Poisonous Flowers: Do Not Eat Them

Don't Let Creative Plating Put You in the Hospital

Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna)
Francois De Heel/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Some flowers literally look good enough to eat: Nasturtium, borage, violets and other blooms have found their way to the table at restaurants and even in the homes of adventurous cooks. But there are some flowers that simply must remain in the vase: They're poisonous! And they don't all come with warning names like "deadly nightshade." Irises, calla lillies, sweet peas and potato flowers are all lovely to look at, common at weddings or in the garden (or at garden weddings), and completely poisonous.

This chart is a list of the most commonly-known poisonous plants and flowers to avoid while selecting edible flowers. It is not complete, so just because you do not see it listed here, do not assume it is safe to eat. Be sure you know exactly what you choose to consume. For more info on edible flowers, refer to my feature on Incredible Edible Flowers and Edible Flowers Chart with links to full-color photos and flavor info.

Non-Edible Flowers Chart

Common NameBotanical Name
Aconite (wolfsbane, monkhood)Aconitum spp.
Anemone (windflower)Anemone spp.
AnthuriumAnthurium spp.
Atamasco lilyZephyranthes spp.
Autumn crocusColchicum autumnale
AzaleaAzalea spp. (Rhododendron spp.)
BaneberryActaea spp.
Black locustRobinia pseudo-acacia
BloodrootSanguinaria canadensis
BoxwoodBuxus spp.
Burning bush (strawberry bush, spindle tree, wahoo)Euonymus spp
ButtercupRanunculus spp.
Butterfly weedAsclepias spp.
CaladiumCaladium spp.
Calla (calla lily)Calla palustris (Zantedeschia aethiopica)
Carolina jasmine (yellow jessamine)Gelsemium sempervirens
Castor beanRicinus communis
Cherry laurelPrunus caroliniana
Chinaberry (bead tree)Melia azedarach
Christmas roseHelleborus niger
ClematisClematis spp.
DaffodilNarcissus spp.
Deadly nightshade (belladonna)Atropoa belladona
Death cammas (black snakeroot)Zigadenus spp.
Delphinium (larkspur)Delphinium spp.
DogbaneApocynum androsaemifolium
DumbcaneDieffenbachia spp.
Elephant earsColocasia antiquorum
False helleboreVeratrum viride
Four o'clockMirabills jalapa
FoxgloveDigitalis purpurea
Giant elephant earAlocasia spp.
Gloriosa lilyGlonosa superba
Golden chain tree (laburnum)Labunum anagryroides
GoldensealHydrastis canadensis
Heavenly bamboo (nandina)Nandinaa domestica
Henbane (black henbane)Hyoscyamus niger
Horse chestnut (Ohio buckeye)Aesculus spp.
Horse nettleSolanum spp.
HyacinthHyacinthus orientalis
Hyacinth beanDolicbos lab lab
HydrangeaHydrangea spp.
IrisIris spp.
Ivy (English ivy)Hedera helix
Jack-in-the-pulpitArisaemia triphyllum
Jerusalem cherrySolanum pseudocapsicum
Jessamine (jasmine)Cestrum spp.
Jetbead (jetberry)Rhodotypos tetrapetala
Jimson weedDatura spp (Brugmansia spp.)
JonquilNarcissus spp.
Kentucky coffee treeGymnocladus dioica
LantanaLantana camara
Leopard's baneArnica montana
Lily of the valleyConvallaria majalis
Lobelia (cardinal flower, Indian tobacco)Lobelia spp.
Marsh marigoldCaltha palustris
May apple (mandrake)Podophyllum peltatum
Mescal bean (Texas mountain laurel, frijo lillo)Sophora secundiflora
MistletoePhoradendron spp.
Morning gloryIpomoea violacea
Mountain laurelKalmia latifolia
NightshadeSolanum spp.
OleanderNerium oleander
Periwinkle (myrtle, vinca)Vinca spp.
PhilodendronPhilodendron spp. (Monstera spp.)
PittosporumPittosporum spp.
Poison hemlockConium maculatum
PotatoSolanum tuberosum
PrivetLigustrum spp.
RhododendronRhododendron spp.
Rock poppy (celandyne)Chelidonium majus
ScheffleraSchefflera spp.
Spring adonisAdonis vernalis
SpurgeEuphorbia spp.
Star of BethlehemOrnithogalum umbellatum
Sweet peaLathyrus spp.
TobaccoNicotiana tabacum
Trumpet flower (chalice vine)Solandra spp.
Water hemlockCicuta maculata
Wild cherry (black cherry)Prunus serotina
WisteriaWisteria spp.
Yellow allamandaAllamanda cathartica
Yellow oleander (tiger apple, be still tree, lucky nut)Thevetia peruviana
Yesterday-today-and-tomorrowBrunfelsia spp.
 

 

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