Lavender Hyssop Agastache Foeniculum Edible Wildflowers

Edible Wildflowers: Grow it! Eat it!

Ontario’s Wildflower Farm director, Miriam Goldberger, has joined us today to share her passion for taming wildflowers, which is in fact the title of her book as well! In Taming Wildflowers, Miriam tackles the myths surrounding wildflowers – as unkempt, uncontrollable, weeds. Her goal is to introduce gardeners to a list of well-behaved wildflowers that conform to container, garden, and landscape. What better way to start than with edible wildflowers? This post marks the next in our Grow it! Eat it! series where the mysteries surrounding how to cook those garden goodies is revealed.

How to Grow and Use Edible Wildflowers from the Grow it! Eat it! Series (Custom)

An Edible Wildflower Garden

Vegetable gardens have become increasingly popular over the last few years. I have one and I put a lot of work into it for the season. Of course, everything tastes that much better coming from my garden but it is a heck of a lot of work. What if I told you that I eat a number of my perennial wildflowers? It’s true! I use them in teas, salads, or even just on their own while I’m out strolling through my gardens.

Here are 6 of my favourite and how to use them.

Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis)Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) Edible Wildflowers

I prefer to use the Spiderwort flowers as colourful, cucumber-flavoured additions to a leafy green salad. In doing research for my book, I also found out that other parts of the Spiderwort plant are eaten, although less frequently. The leaves can be used in salads or made into a tea and the seeds can be roasted and ground into a fine powder.

Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) Edible Wildflowers

I love to use Bergamot’s pretty purple flowers to make myself a nice cup of minty tea. They can be used dried or fresh for this and can also be added into salads and eaten raw. The leaves are edible, making great additions to salads.

Lavender Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)Lavender Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) Edible Wildflowers

Lavender Hyssop’s alter ego is Licorice Hyssop and for good reason. I use the leaves and flowers together to make a minty licorice tea. Steep 2-3 tablespoons of bruised fresh leaves and several flowers in two cups of boiled water for 5 minutes. Can be enjoyed hot or iced.

Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)

Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) Edible Wildflowers

Another plant that can be eaten in its entirety. The seeds can be used like poppy seeds, decorating breads and cookies. The bright yellow flowers are great in salads and the leaves can be used cooked or raw. Be mindful though, the taste is fairly strong.

Nodding Wild Onion (Allium cernuum)

Nodding Wild Onion (Allium cernuum) Edible Wildflowers

As its name implies, the Nodding Wild Onion is a member of the onion family. The entire plant is edible and has a strong onion smell when bruised. I find that cooking the onion removes the strong flavours and leaves a more mild flavour behind.

White Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

White Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) Edible Wildflowers

Yarrow’s flavour is strong and bitter; it’s not very good raw but makes a great spice when the leaves are dried and crushed. I like to add it to meat dishes.

For growing information (including how and where to sow), check out Wildflower Farm’s seed collection. Consider adding a few of these native, perennial wildflower species to your veggie and herb garden this year. You’ll attract a wealth of pollinators and the best part? You don’t have to replant every year!Taming Wildflowers by Miriam Goldberger

You can find more of Miriam’s passion for wildflowers in her book, Taming Wildflowers.

  1. Morgan
    MorganMarch 10,14

    Oh my goodness I have so much spiderwort in my backyard, I will have to try adding it to salads. I never knew that the flower in the second picture was bergamot – I just know that it grew all over in the fields behind our house and that it was endangered at that point. Now my mil has it in her flower garden and I will have to get some for tea. Thanks!

  2. Holly (Your Gardening Friend)
    Holly (Your Gardening Friend)March 11,14

    I’m just starting to get into herbal teas so this is great to know. I love having beautiful flowers around my yard, and to know that they can also be eaten is wonderful.

    Since I’m at the beginning of this edible wildflowers journey, I appreciate learning about these specific plants.

    I’ll be sure to share this post.

    Thanks.

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