3 simple steps to lose weight as fast as possible. Read now

Edible flowers

11 edible flowers with potential health benefits

Though not all flowers are safe to eat, edible flowers offer flavor, color and maybe even health benefits. Here are the 11 best edible flowers.

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts, and fact-checked by experts.
We look at both sides of the argument and strive to be objective, unbiased, and honest.
11 edible flowers with potential health benefits
Last updated on September 22, 2023, and last reviewed by an expert on February 7, 2023.

Floral centerpieces on the dinner table are a classic and timeless tradition, but flowers can also appear on your dinner plate.

11 edible flowers with potential health benefits

Edible flowers are used in many different cuisine styles and can be found on menus worldwide.

Not all flowers are safe to eat, but those that are can offer a unique burst of flavor and color to many dishes, including salads, sauces, beverages and entrées. Some of them may even offer health benefits.

Here are 11 edible flowers with potential health benefits.

In this article

1. Hibiscus

Dry hibiscus tea

Hibiscus plants produce large, ornate blossoms that usually grow in tropical and subtropical climates worldwide. Hundreds of hibiscus species exist, but the most popular edible variety is roselle or Hibiscus sabdariffa.

Hibiscus flowers can grow as large as 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter and are found in various colors — including red, white, yellow and shades of pink.

Although sometimes grown for strictly ornamental purposes, hibiscus is also well known for its culinary and medicinal applications.

You can eat the flower straight from the plant, but it is usually used for tea, relishes, jam or salads. Many cultures drink hibiscus tea for its medicinal properties.

Some studies indicate that hibiscus may help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, although more research is needed to understand better how hibiscus can support heart health.

The tea is bright red and has a tart, somewhat sour flavor. It may be served hot but is particularly refreshing over ice on a hot summer day.

Summary: Hibiscus flowers are large, colorful blossoms that grow in warm climates. The flowers can be eaten raw but are often used to make herbal tea. Some research suggests that hibiscus may positively impact cholesterol and blood pressure.

2. Dandelion

dandelions in springtime

Dandelions are best known as stubborn garden weeds. However, they happen to double as highly nutritious edible flowers.

Dandelions have small blossoms — roughly 1–1.5 inches (2–4 cm) in diameter — with many tiny, bright-yellow petals. They supply various plant compounds known to have powerful antioxidant properties.

7 clever substitutes for coriander seeds and cilantro leaves
Suggested read: 7 clever substitutes for coriander seeds and cilantro leaves

Interestingly, the flowers are not the only part of dandelion that can be eaten. In fact, every part of this so-called weed can be enjoyed — including its roots, stems and leaves.

There are endless options for eating dandelions. The flowers can be eaten raw, alone or tossed into a salad. They may be breaded and fried or used to make jelly and wine.

The roots are often steeped to make tea, while the greens may be consumed raw as a salad or a sandwich topping. They can also be cooked in stews, casseroles or any other dish that calls for hearty greens.

Summary: Dandelions are considered weeds but double as a highly nutritious edible flowers. The edible raw or cooked flowers can be used to make various foods like jelly and wine.

3. Lavender

Lavender flowers in a basket

Lavender is a woody, floral herb originally grown in northern Africa and the Mediterranean. The violet flowers are very small but plentiful.

Lavender is probably best known for its distinctive fragrance, acclaimed for its calming effects.

The combination of color and aroma makes lavender a desirable addition to various foods, including baked goods, infused syrups, liqueurs, herbal teas, dry spice rubs and herb mixtures.

Its flavor pairs well with sweet and savory ingredients, including citrus, berries, rosemary, sage, thyme and chocolate.

When cooking with lavender, it’s best to start with a small amount and increase slowly until you achieve the desired flavor, as it can quickly become overpowering.

Suggested read: Is squash a fruit or vegetable?

Summary: Lavender is a violet flower admired for its distinct aroma. It may be eaten fresh or dried and pairs well with various ingredients, such as citrus, berries and savory herbs.

4. Honeysuckle

Chinese honeysuckle

Almost 200 honeysuckle species exist, but the Japanese and woodbine varieties are the most common. The fragrant blossoms, typically light yellow or white, hold nectar that can be eaten straight from the flower.

Honeysuckle has been vital to traditional Chinese medicine practices for centuries.

The flowers and their extracts are ingested or applied to the skin to treat various inflammatory conditions. However, its efficacy as a medicinal therapy for humans remains scientifically unproven.

In the culinary world, honeysuckle is often used to make tea or a fragrant, flavorful syrup.

You can use the syrup to sweeten iced tea, lemonade, yogurt and sorbet or as a sugar replacement in quick bread recipes.

While the honeysuckle flower and its nectar are perfectly safe to eat, note that the berries of some varieties may be toxic if ingested in large quantities.

Summary: Honeysuckle is a fragrant flower known for its distinct aroma, sweet flavor and traditional medicinal uses. It can be eaten straight from the plant or made into an infused syrup that can complement many dishes.

5. Nasturtium

Nasturtium flowers and leaves pattern

Nasturtium is a culinary favorite because of its brightly colored blossoms and unique, savory flavor.

Both the leaves and flowers of nasturtium are edible and may be enjoyed cooked or raw. They feature a peppery, slightly spicy flavor profile, although the blossoms are milder than the leaves.

The funnel-shaped flowers are typically bright orange, red or yellow. They make a beautiful garnish for cakes, pastries and salads.

The leaves are round and resemble small lily pads. They’re tender enough to be used as salad greens or blended into pesto.

Suggested read: 18 flavorful salt alternatives

Nasturtium is a versatile and eye-catching ingredient and nutritious — containing various minerals and health-promoting compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Summary: Nasturtium is a brightly colored flower known for its savory, peppery flavor. Its blossoms and leaves are nutritious and can be prepared in various ways.

6. Borage

borage flowers, starflower

Borage, or starflower, is an herb that produces delicate, star-shaped flowers. The blossoms are usually blue but may also be white or pink.

In herbal medicine, borage treats minor ailments, such as sore throat or cough. However, human research to support its efficacy as a medical therapy is scarce.

In the kitchen, there is no shortage of ways to put borage to use, as both the flowers and leaves are edible. The flowers are often described as having a slightly sweet flavor reminiscent of cucumber and honey.

The flowers may be eaten fresh in a salad or as a garnish for desserts and cocktails — or they may be cooked and added to soups, sauces or stuffed pasta fillings. Borage can also be served as a stand-alone vegetable side dish.

Summary: Borage is an herb that produces small, blue, star-shaped flowers. Used in traditional medicine and culinary practices, it makes for a beautiful garnish for salads or cocktails and can be cooked into soups and sauces.

7. Purslane

Purslane salad with yogurt in a bowl on a wooden background

Purslane is a succulent that produces tiny, yellow flowers and thick, fleshy leaves — both edible and may be eaten cooked or raw.

Historically, purslane was considered no more valuable than a garden weed. However, this little plant has recently soared in popularity due to its rich nutrient content.

It’s filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but its biggest claim to nutritional fame is its omega-3 fat content. Purslane provides more omega-3s than almost any other vegetable of its kind.

The flowers and leaves of purslane can be served raw in many salads and sandwiches. They may also be sautéed or steamed with other vegetables as a side dish or added to your favorite soups. You may even consider trying this plant battered and fried.

Suggested read: The 11 best fruits for weight loss

Summary: Purslane is a nutrient-rich succulent whose flowers and leaves may be eaten cooked or raw. It provides a wide array of vitamins and minerals — especially omega-3s.

8. Rose

dried rose buds

Over 150 species of roses are available in almost any imaginable size and color. The best part is that they’re all edible. However, roses don’t all taste the same.

A good rule of thumb for choosing a flavorful rose is that if it smells pleasant, it’ll probably taste good, too. Only eat the petals, though, because the leaves and stems don’t make a very palatable snack.

Roses petals have a very aromatic, floral and slightly sweet flavor.

They can be eaten raw, mixed into fruit or green salads, or dried and added to granola or mixed herbs.

Fresh rose petals can also be muddled and added to a liquid to create rose-infused beverages, jams and jellies. Chopped rose petals added to sugar or butter give a unique zing to ordinary ingredients.

Like many other edible flowers, roses may offer health benefits. Some research suggests that certain compounds in roses may play a role in reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation.

Summary: All roses are edible, but the ones with the sweetest fragrance likely have the most flavor. Rose petals can be used to infuse liquids with flavor or added to sugar or butter to boost your favorite recipes.

9. Squash blossom

zucchini or squash blossom

If you’ve ever grown summer squash in your garden, you’re probably aware of its delicate flowers. However, you may not know these flowers are just as edible as the squash.

Although these blossoms form on all types of summer squash, the most popular come from zucchini. Zucchini flowers are bright yellow with a long, rounded bell shape.

These flowers can be eaten raw as a garnish or chopped and added to salads. Another delicious option if you’re feeling indulgent is to stuff the blossoms with herbed cheeses and fry or bake them until the delicate petals become crispy.

6 benefits of bitter melon (bitter gourd) and its extract
Suggested read: 6 benefits of bitter melon (bitter gourd) and its extract

You don’t have to sacrifice your squash harvest to enjoy eating the flowers. Only the female blossoms can turn into squash, so stick to eating the male flowers to ensure a full harvest.

The male flowers have a long, thin stem and typically grow around the outer edges of the plant. Female flowers grow closer to the plant’s center and have a small, bulbous fruit at the blossom’s base where it meets the stem.

Summary: The flowers that bloom on summer squash can be eaten raw, stuffed or fried. If you’re picking straight from a garden, eat the male flowers, so the squash plants still grow.

10. Pansy

different pansy flowers

Already quite pleasant to look at, pansies are equally pleasant to eat.

Pansies have small blossoms measuring about 2–3 inches (5–8 cm) in diameter. They exist in many colors, but purple, blue and yellow hues are the most common. They have five overlapping petals with a dark center area resembling an ink stain.

Typically, pansies have a mild, fresh and lightly floral flavor — although there is some flavor variation depending on the type.

Because pansies can have many color variations, they make an excellent decorative addition to desserts, such as pastries, cakes and cookies. You can candy the petals before adding them to your dish for extra flair.

For a simpler preparation, pansies can be finely chopped and added to a simple green salad for a pop of color and texture.

Aside from being a unique addition to a meal, pansies are also a rich source of several potent plant compounds known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Summary: Although commonly used for ornamental purposes, pansies make a colorful and nutritious addition to various desserts and salads.

11. Chamomile

Dry chamomile flowers

Chamomile is a floral herb used in cooking and traditional medicine for centuries.

Medicinally, chamomile is often consumed to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality.

The flowers closely resemble daisies, albeit much smaller. They lend a slightly sweet, earthy flavor to the foods they’re cooked with.

Suggested read: 14 healthy high-fiber, low-carb foods

Most recipes call for heating the flowers in a liquid to extract their flavors and bioactive compounds. The leaves and flowers are usually dried first but can be used fresh.

While most often utilized for chamomile tea, the blossoms can also make syrups or other infusions for baked goods, smoothies or desserts.

Summary: Chamomile flowers are widely used medicinally to reduce anxiety and improve sleep. They have an earthy, slightly sweet flavor and may be used to make tea or other infusions.


Although you may be accustomed to seeing flowers only as decoration, you can add many of them to your diet for a pop of color and texture.

Additionally, many edible flowers are nutritious and contain potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can support your health.

You can serve them raw, cook them with vegetables, fry them as a snack or sprinkle them on your desserts.

Regardless of your culinary skill, adding edible flowers to your next meal is easy.

Share this article: Facebook Pinterest WhatsApp Twitter / X Email

More articles you might like

People who are reading “11 edible flowers with potential health benefits” also love these articles:


Browse all articles