wild edible plants

Wild Edible Flowers for Food Decoration

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Wild edible flowers are a way to go if you are looking for beautiful and natural food decoration for garnishing your plates. They come in many different colours, shapes and sizes, and can make your dishes look like art pieces.

I love picking flowers for garnishing food in a nearby forest or lawn. These are some of my favourite wild edible flowers for food decoration. 

16 Species of Wild Edible Flowers for Food Decoration

1. Dandelion

Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale L.) are really common to find pretty much anywhere in temperate regions. The whole plant is edible: leaves and flowers are great in salads, young buds can be pickled like capers, and roots are used for making herbal tea. 

Dandelion flowers are a great option if you want to add more colour, flavour and health benefits to your meals. Young flowers have a sweet taste, while mature blossoms can be a bit bitter but tasty and healthy nonetheless.


2. Daisy

Daisy (Bellis perennis L.) is another common edible plant that grows almost everywhere. Just like with dandelions, you can eat both flowers and leaves. Daisies are also used as medicinal plants.

daisy flowers

3. Violet 

Violet (Viola spp.) flowers are another beautiful option for food decoration. Their mild taste makes them perfect for decorating not only savoury dishes but also cakes and other sweets. 

violet flowers

4. Borage

Borage or starflower (Borago officinalis L.) flowers are great for decorating any kind of food and drinks. Their beautiful blue colour and star-like shape will make your salads, desserts or cocktails look absolutely amazing.

5. Speedwell

Most species of speedwell (Veronica spp.) are edible. American speedwell (Veronica americana Schwein. ex Benth.) and Persian speedwell (Veronica persica L.) are often used in salads. Their cute blue flowers can be a beautiful decoration for your plates. 

6. Hawthorn

Hawthorn species (Crataegus spp.) are most famous for their medicinal use – the tea made from its fruits is used as a heart tonic. Hawthorn flower buds and young flowers are edible and look beautiful as a food garnish.

7. Clover

Both red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) and white clover (Trifolium repens L.) are edible. Leaves can be used in salads and flowers are often used for making teas or jellies. 

I also really enjoy the taste of raw clover blossoms and love to add them to my dishes as a tasty decoration.

8. Coralroot bittercress

Coralroot bittercress (Cardamine bulbifera L.) is most famous for its spicy black bulbils that can be used in salads and sandwiches. Flowers can also be eaten and have a similar sharp flavour typical to the mustard plant family.

coralroot bittercress

9. Dead nettles

Despite their common name, dead nettles (Lamium spp.) are actually not closely related to stinging nettles. Unlike the stinging nettle, dead nettle species are completely harmless to touch. They belong to the Lamiaceae family – the same as sage, rosemary, mint and lavender.

Edible dead nettle species, such as purple dead nettle (Lamium purpureum L.) and (Lamium maculatum L.), can be eaten raw. Their beautiful magenta and purple flowers are sweet and tasty. The whole plant is good for eating, but the top with younger leaves and flowers is the tastiest.

dead nettle plants

10. Herb Robert

Even though Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum L.) is not that well-known as an edible plant, it is safe to eat and its beautiful pink flowers can be added to salads or other savoury dishes. 

herb robert

11. Wall-rocket

Wall-rockets (Diplotaxis spp.) are plant species from the Brassicaceae (mustard/cabbage) family that have a taste similar to arugula. Their strong flavour makes them a great addition to salads.

12. Garlic mustard

Another edible wild plant from the mustard family is garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata (M. Bieb.) Cavara et Grande). It is native to Europe and parts of Asia. In the United States, it is an invasive species.

garlic mustard plant

The whole garlic mustard plant is edible, nutritious and tasty in salads. The taste is similar to garlic, hence its name.

garlic mustard wild plant

13. Sowthistle

Sowthistles (Sonchus oleraceus L. 1753 not Wall. 1831 and Sonchus asper (L.) Hill 1769) are edible wild species that are also easy to find and recognise. Their young leaves are great in salads or cooked. Flowers can be used as food garnish.

If you are interested in cooking with sowthistle, check out this recipe for delicious sowthistle fritters.

sowthistle wild edible plant

14. Shepherd’s purse

Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik.) is a medicinal and edible plant. Its tops with flowers and heart-shaped fruits are a beautiful addition to savoury dishes. 

The whole plant tastes a bit spicy, which can be great for adding some extra flavour to your dishes.

shepherd's purse plant

15. Chickweed

This cute little plant that grows everywhere is actually a nutritious herb great for salads. I love to eat the whole chickweed (Stellaria media (L.) Vill.) plant, and its tiny flowers are a lovely decoration for various dishes.

16. Wild garlic

Wild garlic (Allium ursinum L.) leaves are well-known for their aromatic flavour which makes them great for pestos and salads. Flowers are also edible and super tasty, so feel free to use them for garnishing salads, soups, sandwiches and other savoury dishes.

Wild garlic and chickweed flowers and shepherd’s purse fruits as food decoration.

Combining flavours

Some edible plant species such as violets, clovers and dead nettles have fragrant, sweet-tasting flowers that are great for decorating sweets. Even the more neutral-tasting flowers from the rose family, such as hawthorn or wild cherry are good for that purpose.

However, spicy plants and flowers such as wild garlic or any species from the Brassicaceae (cabbage) family (bittercress, shepherd’s purse, wild arugula…) have a flavour that is too strong to combine with desserts.

wild edible flowers

Even though their flowers look gentle and beautiful, it is a better option to use them in salads, sandwiches and other types of savoury dishes. 

Cute, but not for dinner

This should come without saying, I’ve actually seen many poisonous things in people’s Insta plates over the years. So, here it is: when using flowers for food decoration, no matter if wild or cultivated, make sure that you always use edible ones.

With so many edible plant species and enough basic information about plants online, there is no need to do what probably killed many ancient humans (or, who knows, maybe they were smarter than us).

I hope nobody would use some of the most poisonous plants such as aconitum, digitalis or deadly nightshade in their food… But here are some inedible plants that I actually saw on people’s plates:

Creeping buttercup and other buttercups

The creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens L.) is a beautiful but poisonous flowering plant from the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family. For some reason, it keeps ending up in people’s salads. It even used to be featured on a sticker design for a really famous hazelnut spread brand. 

None of the buttercup species are edible. Some are less poisonous than others, but all of them do contain substances that are toxic to humans and animals.

Buttercup. Beautiful but not edible.

Lesser celandine 

All species of Ranunculus contain poisonous substances, but I will mention lesser celandine or pilewort (Ranunculus ficaria L.) separately because it looks a bit different from other buttercup species with its many thin petals. 

Also poisonous, not for salads.

Lesser celandine – another pretty plant that is NOT edible.

Wood anemone

Wood anemones (Anemone nemorosa L.) are also not edible. Just like the other species from the Ranunculaceae family, they contain chemicals that can cause irritation if ingested. 

Wood anemone. A beautiful early-blooming plant that is also – not edible.


Despite being famous for its medicinal properties and its use in cough remedies, English-ivy (Hedera helix L.) should not be used on plates with food. The whole plant is poisonous on ingestion.

Poisonous ivy leaves should not be used as food decoration.

Plants are beautiful and amazing, but they are also tiny factories of chemicals. Some plants are edible for humans, but most of them are not. Be careful and only forage for those edible species that you are sure you can recognise.

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