Yael: Don, are you eating my tulips?
Don: Just having myself a little snack.
Y: Of MY tulips? I brought those in here to brighten the place up, not for you to eat! And who eats flowers anyway?
D: Have you seen that movie, Monsoon Wedding? There's a character who eats marigolds. And the other night at dinner I saw a guy with an orchid on the rim of his drink. The bartender said it was edible. And so I've done some investigating, and it turns out that many flowers are edible.
Y: Like what?
D: Tulips, for instance. And lilacs and pansies and roses. Oh, plenty of flowers are edible.
Y: But why should anyone eat flowers? Do they have any nutritional value or are they delicious?
D: Most people don't eat flowers in large enough quantities to get too much from them nutritionally, but yes, flowers do contain nutrients--some more than others. Rosehips, for instance, are loaded with Vitamin C. In general, pollen is full of protein and tastes bland. Nectar is composed of sugars and some trace minerals, so it's usually sweet.
Y: And the petals?
D: Petals can be bitter, sweet, savory, hot, or bland, you name it. The taste varies from flower to flower. And some petals are good sources of nutrients. Yellow flowers, for example, contain a lot of Vitamin A.
Y: You said SOME flowers are edible. What about the ones that aren't?
D: Other flowers are poisonous. Also, if you show signs of an allergic reaction when you touch a particular flower--say, you develop a rash, then keep that kind of flower away from your plate! Use caution before you start serving up your flower garden for dinner.