• <h4 class="dechead">On One Hand: Carnation Petals are Edible

    According to The Culinary Cafe's Edible Flower List, the petals of a carnation are safe to eat. (Ref. 1.) They may be added to salads and other dishes as an ingredient, and are safe to use as a colorful garnish. Upscale restaurants use carnations and other edible flowers to offer a variety of complex flavors that compliment and enhance many recipes.

    On the Other: The Leaves are Toxic

    The leaves and stalk of a carnation are toxic to people and animals. (Refs. 2, 3.) Though the level of toxicity is considered to be low, if enough is ingested it will cause gastrointestinal upset and may cause nervous disorders. No part of a carnation is toxic enough to be fatal to humans.

    Bottom Line

    Carnation petals enhance presentation and add a complexity of flavors for the diner. However, the leaves and stems should be discarded due to their toxicity and potential to cause illness.


    Culinary Cafe's Edible Flowers

    2001. Soper, Howard. "Poisonous Plants."

    ASPCA Poison Control and Pet Care

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