Easy Balloon Arches

Cake Decorating with Edible Flowers

I adapted this chart from one published by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service – Basically theirs had several more flowers listed, but these are the only ones that would be suitable for cake.  I mean,you don’t want to put onion flowers on your cake, or something whose taste is described as bitter, or strong.  I eliminated all the ones that weren’t sweet.  At the bottom of the chart is a list of books that the University recommends, to learn more about edible flowers.

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
Bee balm Monarda didyma Minty, sweet, hot Wide range Perennial
Chamomile Chamaemelum noblis Sweet apple White Perennial; drink tea in moderation — contains thuaone; ragweed sufferers may be allergic to chamomile
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
Fennel Foeniculum vulgare Mildly anise Yellow-green Normally grown as an annual
Hibiscus Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Mildly citrus Rose, 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
Mint Mentha spp. Minty Purple Perennial; each type of mint has its own unique flavor
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
Sweet woodruff Galium odoratum Sweet, nutty, vanilla White Can have a blood thinning effect if eaten in large amounts
Violet Viola odorata Sweet, perfumed Purple, white Perennial; use candied or fresh

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