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Wednesday - February 25, 2009

From: New Braunfels, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Cake decorations with flowers
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Can I decorate a cake with bluebonnets, lavender or mountain laurel blooms?


Could you put blossoms of any of these flowers right down on the icing, perhaps even offering them as edible decorations? No, we wouldn't recommend it. Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) is only available for a short time in the year, and the blossoms would probably fall apart if you tried to separate them into individual pieces for your decorations. And we're not sure the blossoms would survive being washed. Lavender (lavandula) is native to the Meditteranean area, and not to North America. We know that it is sometimes used in cooking, although not really considered one of the culinary herbs.  Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) is not only considered to have some toxicity in all parts of the plant, but the bright red berries are extremely poisonous. We would certainly hesitate to have the blooms of such a plant even in a bouquet in water nearby where it might be tasted by a child. 

In short, rather than attempt to use fragile blooms as a baking decoration, we would recommend a piped-on picture in colored icing, and leave the flowers blooming on the plants where they belong. 

Sophora secundiflora

Lupinus texensis




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