Several questions about what plants are the best for attracting pollinators and other beneficial insects. Variety is the key but two of especially good choices are almond verbena and white Gregg’s mistflower. Another group of plants that work in this category are the edible flowering plants. Here’s an up of that review.
Eating flowers has been done throughout the world for centuries. Roses and orange flowers are commonly used in Middle Eastern and Persian foods; lilies are used in China; cherry blossoms and chrysanthemums are used in Japan; lavender is a favorite in England and France; and the Mediterranean countries enjoy saffron in their food. Of course, not all flowers are edible -- some are poisonous either naturally or from the use of toxic chemical pesticides. Only eat flowers grown organically. Flowers from florists, nurseries and traditional garden centers should not be eaten. If your garden center is organic, eat away. After any plants have been under the organic program in your garden, they should be good to eat.
RULES FOR EDIBLE FLOWERS OTHER PLANT PARTS
1. Not all flowers are edible. Some are poisonous. Learn the difference.
2. Eat flowers only when you are positive they are edible and non-toxic.
3. Eat only flowers that have been grown organically.
4. Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries or garden centers unless you know they’ve been maintained organically.
5. Do not eat flowers if you have hay fever, asthma or allergies.
6. Do not eat flowers growing on the side of the road.
7. Remove pistils and stamens from flowers before eating. Eat only the petals of the larger flowers.
8. Introduce flowers into your diet the way you would new foods to a baby - one at a time in small quantities.
NOTE: Pregnant women should avoid all strong herbs and no plant should be ingested in excess by anyone at anytime. Edible flowers can be used to enhance food at breakfast, lunch and dinner. They can also be used in teas. Here are some of the best edible flower choices and uses.
Apricot - fruit and edible flower petals
Citrus – edible flowers and fruit
Crabapple - fruit and edible flower petals
Fig - fruit
Ginkgo - tea from leaves edible nuts
Jujube - fruit
Linden - tea from flowers
Mexican plum – fruit and flowers
Mulberry - fruit
Peach - fruit and edible flower petals
Pear - fruit and edible flower petals
Pecan - edible nuts
Persimmon - fruit
Plum - fruit and edible flowers
Redbud - edible flowers
Rusty blackhaw viburnum - edible berries
Walnut - edible nuts
Witch hazel - tea from leaves
Althea - edible flowers
Bay - tea and food seasoning from leaves
Germander - freshens air indoors
Pomegranate - edible fruit
Turk’s cap - flowers and fruit for tea
Daylilies - edible flowers
Dianthus - edible flowers
Ginger - food, seasoning and tea from roots
Hibiscus - edible flowers
Johnny jump-ups - edible flowers
Nasturtium - edible leaves
Pansies - edible flowers
Peanuts - edible nuts
Purslane and portulaca - edible leaves
Sunflower - edible seeds and flower petals
Gourds - dippers and bird houses
Grapes – edible fruit and leaves
Luffa - edible flowers, shoots and fruits, sponges from the dried fruit
Malabar spinach - edible foliage
Passion flower - edible fruit, tea from leaves
Creeping thyme - teas and food flavoring
Gotu kola - tea from leaves
Mints - food and teas from flowers and leaves
Oregano - teas and food flavoring
Violets - leaves in salads and tea from flowers and leaves
Blackberries - edible berries, foliage for tea
Chives - edible foliage and flowers
Garlic - edible flowers, greens and cloves
Hibiscus - edible flowers
Hoja santa - leaves for cooking with meats
Horsemint - insect repellent and tea
Jerusalem artichoke - roots for food
Lavender - teas and insect repellent
Monarda - edible flowers and leaves for teas
Oxalis - leaves & flowers
Peppers - edible fruit
Purple coneflower - all plant parts for teas
Rosemary - food and tea from leaves and flowers
Roses - petals and hips for tea
Salvia - edible flowers, foliage for teas
Sweet marigold - food, flavoring and tea from leaves and flowers
Tansy - chopped and crushed foliage repels ants
Turk’s cap - flowers & fruit for tea
DISCLAIMER: Don’t eat edible wild plants based on what you see in a book or here on the Internet. Have a qualified instructor show you the plants and don't eat them until the instructor shows you how to prepare them. Know that you may be allergic to a plant that someone else can eat without any problem. And of course avoid plant that may have been sprayed with pesticides.