Quantcast

5 Ornamental Plants You Didn’t Know Were Edible

Food

Petri Oeschger / Moment / Getty Images

Food gardens can be beautiful — a cherry tree in full bloom, the mesmerizing foliage of trout back lettuce — but purely ornamental gardens can also be edible.


You might be surprised at how many of the plants in your flower border have distinct culinary properties.

1. Daylily

Sauté the unopened flower buds in salt and oil and serve as hors d'oeuvres or pickle them. Enjoy the open flowers fresh in salads or dried and stirred into soups. The tubers can be prepared as you would potatoes and turnips. Even the leaves are tender and tasty, but only in spring, when they're just emerging from the ground. Make sure you know how to identify the plant — some types of true lilies (which daylilies resemble but are not related to) are highly toxic.

2. Dogwood

All dogwoods bear brightly colored berries, and some are edible. Cornelian cherry dogwood (Cornus mas) bears small red fruit that tastes like tart cherry and is commonly consumed in Turkey, among other countries, often as preserves or as a flavoring for drinks. Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) bears round red fruit that is sweet enough to be eaten fresh. Berries on other dogwoods aren't toxic (at worst, they will give you a stomachache), but they aren't tasty.

3. Hosta

This distant relative of asparagus is considered a delicacy in some Asian countries. The leaf shoots are tender when they emerge from the ground in spring and can be served raw in salads or as a steamed vegetable. Later in the season, they can be a bit tough, but they are still edible when cooked thoroughly in a soup or stew. The elegant white flowers of hostas are also edible.

4. Viola

Viola flowers, which include both pansies and violets, have a slightly sweet flavor and make an attractive addition to salads and deserts. Their foliage is also edible, raw or cooked. They're most tender in spring, and some species are tastier than others, so be sure to experiment.

5. Fuchsia

These stunning pendulous flowers, often seen in hanging baskets, are totally edible, as is the fruit that follows them. Fuchsia produces an elongated berry that's midway in size between a blueberry and a grape. The flavor varies depending on the variety, but some are quite tasty. Eat them fresh or blend them in smoothies and desserts.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Yulia Lisitsa / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Brianna Elliott, RD

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body.

It is the major component of connective tissues that make up several body parts, including tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles.

Read More
Greenpeace activists unfurl banners after building a wood and card 'oil pipeline' outside the Canadian High Commission, Canada House, to protest against the Trudeau government's plans to build an oil pipeline in British Colombia on April 18, 2018 in London. Chris J Ratcliffe / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

In an open letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, 42 Nobel laureates implored the federal government to "act with the moral clarity required" to tackle the global climate crisis and stop Teck Resources' proposed Frontier tar sands mine.

Read More
Sponsored
Mapping Urban Heat through Portland State University / video

Concrete and asphalt absorb the sun's energy. So when a heat wave strikes, city neighborhoods with few trees and lots of black pavement can get hotter than other areas — a lot hotter.

Read More
Pexels

By Ryan Raman, MS, RD

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, meaning your body can't produce it. Yet, it has many roles and has been linked to impressive health benefits.

Read More
The Rio San Antonio, in the headwaters basin of the Rio Grande in New Mexico, will lose federal protections under a new rule. Bob Wick / BLM California

By Tara Lohan

The Santa Fe River starts high in the forests of New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo mountains and flows 46 miles to the Rio Grande. Along the way it plays important roles for wildlife, irrigation, recreation and other cultural uses, and provides 40 percent of the water supply for the city of Santa Fe's 85,000 residents.

Read More