List of edible magnolia flowers

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


  1. Hu, S. (2005) Food Plants of China. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press.
  2. Kunkel, G. (1984) Plants for Human Consumption: An Annotated Checklist of the Edible Phanerogams and Ferns. Koenigstein: Koeltz Scientific Books.
  3. Facciola, S. (1998) Cornucopia II: A Source Book of Edible Plants. Vista, CA: Kampong Publications.
  4. Sturtevant, E. L. (1972) Sturtevant’s Edible Plants of the World. New York: Dover Publications.
  5. Standley, P. C. & Steyermark, J. A. (1949) Flora of Guatemala. Fieldiana. Chicago, Ill.: Chicago Natural History Museum.
  6. Liziqi: Riding a Horse to Find Magnolia Liliflora Blossoms


  1. The trouble with these type of recipes is many/most of us will have a magnolia not on your list. Are the others not worth trying, not tested, or just maybe not recommended, for whatever reason? Are any magnolias dangerous when used in this way?

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