Edible Flowers

This chart is a work-in-progress unwittingly collaborative research project by Jozseph Schultz, Amy Barclay de Tolly and Home Cooking Guide Peggy Trowbridge. My favorite resource for edible plants is Cornucopia II by Steve Facciola. When I find my copy, I'll be up-dating this chart. The links will take you to full color photos of the specific flowers to help with identification, but please don't depend solely on these photos. Be sure you know exactly what you choose to consume. If you are allergy-prone, it's probably best to forego consumption of flowers. For more information, refer to the poison control people

Call 1–800–222–1222 if you think someone has been poisoned or if you have questions about poisons. Specially trained nurses, pharmacists, and doctors will provide emergency treatment advice for all kinds of poison exposures, as well as on poison prevention. All services are free and confidential. This is the American Association of Poison Control Centers nationwide number for reaching the 62 poison control centers in the United States, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. This number is routed to the nearest local poison center based on the area code and exchange of the caller.

Edible Flowers
Common Name Botanical Name Comments
AngelicaAngelica archangelicaMay be skin allergen to some individuals. Good with fish and the stems are especially popular candied. Tastes like: celery-flavored. More info here.
Anise HyssopAgastache foeniculumTastes like: sweet, anise-like, licorice
AppleMalus speciesEat in moderation; may contain cyanide precursors. Tastes like: delicate floral flavor
ArugulaEruca vesicariaTastes like: nutty, spicy, peppery flavor
BasilOcimum basilicumTastes like: different varieties have different milder flavors of the corresponding leaves. Tastes like: lemon, mint. More info here.
Bee BalmMonarda speciesUsed in place of bergamot to make a tea with a flavor similar to Earl Grey Tea. More info here.
BorageBorago officinalisTaste like: light cucumber flavor. More info here.
BurnetSanguisorba minorTastes like: faint cucumber flavor, very mild. More info here.
Calendula*Calendula officinalisTastes like: poor man's saffron, spicy, tangy, peppery, adds a golden hue to foods
CarnationDianthus caryophyllus (aka Dianthus)Tastes like: spicy, peppery, clove-like
Chamomile*Chamaemelum nobileTastes like: faint apple flavor, good as a tea
Chicory*Cichorium intybusBuds can be pickled.
Chives: GardenAllium schoenoprasumTastes like: mild onion flavor. More info here.
Chives: GarlicAllium tuberosumTastes like: garlicky flavor
Chrysanthemum: Garland*Chrysanthemum coronariumTastes like: slight to bitter flavor, pungent
Citrus: LemonCitrus limonTastes like: waxy, pronounced flavor, use sparingly as an edible garnish, good for making citrus waters
CloverTrifolium speciesRaw flowerheads can be difficult to digest.
CorianderCoriander sativumPungent. A prime ingredient in salsa and many Latino and Oriental dishes. Tastes like: Some palates detect a disagreeable soapy flavor while others adore it. More info here.
Cornflower*Centaurea cynaus (aka Bachelor's Buttons)Tastes like: sweet to spicy, clove-like
Dandelion*Taraxacum officinalisTastes like: very young buds fried in butter taste similar to mushrooms. Makes a potent wine.
Day LilyHemerocallis speciesMany Lilies (Lillium species) contain alkaloids and are NOT edible. Daylillies may act as a laxative. Tastes like: sweet, crunchy, like a crisp lettuce leaf, faintly like chestnuts or beans
DillAnthum graveolensMore info here.
English Daisy*Bellis perennisTastes like: tangy, leafy
FennelFoeniculum vulgareTastes like: sweet, licorice flavor. More info here.
FuchsiaFuchsia X hybridaTastes like: slightly acidic
GardeniaGardenia jasminoidesTastes like: light, sweet flavor
Gladiolus*Gladiolus sppTastes like: similar to lettuce
HibiscusHibiscus rosa-sinensisTastes like: slightly acidic, boiled makes a nice beverage
HollyhockAlcea roseaTastes like: very bland, nondescript flavor
Honeysuckle: JapaneseLonicera japonicaBerries are highly poisonous. Do not eat them!
HyssopHyssopus officinalisShould be avoided by pregnant women and by those with hypertension and epilepsy.
ImpatiensImpatiens walleranaTastes like: very bland, nondescript flavor
Jasmine: ArabianJasminum sambacTastes like: delicate sweet flavor, used for teas.
Johnny-Jump-UpViola tricolorContains saponins and may be toxic in large amounts. Tastes like: sweet to bland flavor
LavenderLavendula speciesLavender oil may be poisenous. More Info. Tastes like: floral, slightly perfumey flavor
Lemon VerbenaAloysia triphyllaTastes like: lemony flavor, usually steeped for tea
LilacSyringa vulgarisTastes like: lemony, floral, pungent
Mallow: CommonMalva sylrestrisTastes like: sweet, delicate flavor
Marigold: SignetTagetes tenuifolia (aka T. signata)Tastes like: spicy to bitter
MarjoramOriganum majoranaMore info here.
MintMentha speciesMore info here.
MustardBrassica speciesEating in large amounts may cause red skin blotches. More info here.
NasturtiumTropaeolum majusBuds are often pickled and used like capers. Tastes like: sweet, mildly pungent, peppery flavor
OkraAbelmoschus aesculentus
(Hibiscus esculentus)
Tastes like: similar to squash blossoms
PansyViola X wittrockianaTastes like: very mild sweet to tart flavor
PeaPisum speciesFlowering ornamental sweet peas are poisonous.
Pineapple GuavaFeijoa sellowianaTastes like: similar to the ripe fruit of the plant, flavorful
PrimrosePrimula vulgarisBirdseye Primrose (P. farinosa) causes contact dermatitis. Tastes like: bland to sweet flavor
RadishRaphanus sativusTastes like: milder, sweeter version of the more familiar radish heat
RedbudCercis canadensisTastes like: mildly sweet
RoseRosa rugosa or R. gallica officinalisTastes like: sweet, aromatic flavor, stronger fragrance produces a stronger flavor. Be sure to remove the bitter white portion of the petals. Rose hips are also edible (see Rose Hips Recipes).
RosemaryRosmarinus officinalisTastes like: pine-like, sweet, savory. More info here
Runner BeanPhaseolus coccineusTastes like: nectar, bean-like
Safflower*Carthamus tinctoriusAnother "poor man's saffron" without the pungent aroma or strong flavor of the real thing
SageSalvia officinalisSage should not be eaten in large amounts over a long period of time. Tastes like: varies by type. More info here.
Savory: SummerSatureja hortensisMore info here.
Scented GeraniumPelargonium speciesCitronella variety may not be edible. Tastes like: varies with differing varieties from lemon to mint. More info here.
SnapdragonAntirrhinum majusTastes like: bland to bitter flavor
Society GarlicTulbaghia violaceaTastes like: a very mild garlic flavor
Squash BlossomCucurbita pepo species (aka Zucchini Blossom)Tastes like: sweet, nectar flavor. More info here.
Sunflower*Helianthus annusTastes like: leafy, slightly bitter. Lightly steam petals to lessen bitterness. Unopened flower buds can be steamed like artichokes.
ThymeThymus vulgarisTastes like: lemon, adds a nice light scent. More info here.
Tuberous BegoniaBegonia X tuberosaONLY HYBRIDs are edible. The flowers and stems contain oxalic acid and should not be consumed by individuals suffering from gout, kidneystones, or rheumatism. Further, the flower should be eaten in strick moderation. Tastes like: crisp, sour, lemony
VioletViola speciesTastes like: sweet, nectar
YuccaYucca speciesOnly the petals are edible. Other parts contain saponin, which is poisonous. Large amounts may be harmful. Tastes like: crunchy, fresh flavor
Flowers to Avoid Some flowers in particular to be avoided (but not a complete list) are: aconite, azalea, crocus, daffodil, foxglove, oleander, rhododendron, jack-in-the-pulpit, lily of the valley, and wisteria. See a more complete list.
*Only the petals of these composite flowers are edible. The pollen of composite flowers is highly allergenic and may cause reactions in sensitive individuals. Sufferers of asthma, ragweed, and hayfever should not consume composite flowers, and may have extreme allergies to ingesting any flowers at all.

Disclaimer: The authors have thoroughly researched all the aforementioned edible flowers. However, individuals consuming the flowers, plants, or derivatives listed here do so entirely at their own risk. The authors cannot be held responsible for any adverse reaction to the flowers.