Fruits and seeds are storehouses of energy. Fruits are intended to be eaten by others, so that the seeds get dispersed far and wide. Seeds are intended to store food for the sprout that grows from them.
The roots that we eat (potato, beet, carrot) are actually specialized roots that store energy too. That's why they are rather unusually shaped and much larger than roots of other plants.
Flowers are however small in size. They are not available all the time of the year. Moreover, flowers don't last long, usually a day or two. That makes it difficult for us to gather enough quantity of flowers to make a meal.
Think about what purpose a flower serves to a plant. It is mostly to attract insects for pollination. The flower is therefore specialized for that purpose, having scents, colors, fluorescence and what not to get those bees to notice them. They are laden with chemicals. There's no energy - like carbohydrates, no proteins either which help us build our body, and usually not much minerals/vitamins. So if we eat flowers, we don't really get anything much of use. Rather, we are in the danger of having an overdose of strange chemicals that the flower may have, which can make us sick.
It is like this not only for humans, but for most animals. It is how plants have evolved to ensure that the flowers don't get eaten away before they had a chance to bear fruits and seeds. Very clever, isn't it? Well, nature had all the time to learn from itself and set things to perfection!
We have leant not to have flowers as their main diet. Flowers are like spices. They taste and smell good in small quantities. But we can't tolerate too much of them.
There are some flowers we eat as accompaniments and flavoring agents. Rose petals, and marigold petals are used with milk and sometimes pickled. Jasmine is used to flavor tea. Saffron is used to flavor and color delicacies.
There are also some flowers that are eaten in slightly larger quantities. Cauliflower is a common example. Cauliflower is really not a flower, it is just the part of the plant that holds the flowers. The real cauliflower flower is too small to be eaten. Banana flowers are are also eaten, but it requires lot of preparation to remove the caustic flower parts. Neem flowers are also eaten in some places, but in small quantities because of their bitter taste.
Do you know of any flowers that you eat? Tell us!
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