Flowers are delicious.
The blooms of broccoli and artichokes are eaten as everyday vegetables. The male blossoms of squash are served stuffed, battered and fried as well as made into squash blossom soup.
Bakers use rose petals and mint leaves as a cake garnish they brush petals and leaves with beaten egg white, dip in sugar and dry before assembling.
Refreshing tea can be brewed from the leaves and flowers of bee balm, cinnamon or lemon basil. Flowers steeped in vinegar lend their flavor as well as their color use to top fresh or cooked greens.
|Common name||Scientific name||Flavor||Color||Comments|
|Anise hyssop||Agastache foeniculum||Anise||Lilac||Self seeding perennial|
|Apple||Malus spp.||Floral||White to pink||Eat in moderation since flowers contain cyanide precursors|
|Arugula||Eruca vesicaria sativa||Spicy||White||Annual; once flowers form the leaves become bitter|
|Basil||Ocimum basilicum||Herbal||White, lavender||Annual|
|Bachelor’s button||Centaurea cyanus||Vegetal||White, pink, blue||Annual; petals are edible; the calyx is bitter|
|Bee balm||Monarda didyma||Minty, sweet, hot||Wide range||Perennial|
|Borage||Borago officinalis||Herbal||Blue||Annual; use with nasturtium; use sparingly — diuretic effects|
|Calendula||Calendula officinalis||Slightly bitter||Yellow, orange||Annual; most often used for color rather than flavor|
|Chamomile||Chamaemelum noblis||Sweet apple||White||Perennial; drink tea in moderation — contains thuaone; ragweed sufferers may be allergic to chamomile|
|Chives||Allium schoeonoprasum||Onion||Lavender-pink||Perennial; avoid eating whole flower; taste can be overwhelming|
|Chrysanthemum||Chrysanthemum spp.||Strong||Perennial||Use the florets; strong flavor|
|Dandelion||Taraxacum officinale||Sweet, honey-like||Yellow||Perennial; use young flowers, mature flowers become bitter; flowers close after picking|
|Daylily||Hemerocallis spp.||Vegetal, sweet||Wide range||Perennial; may act as a diuretic or laxative; eat in moderation|
|Dianthus||Dianthus spp.||Sweet clove flavor||Wide range||Perennial; remove the narrow base of the petals (bitter)|
|Elderberry||Sambucus canadensis||Sweet||White||Perennial; do not wash flowers since it removes much of the flavor|
|English daisy||Bellis perennis||Mildly bitter||Pink||Perennial; ray flowers have a mildly bitter taste|
|Fennel||Foeniculum vulgare||Mildly anise||Yellow-green||Normally grown as an annual|
|Hibiscus||Hibiscus rosa-sinensis||Mildly citrus||Rose, red||Showy edible garnish|
|Hollyhock||Althea rosea||Vegetal||White, pink, red||Showy edible garnish|
|Honeysuckle||Lonicera japonica||Sweet||White to pale yellow||Perennial; do not use other honeysuckle flowers|
|Johnny-jump-up||Viola tricolor||Wintergreen||Purple and yellow||Annual; the petals have little flavor unless the green sepals are included; contain saponins and may be toxic in large amounts|
|Lavender||Lavendula spp.||Sweet, perfumed flavor||Lavender||Perennial; use sparingly due to intense flavor; lavender oil may be poisonous|
|Lilac||Syringa vulgaris||Varies||Lavender||Wide variation in flavor — from no flavor to green and herbaceous to lilac|
|Linden||Tilia spp.||Honey-like||White||Frequent consumption of linden flower tea can cause heart damage|
|Marigold||Tagetes patula||Bitter||Yellow, orange||Annual; Lemon Gem and Tangerine Gem have the best flavor|
|Mint||Mentha spp.||Minty||Purple||Perennial; each type of mint has its own unique flavor|
|Nasturtium||Tropaeolum majus||Spicy, peppery||Wide range||Annual|
|Pansy||Viola x wittrockiana||Vegetal||Wide range||Annual; has a slightly sweet green or grassy flavor; petals have a mild flavor; whole flower has a wintergreen flavor|
|Passion flower||Passiflora spp.||Vegetal||Purple||Vine; showy flowers best used as a garnish|
|Pineapple sage||Salvia elegans||Sweet, fruity||Red||Perennial; flavor has a hint of mint and spice|
|Red clover||Trifolium pratense||Sweet||Red||Annual; raw clover flowers are not easily digestible|
|Rose||Rosa spp.||Perfumed||Wide range||Perennial: remove the white, bitter base of the petal|
|Scarlet runner bean||Phaseolus vulgaris||Vegetal||Purple||Annual; flower only last one to two days|
|Scented geraniums||Pelargonium spp.||Varies||Wide range||Perennial; the flavor is usually similar to the scent of the leaves|
|Signet marigold||Tagetes signata||Spicy, herbal||Yellow||Annual; may be harmful if eaten in large amounts; other marigolds are edible but have a tangy to bitter flavor|
|Snapdragon||Anthirrhinum majus||Bitter||Wide range||Annual; use as a garnish|
|Sunflower||Helianthus annuus||Varies||Yellow||Annual; flower is best eaten in bud stage when it has an artichoke flavor; petals of open flowers have a bitter- sweet flavor; pollen can cause a reaction for some people|
|Sweet woodruff||Galium odoratum||Sweet, nutty, vanilla||White||Can have a blood thinning effect if eaten in large amounts|
|Thyme||Thymus spp.||Herbal||White||Perennial herb|
|Tulip||Tulipa spp.||Vegetal||Wide range||Bulb; good stuffed|
|Violet||Viola odorata||Sweet, perfumed||Purple, white||Perennial; use candied or fresh|
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