Are Flowers Vegetables?
Table of Contents
- Written by Holly Hughes on May 08, 2022
Have you ever been at a restaurant and ordered a salad which, when it comes, is sprinkled with bright flower petals? Have you ever wondered if those petals are safe to eat? Or perhaps you’ve been surprised to find vegetable blossoms on the menu – squash or zucchini flowers stuffed with fillings and served as an appetizer.
Is there such a thing as vegetable flowers? If you’ve ever wondered about this, prepare to have your curiosity satisfied. This article will take you through the difference between flowers and vegetables and if it’s possible to have both.
Are flowers vegetables?
First things first, can flowers be vegetables? Well, something you might be interested to know is that the word ‘vegetable’ isn’t scientific and so, because it’s not a botanical term, is rather subjective.
In fact, it’s a culinary term, based on cooking traditions. In this sense, a vegetable is actually any edible part of a plant that is traditionally used to make savory dishes. Of course, vegetables are also known to make sweet dishes. Think of carrots being used to make carrot cake, rhubarb featuring in pies and crumbles, and even the role of avocados in many mousse-like desserts.
So, now we know how fluid the term ‘vegetable’ actually is, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that flowers do fall under the same category. Any part of a plant that can be eaten – seeds and fruits excepted – are classed as vegetables because they can be safely consumed by humans. This includes bulbs, roots, tubers, stems, flowers, and leaves. After all, most petals themselves are just a modified kind of leaf.
From a botany perspective, flowers are simply a feature of a plant designed to entice pollinators to a specific point where they can fertilize its ovaries. This means that not only are they vegetables – yes, even roses! - but most vegetables grow their own blossoms.
Related post:Easy Roses to Grow
What are flower vegetables?
If looking for a ‘flower vegetables’ definition, it’s very simple. These are a category of vegetables composed of plants of which the blooms are used as food. Examples of these include broccoli, cauliflower, and artichoke.
Do all vegetables produce flowers?
Yes, all vegetables will grow flowers even though many gardeners might never have seen them or be able to identify them. There’s also various reasons as to why these plants produce flowering offshoots.
For some, it’s so that they can set and produce their edible product. This is the case for pumpkins, peas, and beans. If you cut their blooms, you don’t get the food and so it’s important to continue growing them.
For other vegetable plants, they blossom when the weather gets warmer or if left for a long period of time. For these kinds of plants – like broccoli, leeks, or radishes – leaving a couple of plants alone for a second crop of beautiful flowering blooms can be worth it!
It’s important to know which classification your flowering vegetable falls under so you can ensure you have the right requirements to fully enjoy its flowering season.
Examples of flower vegetables
Perhaps the most well-known edible flower is broccoli which, when left to its own devices, can produce enormous and attention-grabbing blossoms. Its relative, cauliflower, will also produce large blooms provided its head isn’t harvested.
In fact, there are so many examples of vegetables that flower, we’ve made this flowering vegetables list:
- Asparagus: Green offshoots topped with delicate yellow blossoms not unlike buttercups.
- Squash blossoms: Popular in several cuisines, squash blossoms are stunning orange, yellow and green-tinged flowers typically stuffed with cheese and herbs and fried,
- Cabbage: A bouquet in themselves, any kind of cabbage will produce wonderfully layered globes of curly, leaf-like flowers in purples, greens and whites.
- Fennel: Another plant whose blooms can be their own arrangement, fennel produces the most striking golden yellow buds.
- Carrot: Greatly contrasting their robust orange color and shape, carrot’s blooms are lacy, white umbels that last for months.
- Garlic chives: With sturdy stems, garlic chives show off dainty white petals clustered together at the stem’s head.
- Orach: An ancient plant with dark burgundy, cloistered blooms that are great for texture and filler in an autumnal bouquet.
- Chinese broccoli (Kai-lan): Faster-growing than regular broccoli, Kai-lan produces white flowers with plenty of side shoots.
- Leeks produce long-lasting, round-headed blossoms in beautiful shades of white, mauve, and purple.
And this is by no means exhaustive! There are so many other kinds of vegetables that produce all manner of stunning blooms in various sizes, shapes and colors.
Now that you know that flowers can be vegetables – and vice versa – you can ensure your vegetable patch or your flower bed is filled to bursting with plants as delicious to eat as they are to look at.
Or, the next time you order a bouquet featuring tulips, roses, or any other number of beautiful blooms from SendFlowers or FromYouFlowers, why not bring their vibrant color to your meal and sprinkle over a salad?
Discover more bouquet options at 1800Flowers.
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