20+ Lilac Recipes for every meal, both savory & sweet.
- Linden Flower Syrup ~ Garden of Eating
- Blueberry Linden Flower Whiskey Smash ~ Moody Mixologist
- Linden Blossom Suncake ~ Gather Victoria
Meadowsweet is light and floral, and it’s often used in the same way as elderflowers. According to Learning Herbs, it’s also a home remedy for pain and fever.
It’s becoming more common to plant milkweed in flower beds, as a nice gesture for the monarch butterflies, but also because they’re beautiful and smell wonderful. Knowing they’re edible flowers is just one more reason to plant them in your flower garden.
The edible species is common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). There are some reports that common milkweed is toxic, and that goes back to a foraging book from the 1970s where an author actually misidentified a plant thinking it was milkweed (dogbane instead of milkweed). That species is toxic, and tastes horrible.
Since then, hundreds of resources have just copied that information without checking, each one says “it’s unpalatably bitter.” While dogbane is horribly bitter and toxic, common milkweed is not, that incorrect information has been perpetuated for decades.
As always, with any wild edible use your best judgment and consult plenty of sources before making a decision to eat it, don’t just take my word for it. In any case, there are toxic look-alikes for common milkweed, so be 100% sure on your identification too…
Beyond the edible flowers, there are a number of other edible parts on milkweed including the shoots, flower buds, leaves, seed pods, and immature seeds. All parts should be cooked before eating.
If you’re looking for other milkweed eating resources, here are a few:
- Cooking Milkweed Shoots from Forager Chef
- Milkweed: A Remarkable Wild Vegetable from Countryside Network
- Eating Common Milkweed from Eat the Weeds
- Eating Milkweed from The Maine Organic Farmer’s Association
I’ve tried cooking up the young shoots, the flower buds, the flowers, the seed pods and the young seeds themselves. All were wonderful, but each a completely different vegetable.
One of the best known edible flowers, nasturtiums are annual flowers commonly grown for adding spice and color to salads. The buds of nasturtium flowers can be made into capers, and the flowers themselves are pretty versatile. Try these nasturtium recipes:
- Stuffed Nasturtium Leaves ~ Attainable Sustainable
- Nasturtium Pesto ~ You Grow Girl
- Nasturtium Salad with Dates and Pistachios ~ Simple Bites
- Goat Cheese Nasturtium Ice Cream ~ Serious Eats
Phlox (Phlox paniculata)
While low growing creeping Phlox is toxic, the tall type of perennial phlox (Phlox paniculata) is edible and resembles Dame’s Rocket. The main difference is phlox has 5 petals, while dame’s rocket has 4.
The flowers are slightly spicy, and they’re often used in salads.
- Rose Shortbread ~ What a Girl Eats
- Rose Cake with Fresh Rose Petals ~ Family Spice
- Vegan Almond Rose Chai Latte ~ Moon and Spoon and Yum
- Rose Pistachio Cookies ~ Recipes from a Pantry
- Rose Petal Infused Honey ~ Holistic Health Herbalist
Another edible flower that tastes just like they smell, scented geraniums add a delightfully floral flavor to dishes.
Sunflowers are grown for their seeds as well as their beautiful flowers, but the flowers themselves are actually edible. Young sunflowers can be prepared and cooked like artichokes before they’re fully open. Forager Chef has a wonderful article on this, aptly titled “How to Cook Sunflower Buds Like an Artichoke.”
Once the flowers open fully, the flowers are still edible, they’re just trickier to use. Try using the petals to add color to recipes.
Like many edible flowers, the rest of the plant is also edible. Sunflower sprouts are some of my favorite micro greens, and mature sunflower leaves are technically edible as well.
Tulip flowers are edible, as are tulip bulbs. This came in handy during WWII when people in Holland were forced to cook their prized tulip bulbs like potatoes when food ran short. This recipe for tulip bulb soup still survives, but by all accounts, tulip bulbs are not tasty. They’re more of survival food than anything else. The edible flowers, on the other hand, are a real treat.
Tulip petals vary quite a bit by variety, some sweet, others a tad spicy. According to Eat the Weeds, “They can have many flavors: Bland, beans, peas, and cucumbers. Pink, peach and white blossoms are the sweetest, red and yellow the most flavorful. While you can use them to garnish salads their more common use is to hold appetizers or dip. If you use the entire blossom cut off the pistil and stamens from the center of the blossom. The ends of the petals can also be bitter so cut them off as well when used individually.”
I also found a guide to the tastiest tulip varieties, most of which are red & white striped.
A word of caution, tulips can cause contact dermatitis in some people, so be careful. I’ve never had an issue with them, and my little ones love the bright petals.
This year I made chocolate mousse filled tulip cups as a spring treat (happy mother’s day to me!), but I’ve also found a few other tulip recipes to share. Unfortunately, it’s quite popular to cut a cherry tomato in a decorative way to make it look like a tulip, and when you search edible tulip recipes, these mock tulips are pretty much all you’ll find. Still, I dug deep and found a few lovely ideas for you:
- Tulip Petal Appetizers ~ Maddocks Farm Organics
- Primavera Tulips stuffed with Mushrooms & Parmesan ~ Great British Chefs
- Cheesecake Stuffed Tulips ~ Twigg Studios
- Violet Simple Syrup ~ Feasting at Home
- Wild Violet Muffins ~ Farm Fresh Eats
- Violet Tapioca Balls ~ The Wondersmith
- Wild Violet Sugar Valentines ~ Gather Victoria
- Violet and Dandelion Pink Lemonade ~ Learning and Yearning
While there are a lot of tasty edible flowers to be found in the garden, there are plenty of toxic flowers too. This is by no way an inclusive list, but here are a few toxic flowers to avoid:
Here’s a much more exhaustive list of toxic flowers, but it’s obviously not all that exist, just most of the common ones.
What’s your favorite edible flower? Did I miss any? Leave me a note in the comments.
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