Are orchids edible?

Answer: The blooms of all orchids are considered safe for consumption, but some species can irritate the stomach. The vanilla bean or pod is considered the world’s only edible fruit-bearing orchid. The genus Dendrobia is also commonly used as a food ingredient and garnish. As with any raw product, be sure to thoroughly wash it prior to consumption.Cultures in Africa, Asia, and Australia have eaten different parts of the orchid plant for hundreds of years, if not more, and the plant has also been used medicinally in many places.Soft Cane Dendrobians are used in stir fry dishes, in sauce recipes, and boiled for tea in many Asian countries. In Thailand, Dendrobian flowers are dipped in batter and deep-fried. In Europe, many chefs garnish cakes and desserts with beautiful orchid petals. Hawaiians have been making salad dishes and sugar-coated orchid candies for decades. Orchids are becoming a popular garnish to drinks served in upscale restaurants, as well as offering a burst of color to salads and lending their unique flavor to cuisine sauces. The flavor depends on the genus of orchid used and also what part of the plant is being consumed. Often, orchid petals are described as having a fresh, crisp flavor that is similar to endive or watercress.There are also several other types of edible flowers genus’ including pansy blossoms, rose petals, nasturtiums, marigolds, calendulas, violas, camellias, dahlias to name a few. To learn more, see the ATTRA publication Edible Flowers, available at