In this resource we have tried to include only flowers we think are truly edible. Meaning they either are beautiful and have a mild flavor or distinct flavors that contribute to a dish beyond merely being eye catching. There are definitely other flowers out there that are non toxic but not recommended for eating. Meaning in small quantities they won’t hurt you but they also are not particularly good for you or tasty.
It never ceases to amaze how many times you can see a beautiful plate of food garnished with flowers and foliage that are inedible. This is an opportunity for the well informed grower to help their clients as well as themselves. Folks who don’t know plants may assume there is no harm in plating with flowers of dubious origin because, “Nobody eats the garnish, right?” A dangerous mindset when you consider the liability involved if someone chooses to eat a plant that you (or your customer) put on the plate and gets ill.
In the warnings we have noted that some of these plants do contain compounds that can cause intestinal distress or other health issues in large quantities. For our purposes this includes oxalic acids and alkaloids, both of which are often found in high concentrations in some medicines.
All members of the sorrel family contain oxalic acid as do many other food crops. Oxalic acid should be avoided by those with certain medical conditions such as gout, and in high concentrations, can cause light sensitivity. Alkaloids are a compound found in many foods, like tomatoes, but can be present in higher concentrations in the flower.
Over consumption of any alkaloid can cause health issues but the amount present in the flowers we include here would require consuming a lot to cause issues. When it comes to eating the flowers this is just a reminder that many edible flowers should be used sparingly. It can help to think of edible flowers in terms of plant based medicines, a little bit may be good for you but too much of anything can be hard on your system.