Extensive Visual Guide to Common Edible Flower Blossoms
Many flower blossoms are edible, but it’s always a good idea to check before eating one. I’ve given you photos and resources below for identifying common edible flowers–both cultivated and wild, for common flower garden blossoms, herb blossom, vegetable blossom, wildflower blossoms, and tropical flower blossoms. Many of these categories of flowers overlap as we may plant tropical flowers in our temperate climate summer gardens, cultivated flowers may reseed into the wild, etc. So be sure to look through the entire list.
While the other parts of these flowering plants may be edible, we are only focusing on the blossoms for this article.
Generally speaking, the tastiest or mildest tasting parts of the blossom are the petals. If the flower has a large tough center, you will usually want to leave that out of salads and desserts, although they can be good fried or cooked and used as food decorations.
- Recommended Resources:
- Edible Flower Garden Blossoms
- Daylily, Hemerocallis fulva
- Gardenia, Gardenia jasminoides
- Rose, Rosa Rugosa, Rosa spp.
- Pansy, Viola tricolor var. hortensis
- Nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus
- Lilacs, Syringa vulgaris
- Forsythia, Forsythia x intermedia
- Common or English Daisy, Bellis perennis
- Carnation, Dianthus caryophyllus
- Cornflower or Bachelor’s Button, Centaurea cyanus
- Hollyhock, Alcea rosea
- Sunflower, Helianthus annuus
- Begonia, Begonia × tuberhybrida, Begonia cucullata
- Impatiens, Impatiens wallerana
- Marigold, Tagetes patula, Tagetes erecta, Tagetes tenuifolia
- Scented Geraniums, Pelargoinium spp.
- Pinks, Dianthus spp.
- Spiderwort, Tradescantia virginiana
- Balloon Flower, Platycodon grandiflorus
- Fragrant Water Lily, Nymphaea odorata
- Perennial Phlox, Phlox divaricata
- Edible Vegetable Flower Blossoms
- Tropical Flower Blossoms which are Edible
- Hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
- Yucca (Yucca guatemalensis, Yucca elephantipes)
- Jasmine, Jasminum officinale
- Fucshia, Fuchsia magellanica
- Loroco (Fernaldia pandurata)
- Pacaya Palm (Chamaedorea pacaya)
- Chayote, Sechium edule
- Pineapple Guava Blossoms, Feijoa sellowians
- Banana Blossoms, Musa paradisiaca
- Prickly Pear Cactus Flower, Opuntia
- Edible Herb Flower Blossoms
- Lavender, Lavandula spp.
- Chamomile, Matricaria chamomilla
- Mint, Mentha spp.
- Oregano, Origanum vulgare
- Thyme, Thymus vulgaris
- Chive Blossoms, Allium schoenoprasum
- Sage, Salvia officinalis
- Borage, Borago officinalis
- Calendula or Pot Marigold, Calendula officinales
- Basil, Ocimum basilicum
- Dill, Anethum graveolens
- Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
- Garlic, Allium sativum
- Pineapple Mint, Mentha suaveolens
- Anise Hyssop, Agastache foeniculum
- Rosemary, Salvia rosmarinus
- Passionflower, Passiflora incarnata
- Elderflower (Elderberry flower), Sambucus nigra
- Angelica, Angelica archangelica
- Wild Edible Flower Blossoms
- Wild Bee Balm, Monarda fistulosa
- Honeysuckle, Lonicera periclymenum
- Violet, Viola odorata, Viola spp.
- Mallow, Malva neglecta, Malva Sylvestris
- White Clover, Trifolium repens
- Red Clover, Trifolium pratense\
- Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale
- Johnny Jump-ups or Heartsease, Viola tricolor
- Wild Onions, Allium canadense L
- Cattails, Typha angustifolia and Typha latifolia
- Garlic Mustard, Alliaria petiolata
- Chickweed, Stellaria spp.
- Chicory, Cichorium intybus
- Dame’s Rocket, Hesperis matronalis
- High Bush Cranberry, Viburnum trilobum
- Kudzu, Pueraria montana
- Wild Strawberry Blossom, Fragaria virginiana
- Yellow Wood Sorrel, Oxalis stricta L.
- Edible Tree Flowers of North America
- Ways to Eat Flower Blossoms
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**Important: Because there are many cultivars of flowers, herbs, and vegetables, be sure that the variety that you have is edible. I have given you a general guideline and jumping-off point, but it is always wise to confirm the specifics for the plants that you have. It’s best to ask a local expert to show you which flowers in your area are edible.
**Also important: Don’t eat flowers you have purchased from commercial growers as they would have been sprayed with pesticides. Know where you get your flowers. They should be raised organically without chemicals.
Edible Flower Garden Blossoms
A few of the more common flower garden blossoms which are edible are Daylily, Roses, Pansies, Nasturtium, Lilacs, Forsythia, Daisies, Carnations, Cornflowers, Hollyhocks, Sunflowers, Begonias, Impatiens, Marigold, Gardenia, Scented Geraniums, Pinks, Spiderwort, Balloon Flowers, Perennial Phlox, and Fragrant Water Lily.
Daylily, Hemerocallis fulva
There are many types of lilies that look very similar. Hemerocallis fulva is the variety that is edible along with a few of its cultivars. You really need to make sure that you know the variety that you have. Eat these sparingly as they have a laxative or diuretic effect for some people.
Gardenia, Gardenia jasminoides
Gardenia blossoms have a lovely smell and are often used in Jasmine tea. People eat the flowers pickled, infused in honey, or raw.
Rose, Rosa Rugosa, Rosa spp.
With roses, the more fragrant the rose, the more fragrant the petals will be that you add to your foods or tea. Hybrid tea roses, bush roses, and wild roses all work well for this. Pluck the petals off and add fresh to foods or dry for tea.
Pansy, Viola tricolor var. hortensis
Pansies are a larger variety of the wild Johnny Jump-up or Heartsease and all of these are edible. You can use the whole flower top fresh to decorate your foods.
Nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus
Use the whole flower top of the nasturtium and add to your salads or decorate your plate.
Lilacs, Syringa vulgaris
Use the individual flower blossoms only, plucking them off the stems. Add to baked goods or infuse in honey to preserve the lavender scent.
Forsythia, Forsythia x intermedia
Use the fresh blossoms in salads.
Common or English Daisy, Bellis perennis
Use the whole flower to decorate a plate or pluck the white petals off to use in food dishes.
Carnation, Dianthus caryophyllus
Use the whole flower to decorate cakes or pluck the top part off of the green base to add to salads.
Cornflower or Bachelor’s Button, Centaurea cyanus
Toss the whole flowering top into a salad or decorate a cake.
Hollyhock, Alcea rosea
Hollyhock flowers don’t have a lot of taste, but they are pretty for garnish and fully edible.
Sunflower, Helianthus annuus
The flower buds can be steamed and eaten like artichokes or use the whole open flower as a garnish.
Begonia, Begonia × tuberhybrida, Begonia cucullata
Use the blossoms as a garnish or sparingly sprinkled on your salad.
Impatiens, Impatiens wallerana
The cultivated Impatiens have edible flowers which look pretty on a salad or decorating a cupcake.
Marigold, Tagetes patula, Tagetes erecta, Tagetes tenuifolia
Use the whole flowers as a garnish or sprinkle the petals on a salad removing the green part from the blossom.
Scented Geraniums, Pelargoinium spp.
Scented Geraniums come in many scents including cinnamon, chocolate mint and rose. Choose the scents that you want to add to the dish you are decorating.
Pinks, Dianthus spp.
Pinks are in the Dianthus family as are Sweet William and Carnations and their blossoms are edible.
Spiderwort, Tradescantia virginiana
Spiderwort flowers don’t have a lot of flavor but make a pretty garnish when sprinkled on food.
Balloon Flower, Platycodon grandiflorus
Fragrant Water Lily, Nymphaea odorata
The Fragrant Water Lily flower buds are boiled and eaten like a vegetable, while the petals can be eaten raw. The whole flowers make a stunning garnish to a food platter.
Perennial Phlox, Phlox divaricata
Phlox flowers are lovely sprinkled on fruit salad.
Edible Vegetable Flower Blossoms
It’s always hard for me to pick vegetable flowers to eat because, of course, the idea of the blossoms is to grow the fruits or vegetables. I suppose if you have an abundance of plants setting off blossoms, then this would be a good use of the extra blossoms. Dedicated blossom connoisseurs will grow the vegetable plants primarily for the blossoms, and they will generally keep blossoming throughout the season to keep you in supply all summer or spring long.
Common vegetable flower blossoms you can eat include Squash Blossoms, Scarlet Runner Bean Blossoms, Garden Pea Blossoms, Radish flowers, Okra, Mustard, Cornshoots, Globe Artichoke, and Arugula.
Squash Blossoms, Curcubita spp.
All common Squash blossoms are edible and the most common found on the dinner table are zucchini flowers because zucchini plants tend to be so prolific. They are also large enough blossoms to be able to stuff them or batter and fry them. See the video on how to fry squash blossom below.
Scarlet Runner Bean, Phaseolus coccineus
The Scarlet Runner Bean Blossoms make a pretty and delicious garnish for your plate or sprinkled on salads or soups.
Garden Pea, Pisum sativum
Toss your Garden Pea blossoms onto your salad for interest and flavor.
Radish, Raphanus sativus
Radish blossoms have a spicy, radish-y flavor and work great sprinkled on salads.
Okra, Abelmoschus esculentus
Most known for its vegetable-like seed pods, the Okra flower can also be eaten raw in salads or as a garnish.
Mustard, Brassica nigra
Mustard Flowers have a peppery taste and can be chopped up and added to soups or salads.
Corn Shoots, Zea mays
You can eat the corn shoots when they are thin sort of like grass and also when it grows a tiny corn cob. You can eat it with the husk, baby corn, corn silk and all by boiling it.
Globe Artichoke, Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus
Globe Artichoke buds are delicious steamed and dipped in butter to eat.
Arugula, Eruca vesicaria
The flowers of Arugula have a slightly peppery taste and are delicious sprinkled over a soup or salad.
Tropical Flower Blossoms which are Edible
I’m familiar with some of the tropical edible flowers because I have spent some time in Guatemala where these are common. If you live in a tropical climate, you will be able to grow these and may find them at the farmers’ market near you. If you live in a more temperate climate, you should be able to find many of these at your local latin or Mexican food market.
A few of the more common edible tropical flowers are Hibiscus, Yucca, Jasmine, Loroco, Fucshia, Pacaya, Pineapple Guava, Prickly Pear Cactus, and Chayote.
Hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
The type of Hibiscus most commonly used for tea is Roselle, Hibiscus sabdariffa, though other Hibsiscus such as the one shown here are also edible.
Yucca (Yucca guatemalensis, Yucca elephantipes)
The flowers can be added to salads and are commonly flowered, dipped in egg, and fried in Central America. Taste the yucca blossom near you to be sure it is edible raw, as some leave an astringent feel in the mouth. You may want to stick to cooking them.
Jasmine, Jasminum officinale
The fragrant flowers of the Jasmine plant are most often used as tea.
Fucshia, Fuchsia magellanica
Fuschia flowers make a beautiful garnish for your plate.
Loroco (Fernaldia pandurata)
Loroco flower buds are eaten like vegetables added to tamales, pupusas, and chicken or rice dishes.
Pacaya Palm (Chamaedorea pacaya)
Pacaya flowers look like a cross between Octopus tentacles and corn. They can be purchased at Latin markets often in brine. Fresh they are eaten battered and fried, in scrambled eggs or stir-fried.
Chayote, Sechium edule
Chayote Squash blossoms are quite small, but you can pick them and sprinkle them on your salads or vegetable dishes.
Pineapple Guava Blossoms, Feijoa sellowians
The Pineapple Guava flowers are sweet.
Banana Blossoms, Musa paradisiaca
If you live in a climate where you can grow banana plants that come into blossom but your season is too short to grow bananas, then this is perfect for you. The outer layer of the banana flower is quite fibrous. It’s the inner portion that you’re after which takes a little processing to be able to cook and eat.
Prickly Pear Cactus Flower, Opuntia
The Prickly Pear Cactus flower is often boiled and is a little sour. Some make a wine from the flower.
Edible Herb Flower Blossoms
Most of the edible herbs also have edible blossoms, some being more delicious than others. Among the more common herb blossoms enjoyed are Lavender, Chamomile, Mints, Oregano, Thyme, Chive, Sage, Borage, Calendula, Basil, Dill, Fennel, Garlic, Anise Hyssop, Pineapple Sage, Passionflower, Elderflower (Elderberry), Angelica, and Rosemary.
Lavender, Lavandula spp.
Lavender flowers have made their way into teas and desserts including teas and chocolate cake. It has a strong aroma that some love and others do not.
Chamomile, Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile is probably the best-known flower in this article that is used for a relaxing tea. Mildly sweet and apply, this tea is enjoyed by young and old around the world.
Note: Many know that you might be sensitive to Chamomile if you are allergic to Ragweed, but there are a number of plants related to Ragweed that could cause a person an allergic reaction as well. Read more in my article, Plants to Avoid if You’re Allergic to Ragweed.
Mint, Mentha spp.
Mint flowers of all types can be used along with the leaves. Try sprinkling the blossoms on top of your Hot Fudge Sundae for a light minty taste.
Oregano, Origanum vulgare
Sprinkle the Oregano blossoms on top of your favorite Italian or Mexican dish for a fun surprise. The flowers taste like the leaves.
Thyme, Thymus vulgaris
Thyme blossoms are cute little things. You can pluck them off individually or cut off the flowering tops and use the same as thyme leaves.
Chive Blossoms, Allium schoenoprasum
Chive blossoms are a favorite flower of mine to eat. I pluck of the flowering tops when in full bloom and infuse them in apple cider or white wine vinegar for two to four weeks, then strain. You will have a delicious chive-y vinegar which I like to use in salad dressings. The blossoms are also lovely sprinkled over salads or mashed potatoes.
Sage, Salvia officinalis
The sage flowers have a mild sage flavor and are pretty sprinkled on pork dishes or anything you want to add that sage flavor to.
Borage, Borago officinalis
With a mild cucumber taste, Borage blossoms can be sprinkled fresh onto salads, cheese dips, cold soups, drinks or frozen into ice cubes.
Calendula or Pot Marigold, Calendula officinales
To eat the Calendula flower, pluck the yellow or orange petals off of the base and sprinkle onto your food.
Basil, Ocimum basilicum
I usually try not to let my leafy herbs like Basil go to flower, but if your does, go ahead and trim those flowering tops off and sprinkle them on your food for fresh basil flavor.
Dill, Anethum graveolens
You can use the dill flowers the same as you would the leaves or seeds as it has the same flavor. They’re pretty tucked into a jar of dill pickles when canning.
Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
Fennel blossoms look a lot like Dill flowers but they definitely taste different. They have a mild anise flavor so would make a nice garnish or ingredient in desserts.
Garlic, Allium sativum
What is most often eaten of the flowering Garlic is the Garlic Scape–the stalk and flower bud that grows up before harvest time. Those are cut off so that the garlic bulb will continue to grow and ripen. If you have some garlic bloom, you can cut off the tops and sprinkle the petals onto any food to add a mild garlic flavor.
Pineapple Mint, Mentha suaveolens
The red blossoms of the Pineapple Mint taste like pineapple are pretty floating on top of a drink or sprinkled on anything you want to add pineapple flavor to.
You will likely have grown this mint yourself so will be sure of the identity. Don’t get it confused with the wild Cardinal Flower as they look similar. The Pineapple Mint will have a definite pineapple and mint aroma when crushed.
Anise Hyssop, Agastache foeniculum
With a mild anise flavor, the Anise Hyssop flower can be added to tea or sprinkled onto salad or Asian food.
Rosemary, Salvia rosmarinus
If you let your Rosemary go to flower, go ahead and cut off the flowering tops and chop to use as you would Rosemary. Or pluck off the little flowers and sprinkle onto soups or salad.
Passionflower, Passiflora incarnata
Passionflowers–also known as Maypops–are edible, but they don’t taste that good. Still, they make a gorgeous garnish on a food platter.
Elderflower (Elderberry flower), Sambucus nigra
Elderflowers can be dried to use for tea, used to flavor a mild white wine, or fermented to make elderflower champagne.
Angelica, Angelica archangelica
Angelica is common historically in French cooking and the flowers taste a little like anise. Angelica flowers looks similar to poison hemlock, so you must be sure to identify it correctly or better yet, grow your own.
Wild Edible Flower Blossoms
Many of these wildflower blossoms will be growing freely in your yard–assuming you aren’t spraying your yard for weeds. Others can be found in clearings near the woods, fields, or near a pond.
A few of the common wildflower blossoms you can eat are Bee balm, Honeysuckle, Violets (Not African Violets), White Clover, Red Clover, Dandelion, Johnny Jump-ups, Wild Onions, Wild Garlic Mustard, Chickweed, Chickory, Dames Rocket, High Bush Cranberry flowers, Kudzu, Wild Strawberry, Wood Sorrel, and Cattails.
For more information on edible and medicinal plants in your yard, check out my articles:
Wild Bee Balm, Monarda fistulosa
Both the wild and the cultivated types of Bee Balm have edible flowers which, like the leaves, taste like a cross between thyme and oregano, though the flowers are much milder.
Learn more about Bee Balm preparations in my article, Bee Balm Oxymel, Tea and Honey.
Honeysuckle, Lonicera periclymenum
If you pick the flowers just as they are opening before the insects can get to them, they will have the nectar and will have the most fragrance and flavor.
Violet, Viola odorata, Viola spp.
Violet flowers can be added to salads, used to decorate cakes–or my favorite way is to infuse them into honey for two weeks.
Mallow, Malva neglecta, Malva Sylvestris
Mallow has many varieties with edible flowers including common mallow, marshmallow, and Rose of Sharon. The blossoms don’t have a lot of flavor, but they are pretty decorating your food.
White Clover, Trifolium repens
The whole flowering tops of the red and white clovers can be made into tea either fresh or dried. Or pluck the petals off and sprinkle them on your salad. If you are patient enough, you can suck the nectar out of each individual petal as I did as a child.
Red Clover, Trifolium pratense\
Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale
The whole dandelion flower top is edible. The yellow part is sweet and delicate and can be used make dandelion wine. The buds are sometimes pickled and the whole flower tops can be battered and fried to make dandelion fritters.
Johnny Jump-ups or Heartsease, Viola tricolor
Johnny Jump-ups can be eaten raw or cooked. They are perfect for serving with cheese or on a charcuterie board, or tossed in soups or used to decorated cakes and cookies.
Wild Onions, Allium canadense L
The blossoms from the wild onions can be used similarly to chive blossoms. Sprinkle them on salads or other foods for a mild onion flavor.
Cattails, Typha angustifolia and Typha latifolia
When the Cattails are brown like the ones shown, they are past the eating stage. When the tops and the bottoms of the cattail are green, they can be boiled and eaten like a vegetable.
Garlic Mustard, Alliaria petiolata
The Garlic Mustard leaves are best before the plant flowers, but once it does have flowers, you can sprinkle the white blossoms on salads, sandwiches, and soups to give a milk garlic-y taste.
Chickweed, Stellaria spp.
I really can’t imagine picking the individual tiny Chickweed flowers alone when the whole plant is edible. The good news is, you can harvest the plant to eat in your salad with the flowers on. I especially like to use the Chickweed on tacos or sandwiches in the spring instead of lettuce.
Chicory, Cichorium intybus
Mildly bitter, these flowers and flower buds are edible, though some prefer to pickle the buds. The flowers don’t stay open after picking, so it may have to be used for a nibble as you walk.
Dame’s Rocket, Hesperis matronalis
Dame’s Rocket smells divine and can be used in salads and fruit salads.
I used to get Dame’s Rocket mixed up with Perennial Phlox until I learned that phlox has five petals while Dame’s Rocket has only four. Also, Perennial Phlox blooms later in the summer while Dame’s Rocket blooms in spring.
High Bush Cranberry, Viburnum trilobum
The large and small blossoms of the High Bush Cranberry can be used in baked goods or made into fritters.
Kudzu, Pueraria montana
Kudzu blossoms have a sweet taste and are often made into jelly, syrup, or wine.
Wild Strawberry Blossom, Fragaria virginiana
I think I would wait for the strawberries to grow on the Wild Strawberry, but if your plants will be mowed over or something, then go ahead and pick the blossoms to garnish your salad.
Yellow Wood Sorrel, Oxalis stricta L.
I almost forgot to add this little yellow flower with a sour taste. The Wood Sorrel flowers and seed pods make such a fun snack to share with children. It’s loaded with vitamin C and might make you pucker from the tartness. You can also sprinkle them on salads or onto lemonade.
Wood Sorrel comes in other colors and all are sour and edible.
Edible Tree Flowers of North America
A few common edible tree blossoms are Linden or American Basswood, Redbud, Orange Blossoms, Lemon or Lime Blossoms, Grapefruit Blossoms, Kumquate Blossoms, Black Locust Flowers, Hawthorn, Magnolia Flowers, and Mimosa or Silk Tree Blossoms.
Linden or American Basswood, Tilia americana
The Linden or Basswood flower is very fragrant and makes a delightful tea. Use the yellow and green leaf-like portion of the flower to make your tea or to infuse in honey.
Redbud, Cercis canadensis
Redbuds are some of the first trees to bloom in my area. The blossoms are fun to sprinkle on salad or fruit salad or to infuse in honey.
Citrus Tree Blossoms, Citrus spp. (Orange, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Kumquat)
The cultivated citrus trees from which we eat oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and kumquats have fragrant and edible flowers delicious cooked in dishes, desserts or infused in honey.
Black Locust, Robinia pseudoacacia
Black Locust flowers smell so good and I read someone describe them as tasting like sweet peas filled with honey. Some take the whole Black Locust flower clusters and better them and fry them to make fritters.
Hawthorn, Crataegus spp.
I have only ever had Hawthorn flowers dried with Hawthorn leaves and made into a tea. It is very healthy for the heart. You can also sprinkle them on your food to decorate it and to add health benefits.
Magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora
The grandiflora Magnolia can have a strong smell. In England some will slice the petals and pickle them in a sweet and sour pickle mixture. Magnolia blossoms are generally eaten cooked.
Mimosa Silk Tree, Albizia julibrissin
Mimosa blossoms make a lovely tea with a mood-lifting effect. You could add them to wine or crystalize them in sugar.
Ways to Eat Flower Blossoms
Most of the flower blossoms have a very mild taste and so can be added to both sweet or savory dishes. Some favorite ways to enjoy delicate edible flowers is to add them to salads, soups, sandwiches, fruit salads, spring rolls, cakes, cookies or simply to garnish your plate. Sturdier flowers can be stuffed, fried and frittered.
1.Flowers are so pretty showing through spring rolls.
2. Float flowers in drinks.
3. You can candy or crystalize the flowers by soaking them in sugar water and letting them dry. Then use them to decorate desserts.
4. Stir blossoms into soups or sprinkle on top as a garnish.
5. Make aromatic blossom into simple syrups to pour over pancakes and the like.
6. The whole flowers of mild-tasting flowers can be frozen into ice cubes to add color to drinks or frozen into an ice ring along with fruit to add to a punch bowl.
7. Decorate cakes and cupcakes with fresh flowers.
8. Sprinkle fresh flowers onto your salad.
9. Decorate cookies with fresh flowers.
10. Stuff large blossoms and saute or batter and fry.
11. Sturdier blossoms can be battered and fried as shown in the video. Squash, Yucca, and Dandelion blossoms are good for this.
How to Harvest Flower Blossoms for Eating
Be sure to pick flowers where you know they are clean and have not been sprayed with pesticides. It’s generally best to pick them when they are dry, so late morning or early afternoon is best, or when the dew has dried from them.
How to Store Edible Flowers
Rinse off the flowers before eating or cooking. You can rinse them and store them in a zip lock back with a damp paper towel inside in the refrigerator for about one week.
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