Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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Flowers are the plant’s reproductive organs. Here the male pollen and female ovules are formed; here too they unite in the chamber that contains the ovules, the ovary, and develop into embryos and seeds. Flowers are often brilliantly colored and aromatic to attract pollinating insects, and can be a striking ingredient. However, some familiar plants protect their flowers from animal predators with toxins, so their edibility should be checked before use. We also eat a few flowers or their supporting tissues before they mature; broccoli, cauliflower, and artichokes are examples.