Edible Flowers

Our gardens are full of flowers that are bursting with color, interesting shapes and fragrances.  But, some of them may actually also be edible.  See the 10 Commandments of Edible Flowers below and check the list to see if you have any edible flowers growing in your yard.


1. Eat only those flowers you can positively identify as safe and edible. Learn the Latin or botanical names, which are universally accepted (common names may vary from region to region).

2. Do not assume that restaurants and caterers always know which flowers are edible. Just
because it is on your plate does not mean it is edible (see Rule #1).

3. Eat only those flowers that have been grown organically.

4. Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries, garden centers or public gardens (see Rule #3).

5. Do not eat flowers if you have hay fever, asthma or allergies.

6. Do not eat flowers picked from the side of heavily trafficked roads.

7. Eat only the petals of flowers; always remove and discard the pistils and stamens before eating. (Except for the tiny flowers like thyme where it would be like performing microsurgery to remove the pistils and stamens.)

8. Not all sweet-smelling flowers are edible; some are poisonous.

9. Eat only the flowers of the recommended plants; other parts may be toxic or inedible, even though the flower may be delicious.

10. Gradually introduce flowers into your diet – one at a time and in small quantities, the way you would new food to a baby.

Nasturtium flower


Anise hyssop                Agastache foeniculum – Licorice

Apple                           Malus spp. – Floral

Arugula                        Eruca vesicaria sativa- Peppery

Banana                         Musa spp. – Sweet

Basil                             Ocimum basilicum – Herbal

Bee balm                      Monarda didyma – Spicy/sweet

Borage                         Borago officinalis – Cucumber

Broccoli                       Brassica oleracea – Spicy

Calendula                     Calendula officinalis – Slightly bitter

Canary creeper             Tropaeolum peregrinum – Peppery

Chamomile                   Anthemis nobilis – Apple

Chicory                        Cichorium intybus- Slightly bitter

Chives                          Allium schoenoprasum – Oniony

Chrysanthemum            Dendranthema grandiflorum – Mild to slightly bitter

Coriander (Cilantro)     Coriandrum sativum – Herbal

Dandelion                     Taraxacum officinale -Sweet-slightly bitter

Daylily                          Hemerocallis spp. – Sweet to vegetal

Dianthus                       Dianthus caryophyllus – Sweet, clove

Dill                               Anethum graveolens – Herbal

Elderberry                    Sambucus Canadensis – Sweet

English daisy                 Bellis perennis – Slightly bitter

Fennel                          Foeniculum vulgare – Herbal

Garlic chives                 Allium tuberosum- Garlicky

Hibiscus                       Hibiscus rosa-sinensis – Mild citrus

Hollyhock                     Alcea rosea – Mild nutty

Honeysuckle                 Lonicera japonica – Sweet floral

Hyssop                         Hyssopus officinalis – Strong herbal

Japanese plum              Prunus ‘Mume’- Sweet almond

Jasmine                        Jasminum sambac & J. officinale – Sweet floral

Johnny-jump-up           Viola tricolor – Slightly minty

Kale                             Brassica oleracea, Acephala gr. – Spicy

Lavender                      Lavandula spp. – Strong floral

Lemon                          Citrus limon- Sweet citrus

Lemon verbena             Aloysia triphylla – Sweet citrus

Lilac                             Syringa spp. – Floral

Linden                          Tilia spp. – Sweet

Marjoram                     Origanum vulgare – Herbal

Mint                             Mentha spp. – Minty

Mustard                       Brassica juncea – Spicy

Nasturtium                    Tropaeolum majus – Peppery

Nodding onion              Allium cernuum – Oniony

Ocotillo                        Fouquieria splendens – Sweet cranberry

Okra                            Abelmoschus aesculentus – Mild, sweet

Orange                         Citrus sinensis – Sweet citrus

Oregano                       Origanum spp. – Herbal

Pansy                           Viola x wittrockiana – Slight minty

Pea                              Pisum sativum – Pea-like

Pineapple guava            Feijoa sellowiana – Sweet tropical

Pineapple sage              Salvia elegans – Spicy sweet

Radish                          Raphanus sativus- Peppery

Red clover                    Trifolium pretense – Sweet

Redbud                        Cercis Canadensis – Pea-like

Rose                            Rosa spp. – Floral

Rose of Sharon             Hibiscus syriacus – Mild

Roselle                         Hibiscus sabdariffa – Mild citrus

Rosemary                     Rosmarinus officinalis – Herbal

Runner bean                 Phaseolus coccineus – Bean-like

Safflower                      Carthamus tinctorius – Bitter

Sage                             Salvia officinalis – Herbal

Scented geranium         Pelargonium spp. – Floral

Shungiku                      Chrysanthemum coronarium – Slightly bitter

Signet marigold             Tagetes signata (T. tenuifolia) – Citrusy tarragon

Society garlic                Tulbaghia violacea – Sweet garlicky

Squash                         Curcubita pepo spp. – Vegetal

Summer savory             Satureja hortensis – Herbal

Sunflower                     Helianthus annuus – Bittersweet

Sweet woodruff            Galium odoratum – Fresh, sweet

Thyme                          Thymus spp. – Herbal

Tuberous begonia         Begonia x tuberhybrida- Citrus

Tulip                             Tulipa spp. – Bean- or pea-like

Violet                           Viola odorata – Sweet floral

Winter savory               Satureja Montana – Herbal

Yucca                          Yucca spp. – Sweet (must be cooked)

Flower Canapes

Origin:  Cathy Wilkinson Barash is author of numerous garden books including Edible Flowers:   From Garden to Palate.


New Bug on the Block – Kudzu Bug

In 2009 the kudzu bug, also called the globular stinkbug, Megacopta cribraria, was first observed in Georgia, which appears to be when and where it was introduced to the US.  These small stinkbugs are native to Southeast Asia and feed primarily on Kudzu.  They however also feed on soybeans, one of Georgia’s agricultural crops.  I first noticed them when I looked at my fig tree in late March this year and found it literally covered in these tiny bugs.  I sent a photo to Marlene at the Extension office as I could not find them in my insect book.

Kudzu Bug

Over a period of a few weeks the bugs slowly left my fig tree and probably started feeding on Kudzu as it steadily greened up.  They obviously prefer legumes to figs.  But, once my string beans and soybean plants started growing the bugs were back.  They seem to favor the stems as I have not seen them on the bean pods or the green figs.

Kudzu Bugs on fig tree

I control them by knocking them off the plants into a cup of soapy water.  This is my main defense against all insects that harm my garden.  Adult stinkbugs in general are tough to get rid of with pesticides and the soapy water approach is most satisfying and effective.

Be on the lookout for them this fall when they start looking for a place to overwinter in your house.  As they are so small they can craw through cracks in the walls, foundation and around windows and will take up residence in the walls of your house.  If you find them inside your home do not squash them as they truly are stinkbugs and have a foul odor.

So, if you find a small, greenish grey bug, just smaller than a ladybug, you have seen the Southeast’s most recently arrived insect pest.

Ed Saulvester’s work with Habitat for Humanity

Ed Saulvester has been part of the Home Dedication program with Habitat for Humanity for many, many years, teaching each ‘soon-to-be’ homeowner about taking care of their landscape.  He also incorporated into his class the subject of how to care and the proper use of their garden equipment since many homeowners he had noticed were single moms who never had a yard to work with before.  This course is part of each family’s tutorial that is required for them to take before they can occupy their new homes.

Ed Saulvester looking at 1st phase of condos built in 2009.

He also attends each dedication ceremony for the honored family when they officially receive the keys to their finished house and awards them with the Southern Living Garden Book as a gift from the Gwinnett Master Gardener group.

Ed was honored in 2009 with an award representing the Master Gardeners of Gwinnett organization as a “Home Builder Sponsor”. The award is presently posted in the Extension office.  That was when he participated in the 100th Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity Home Dedication for the Haidari/Haqiqi family, pictured below.

Afghan family receives keys to their new condo.

This has been Ed’s very special Master Gardener project since he took the course back in 2000.  And, yes all of his volunteer hard work qualified him for the Lifetime Georgia Master Gardener honor.  So, he’s been doing this for well over 10 years!

Kathy Parent remembers back when Ed first started working with the Gwinnett Habitat group.  He was the coordinator for all of the outside landscaping for each home.  He arranged for the purchase or mainly donations of plant material and turf and whatever other items were needed for each individual home then.  Kathy remembers one home was a “Women’s Build House”, which was interesting to work on.  They could only have women and children volunteers helping out with the project and Kathy helped Ed work with the volunteer crew since he couldn’t be part of it that day when the landscaping was to go in.  They had lots of volunteers, but actually had to sneak a man in to help with the tiller equipment for the flowerbeds since no-one in the group could handle the machine!

All of the men were right next door working on another house at the time, so they had men available to help them for that particular job.  They looked for the one with the bigger muscles!  The job was completed by planting foundation shrubs, rolling out and laying sod and planting flowers to make the place look presentable for their soon to be dedication.  The single mom whose house they worked on was very grateful for how the landscape turned out that day.  It made the team feel really good, and that’s what it’s all about.  No wonder Ed enjoys working on this project!  Thanks Ed.

Ed Saulvester presenting new family with gardening book.

Article and photos provided by Kathy Parent.

2011 Garden Tour – Sue Shaw

One of the gardens on the May 21, 2011 Garden Tour

Sue Shaw’s front yard consists of a rose garden and azalea lined driveway leading to a front courtyard with hellebores, ferns, heuchera, macrophyla hydrangeas and callas.

The greenhouse shade garden is home to Annabelle and lacecap hydrangeas as well as trillium, ferns and other shade plants.  The backyard and pool area is a tropical Shangri-La with 25′ windmill palm and separate Japanese garden and sitting area.

Greenhouse Shade Garden