Discover how diverse the collection of edible plants is and how beneficial to our health they can be.
Story by Jordan Matthis
Health highlights: Its purple flowers have been known to aid digestive issues, like gas and nausea.
Just eat it: These aromatic flowers offer a pleasant flavor with citrus notes. Add them to baked goods, teas, sorbets and more.
Fun fact: Lavender symbolizes devotion, which makes it a popular choice for flower arrangements and wedding bouquets.
Health highlights: The calendula has antimicrobial properties to help prevent infections and rashes and heal injuries to body tissues. It also is known to provide antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Just eat it: With its bitter flavor, the calendula petals and leaves can be tossed into a leafy salad or can be used as a garnish and seasoning. Also it can be brewed into tea or oil.
Fun fact: In the petals of a calendula, there are compounds called flavonoids, which are known to have antidiabetic, anticancer and neuroprotective effects.
Health highlights: This often-weeded flower is known for its wide variety of health benefits. It is packed with minerals, vitamins and fiber and is low in calories.
Just eat it: Dandelions can be eaten raw or can be tossed in a salad. This flower also can be breaded and fried and can be made into jelly or wine.
Fun fact: The stems, petals, leaves and roots of the plant all can be consumed.
Health highlights: Hibiscus can be known to support heart health by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It is rich in vitamin C.
Just eat it: This flower can be made into relishes, jams, salads and brewed to make tea. When brewed, the flower turns bright red and produces a tart and sour flavor.
Fun fact: The hibiscus flower can be utilized in a variety of ways: natural dye or food coloring, turned into a paste and used as a natural shampoo, and used within cultures as a symbol for availability for marriage.
Health highlights: While being low in calories, fennel is known to be rich with nutrients that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as antifungal and antiviral effects when consumed.
Just eat it: You can enjoy all aspects of fennel with its mildly sweet flavor and crunchy texture when cooked or eaten raw.
Fun fact: You can steep fennel seeds, leaves and flowers to brew a tea that aids in digestion, heartburn, bloating, loss of appetite and colic in infants.
Health highlights: The chrysanthemum is utilized to combat chest pain, reduce high blood pressure, diabetes, headaches and dizziness. This flower increases blood circulation to the heart and improves metabolism when consumed.
Just eat it: Like many other flowers, the chrysanthemum can be brewed into a tea. The fresh leaves and the raw stalks of a young chrysanthemum can be tossed within salads or prepared for soups. Also chrysanthemum greens can be steamed and boiled, which gives them a sweet and semi-crunchy flavor.
Fun fact: The chrysanthemum symbolizes joy, happiness and love or grief, depending on culture and the color of the flower.
Health highlights: The sage flower contains a variety of minerals and vitamins: vitamins K, A, C, E, magnesium, zinc and copper. It also supports oral health, memory and brain health, protects against certain cancers and reduces blood sugar levels and bad LDL cholesterol.
Just eat it: Fresh or dried sage flowers can be used as an herb, to make teas or used as a garnish.
Fun fact: Sage is part of the mint family with lavender, rosemary, basil, thyme and oregano.
Health highlights: The marigold has a multitude of health benefits. It treats eczema, allergies, arthritis or oily skin, as well as helps fight against cancer, eye diseases, ear infections and more.
Just eat it: These flowers are known as an extract for food coloring but can be eaten raw or even cooked within soups, desserts or savory dishes and brewed into drinks and teas.
Fun fact: In Mexico, this flower is known as cempasuchil and is a big element within the Day of The Dead celebrations.
Health highlights: Violets have a high dose of vitamins A and C and other beneficial nutrients that help aid digestive-tract issues and help improve the immune system.
Just eat it: The leaves and petals of this flower are edible, raw or cooked. It can be tossed within a salad that brings a semi-sweet flavor with a decorative touch. Violets also can be used within ice cream, syrups and sauces.
Fun fact: Violets were Napoleon Bonaparte’s signature flower, and his supporters used this flower to showcase their loyalty to him.
Health highlights: The funnel-shaped flower is known to provide a vast amount of minerals, health-promoting compounds with antioxidants and reduce inflammatory conditions.
Just eat it: This flower gives a savory taste that showcases a peppery, spicy profile to the palate when eaten raw or cooked. The nasturtium often is served as an elegant garnish on top of pastries, cakes and salads.
Fun fact: The nasturtium seed was used as a substitute for pepper in World War II.
Health highlights: For centuries chamomile has been known as a health benefit to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality.
Just eat it: The aromatic flavor of this flower is grounded and earthy when cooked, but when used in its raw form, it has a slightly sweet flavor. This flower is mostly used for chamomile tea and syrups and in baked goods, smoothies and desserts.
Fun fact: Chamomile has been used as an herbal medicine dating back to ancient civilizations.
Health highlights: The marjoram has a variety of compounds derived from it that are known to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant elements. This compound aids with hormonal health, anxiety relief and antimicrobial activity.
Just eat it: This flower can be brewed into a tea and used as a spice for a variety of dishes, from roasted vegetables to meat dishes.
Fun Fact: Marjoram is said to keep away evil spirits.
Health highlights: The delicate star-shaped flower can be used for minor ailments such as a cough and sore throat.
Just eat it: With its semi-sweet flavor, it can be eaten raw or with a fresh salad or cooked within soups and sauces and within fillings.
Fun fact: The borage starflower is a favorite plant for honey bees, bumble bees and tiny native bees.
Health highlights: The zucchini blossom promotes healthy skin and eyesight with its rich source of vitamin C and potassium, which are beneficial for promoting muscle growth and good digestion.
Just eat it: The flavor palate for a zucchini blossom brings a tasty peppery flavor to any dish. This flower can be fried, chopped and stuffed.
Fun fact: The zucchini blossom has more potassium than a banana.
Health highlights: The basil flowers bring a mild basil flavor and bitterness to a dish but provide anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help fight arthritis, heart disease and digestive issues.
Just eat it: This flower can be sprinkled on top of spring or summer salads and can be a high-end garnish for your meal. It also can be dried to be used as a seasoning, brewed within teas and in a potpourri.
Fun fact: You can just add a basil sprig to room-temperature water and place it in direct sunlight for it to sprout flower buds that can be used as garnishes.
Health highlights: WIth over 200 different species of honeysuckle, their flowers are known to reduce a variety of skin inflammatory conditions.
Just eat it: Honeysuckle is one of the most common flowers used within the culinary world as a flavorful syrup within teas, yogurt and sorbets and as a sugar replacement.
Fun fact: This flower is one of the most powerful elements within Chinese medicine.
Health highlights: The rose can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
Just eat it: The rose petal has an aromatic, semi-sweet floral flavor and can be eaten raw or infused into salads or dried and added to granola, or even put into beverages, jams and jellies.
Fun fact: A rule of thumb when picking the best rose to eat is one that smells the best. The better the smell, the better it will taste.
Health highlights: Pansies are known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help with arthritis, asthma and high blood pressure.
Just eat it: This flower can be used in a variety of items with its fresh but mild floral flavor. It can be used as a decorative element and garnish or used in a salad due to its colorful petals.
Fun fact: Pansy or pansies is derived from the French word, pensee, which means reflection or thought, and is one of the oldest cultivated flowers.
Health highlights: The health benefits of a butterfly pea are that it helps with weight loss, produces better blood sugar control and increases skin and hair health with its rich antioxidants.
Just eat it: Like other flowers, the butterfly pea can be used for a variety of herbal teas and drinks that bring an earthy taste that is similar to matcha but not as bitter. Also this flower can be steeped in milk for drinks and rice dishes and turned into a fine powder.
Fun fact: This flower is used within cosmetic products.