There is apparently no known toxicity to magnolia (unless you have an allergy). However I wanted to find magnolia species that have traditionally been used in human culture and recorded in the food record.
Outside the list below, you are on your own. Personally I try them all and my friend Kim Walker who works at Kew did an interesting magnolia taste test with a colleague.
According to Thomas Elpel in his fantastic book Botany in a Day (6th edition), there are 7 genera and about 220 species in the magnolia family.
I have spent considerable time exploring which species have edible magnolia flowers. Below is a list of the ones that I have found in the ethnobotanical record. It is by no means an exhaustive list.
Edible Magnolia Flowers
- Magnolia coco 2
- Magnolia grandiflora 2, 3
- Magnolia denudata 2, 3
- Magnolia hypoleuca 2, 3
- Magnolia kobus 2, 3
- Magnolia liliflora 6
- Magnolia mexicana 5
- Magnolia pterocarpa 2
- Magnolia soulangeana 1
Edible Magnolia Flower Recipes
- Braised Magnolia Flower Buds
- Magnolia Flower & Tempeh Dumplings
- Magnolia Syrup Recipe
- Magnolia Flower Vinegar
- Pickled Magnolia Flowers
- Hu, S. (2005) Food Plants of China. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press.
- Kunkel, G. (1984) Plants for Human Consumption: An Annotated Checklist of the Edible Phanerogams and Ferns. Koenigstein: Koeltz Scientific Books.
- Facciola, S. (1998) Cornucopia II: A Source Book of Edible Plants. Vista, CA: Kampong Publications.
- Sturtevant, E. L. (1972) Sturtevant’s Edible Plants of the World. New York: Dover Publications.
- Standley, P. C. & Steyermark, J. A. (1949) Flora of Guatemala. Fieldiana. Chicago, Ill.: Chicago Natural History Museum.
- Liziqi: Riding a Horse to Find Magnolia Liliflora Blossoms