The Plants We Eat: Flowers


If eating flowers presents visions of the pansy hors d’oeuvres on the Iowa State Extension calendar, we eat much more than that! After all, there’s a reason why we call it “cauliflower!” The mild flavor of cauliflower makes is very versatile, even as a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour. It also subs for other high carbohydrate grains like rice, and even potatoes.

The tops of broccoli are also flower buds. It is more nutritious than cauliflower due to the chlorophyll that gives it the bright green color. (with steamed broccoli)

When I prepare broccoli, I cut off the florets, peel the stem and cut it into small pieces. I bring them to boil and put the florets on top, then boil for 10 minutes, which tenderizes the stems and steams the florets. They come out bright green and tender-crisp.

Other flowers, like the artichoke bud, can be versatile.

Although most lilies are toxic, daylily flowers are edible for humans (and safe for dogs, but not cats). (Recipe for fried daylily buds) (with recipes)


Be careful which flowers you eat, and how you prepare them!

If you are interested in trying those pansy hors d’oeuvres, here’s a recipe: