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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - December 01, 2008

From: Fort Worth, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Are flower petals poisonous?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Is it toxic to eat the petals on a flower? Ashley

ANSWER:

Well, yes and no.  Some flowers and flower petals are poisonous. For example, all parts, including the petals of the flower, of all Delphinium species (such as, Delphinium carolinianum (Carolina larkspur)) are highly toxic and may be fatal if eaten. Then, there are other flowers that are regularly eaten and are considered quite tasty and non-toxic.  For example, the flower petals of Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud) are delicious in salads.  The flowers of violets (such as, Viola missouriensis (Missouri violet)) are good in salads and can also be candied and made into jellies or jams.  There are many more edible flowers and many more toxic flowers, so the best rule to follow is:  "Never eat, or even taste, any part of any plant unless you are absolutely sure you know what the plant is and that it is safe to eat."  You can read more about edible native plants in Delena Tull's Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest and you can learn more about poisonous plants in C. R. Hart's Toxic Plants of Texas.

 


Delphinium carolinianum

Cercis canadensis

Viola missouriensis

 

 

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