Are Magnolia Flowers Edible? 5 Edible Magnolia Flowers & Recipes.

It is without a doubt the popular magnolia flowers are up there with some of the most captivating flowers to look at. But are all magnolia flowers edible?

Here are a few KNOWN varieties of magnolia flowers that are edible:

  • Magnolia x Soulangeana (Saucer Magnolia)
  • Magnolia Grandiflora (Southern Magnolia)
  • Magnolia Coco (Coconut Magnolia)
  • Magnolia Liliflora (Lily Magnolia)
  • Kobus Magnolia (Magnolia kobus)
Are All Magnolia Flowers Edible

There are no known reports of magnolia flowers being toxic to humans (or pets). However, with over 200 different varieties of magnolia around the world, there have been no extensive studies to confirm if all varieties are edible. With that said, we would recommend exercising caution before running out to your magnolia tree in the garden and chowing down on a few petals.

We will discuss these edible magnolia flowers below in more detail.

We’ll also discuss different ways to use magnolia flowers around the house and in your cooking.

So get comfortable, grab yourself a magnolia petal tea (yes it is one of the many ways to use magnolia flowers), and let’s jump into it.

How Do Magnolia Blossoms Taste? Edibles List of Magnolia Flowers

Edible Magnolia Flowers

Magnolia x Soulangeana (Saucer Magnolia)

The Magnolia x Soulangeana (aka the Chinese Magnolia) is one of the more popular varieties of deciduous magnolia trees that put on a grand display of purple and white magnolia flowers shaped like a tulip. Their flowers are edible and offer an acidic taste that can be tart, with a slow heat (like new ginger root).

Magnolia Grandiflora (Southern Magnolia)

Another well known variety, the Magnolia Grandiflora is a resident magnolia tree often seen in the southeastern US and in streets of southeast states of Australia, like Sydney and Melbourne. The trees are often very tall and grand. And when in full bloom, the flowers polka dot the majestic trees with white blushes. Like the magnolia x soulangeana, it offers a subtle flavor and heat that can be used to spice up a fresh salad.

Magnolia Coco (Coconut Magnolia)

Sporting their cute little white and cream ball-shaped blooms, the Magnolia Coco flower also belongs to the edible flower group. The flower petals are not as large as other magnolia flowers, however what they lack in size, they more than make up for in a sweet and delicate taste.

Magnolia Liliflora (Wood Orchid or Lily Magnolia)

Is naturally found on the forest edges in Eastern and Central China. Now, they have been cultivated and adapted to be able to be grown in household gardens and can be found around the world. The flowers on the Magnolia Liliflora are deep purple, with pink highlights around the edges, that pepper the branches with color and beauty. They offer a slight ginger heat, with cardamon undertones.

Kobus Magnolia (Magnolia kobus)

Depart from the usual rounded petal shaped appearance of other magnolia flowers. Instead, magnolia kobus flowers have thinner, white petals that look like miniature swords. The flowers actually appear in early spring before the dark-green leaves begin to show, making for a spectacular display of blooms to herald the warmer weather. The flowers offer a citrus tone with hints of lavender, that lends itself to display on cakes or salads.

Other Edible Magnolia Flowers include:

  • Magnolia Hypoleuca
  • Magnolia Mexicana
  • Magnolia Pterocarpa
  • Magnoila Denudata

Are All Magnolia Flowers Edible?

As we mentioned earlier, there are no known reports of magnolia flowers being toxic to humans. We have discussed a few of our favorite edible magnolia flowers above. However, for a comprehensive list of confirmed edible flowers, check out this list by Robin Harford’s Eatweeds articles.

How to use Magnolias Flowers in Food and Drinks

Magnolia Petals with food

Just because something is edible, does not mean it is palatable.

Magnolia flowers fall into this category to an extent. They are more of a supporting hero in dishes, rather than the feature or main course. The only exception being Magnolia Petal Tea, which is a delightful soothing tea we enjoy sipping with our favorite book.

That isn’t to say you should completely disregard magnolia flowers. They are beautiful, and can help to serve as a garnish or add subtle hints of flavor to elevate salads.

Let’s get into ways to use magnolia flowers in your food and drinks.

Magnolia Syrup Recipe

magnolia syrup

Another interesting way to use magnolia flowers is to make a syrup from the petals.

To make magnolia syrup follow these steps:

  1. Collect your magnolia flowers from your tree or shrub when the flowers are in bloom, depending on the magnolia variety. You will need a total of 20g of weight in petals. We aim for flowers that are still on the tree, to avoid any contaminated petals.
  2. Remove the magnolia petals from their ovaries of the flower, and discard the ovaries in the compost.
  3. Heat 150 g of your preferred sugar in 150 ml of filtered water over a low to medium heat. Until the sugar granules are fully dissolved. We like to use brown golden sugar for a richer sweetness.
  4. Add in your magnolia petals and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Make sure to give it a gentle stir every now and again.
  5. Sieve out any impurities and allow to cool in a sterilized bottle or jar. Store in the fridge for anywhere between 6 – 12 months depending on how diligent you are with keeping it clear of any contaminants.

The kids love to pour the syrup over some vanilla ice cream on a summer evening in the garden.

Magnolia Petal Tea

Magnolia Petal Tea

Is a truly luxurious way to enjoy magnolia flowers, and is a personal favorite of the team. There’s also a uniquely romantic feeling of engaging in the foraging experience.

Just a heads-up, developing an authentic magnolia petal tea takes time and patience.

This tea is actually used as a traditional herbal remedy in Asian cultures to relieve sinus problems and headaches.

IMPORTANT – We stress we are not providing any medical advice at the Garden Bench Top, so please consult a medical professional if you are drinking this tea for medical purposes.

To create magnolia petal tea follow these steps:

  1. Collect your magnolia flowers and unfurl the petals, so they are curling outwards. This helps to maintain the flowers’ integrity as they dry, and prevents the petals from tearing.
  2. Use clean parchment paper or baking paper and lay out your flowers to dry in a shaded area. Ensure the space is not susceptible to strong winds or drafts, as this will blow your flowers around. It is important, however, to make sure there is sufficient air flow / ventilation to prevent any mold from growing.
  3. Once dry, store your dried magnolia flowers in an airtight container.
  4. When you are ready for magnolia petal tea, place 4 – 6 flowers in a standard 2-cup tea pot and fill with boiling water. Allow to steep for 10 – 12 minutes before consuming. You should see the flowers begin to plump up as they absorb water, which is always a delight to witness.
  5. Sweeten your magnolia petal tea to taste, and enjoy.

Here is a quick tutorial by 슐랭TV-T&Dessert. It is in Korean, however the visuals are easy enough to follow.

Magnolia Petals in Salad

Another ingenious way to enjoy magnolia flowers is as a garnish with fresh salads.

Instead of using the entire flower, we will be preparing the flower petals and including them raw in the salad. The idea is to lift the flavors in the salad with the spice hits of ginger and cardamon, as well as giving an aesthetic appeal.

To use magnolia petals in salad follow these steps:

  1. Collect one or two flowers from your magnolia tree / shrub.
  2. Remove the magnolia petals from their ovaries of the flower, and discard the ovaries in the compost.
  3. Rinse your petals thoroughly under cold water. If the water is too warm, the petals will begin to turn brown.
  4. Place one of two whole petals aside for decoration. Slice the remaining petals into thin strips – we like to go as far as to julienne the petals (very fine strips), which helps to soften the taste. Depending on the variety of magnolia flowers, you can also cut them in half if you prefer shorter strips in your salad.
  5. Toss the julienne strips of magnolia petals through your salad, placing the whole petals on the side for presentation.

Pickled Magnolia Petals

The final method of eating magnolia flowers we’ll cover today is pickling magnolia petals. In fact, many home gardeners have said they remind them of the pickled ginger that often accompanies sushi on the side.

To pickle magnolia flower petals follow these steps:

  1. Collect approximately 170 g of flower petals (we usually collect around 25 – 30 blooms)
  2. De-petal the flowers and carefully rinse them under cool water.
  3. Grab 2 standard mason jars (holds about a pint each) and place a clove of garlic and one whole star anise in each jar. Place the clean flower petals into the jars evenly.
  4. Heat 2 cups of rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons of salt and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Make sure to stir continuously until all the granules have dissolved.
  5. Pour the mixture into the mason jars until full, seal and refrigerate overnight.

That’s it. You have successfully pickled magnolia petals, ready to be eaten in a sandwich, as a substitute for ginger with sushi, or as a garnish on salad.

Final Thoughts on Are All Magnolia Flowers Edible?

As far as we know, magnolia flowers are not toxic to humans, and are edible. However, they are generally treated as a side or garnish, rather than the main event in dishes.

They offer a subtle heat to dishes, with a ginger and cardamon spice taste that can lift salads and sandwiches.

We enjoy drinking them in magnolia petal tea, as well as fresh (or pickled) in salads.

If you are looking to do some foraging from your magnolia tree in your own garden, make sure you are confident the variety you have has been proven to be edible.

Enjoy and happy gardening.