Fresh flowers on cakes

My advice on using fresh flowers on your cakes…..DON’T. That’s the simple version, but please read on for more of an explanation.

There is a lot of confusion about using fresh flowers on cakes, especially wedding  or celebration cakes.

I suggest that any flowers on cakes  are used are sourced either from your own garden, where you know how they have been grown, and not treated or grown in anything nasty.

Quite a few plants and flowers on cakes that I have seen, are actually poisonous and they should not be placed in, on or around food, especially cakes. It bloody amazes me to this day that there is an increasing trend with Wedding Cakes to adorn them with fresh flowers and leaves, some which are very poisonous.

Even if the flowers on cakes, and leaves, aren’t  actually eaten, there is a risk that their sap, or their fine hairs can on land on the cake or seep into it.

Even if the flowers on your cake aren’t poisonous, can you imagine the damage to your reputation when a large earwig crawls out  attracted by the scent of  sweet icing .!

Plus fresh flowers on cakes wilt,and never look as fresh as when you first laid them next to your cake hours before the wedding. Don’t forget to use a large straw or flower pik ( or is it pick I can never remember),to protect the cake from the stems or branches.

I have written lots more advise about wedding cakes, fresh flowers on cakes, and how to tackle to issue of the bride or groom hiring a florist to adorn YOUR cake, in my book.

You can find further advice regarding flowers on cakes in my Amazon No.1 Best Selling Book ‘ Cake Biz Success‘ which you can download for only £2.99 to a kindle or your phone. That is less than a sandwich from Marks & Spencer’s and crammed with great advice.

The book is also available in ‘ Cake Biz Success‘  paperback too.

Here is a list of plants and flowers (which isn’t an exhaustive list) which should not be used around food, especially cakes.

But my advise is never use fresh flowers as you can never be certain how sterile or safe they are. Use organic flowers if any at all that are not poisonous !

So here is the list …

Flowers on cakes – the poisonous ones

This list of plants mirrors the HTA (Horticultural Trades Association) guidelines and includes garden plants and houseplants that have been known to cause injury, either by contact or after being eaten.

All these plants are safe to grow provided they are treated with respect. Remember, they are ornamental plants, often very beautiful – they are not meant to be eaten. Avoid contamination by wearing gloves and covering your skin.

Acalypha  (chenille plant, copperleaf) – skin & eye irritant; poisonous

Acokanthera (bushman’s poison) – poisonous

Aconitum (monkshood) – poisonous; irritant to and via the skin

Actaea section Actaea (baneberry) – poisonous; irritant to and via the skin

Aesculus (horse chestnut) – somewhat poisonous

Aglaonema (Chinese evergreen) – poisonous; skin irritant

Agrostemma githago (corncockle) – somewhat poisonous

alder buckthorn – see Rhamnus

Allamanda – poisonous; skin & eye irritant

Alocasia (taro) –  poisonous; skin & eye irritant

Aloe – poisonous

Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily) – skin irritant

Amaryllis – see Hippeastrum

Amaryllis belladona (belladonna lily) – poisonous

Angel’s trumpet – see Brugmansia

Angel’s wings – see Caladium

Anthurium (flamingo flower) – poisonous; skin & eye irritant

Apocynum (dogbane) –  poisonous

Arisaema (cobra-lily) – poisonous; skin & eye irritant

Arrowhead vine – see Syngonium

Arum (cuckoo-pint, lords-and-ladies) – poisonous; skin & eye


Asparagus (asparagus fern) – may cause skin allergy, fruits


Asparagus fern See Asparagus

Atropa (deadly nightshade) – poisonous; skin irritant

Autumn crocus See Colchicum

Baneberry – see Actaea section Actaea

Belladonna lily – see Amaryllis belladona

Bluebell – see Hyacinthoides

Bottle gourd – see Lagenaria

Brugmansia (angel’s trumpet) – poisonous

Brunfelsia (yesterday, today and tomorrow) – poisonous

Buckthorn – see Rhamnus

Bunny ears cactus – see Opuntia microdasys

Burning bush – see Dictamnus

Bushman’s poison – see Acokanthera

Caladium (angel’s wings) – poisonous

Calico bush – see Kalmia

Calla lily – see Zantedeschia

Calla palustris (water arum) – poisonous; skin & eye irritant

Capsicum annum (ornamental pepper cultivars)- skin & eye irritant;


Castor oil plant – see Ricinus communis

Celandine, greater – see Chelidonium majus

Chalice vine – see Solandra

Chaste tree – see Vitex

Chelidonium majus (greater celandine) –  poisonous; skin & eye irritant

Chenille plant – see Acalypha

Cherry laurel – see Prunus laurocerasus

Chincherinchee – see Ornithogalum

Chinese evergreen – see Aglaonema

Christmas cherry – see Solanum pseudocapsicum

Chrysanthemum – skin irritant

Cobra-lily – see Arisaema

Colchicum (autumn crocus) – poisonous

Colocasia esculenta (dasheen, eddo, taro) – poisonous; skin & eye irritant

Comfrey, Russian comfrey – see Symphytum

Convallaria majalis (lily-of-the-valley) – poisonous

Copperleaf – see Acalypha

Coriaria – poisonous

Corncockle – see Agrostemma githago

Crepe jasmine – see Tabernaemontana

Cuckoo-pint – see Arum

x Cuprocyparis leylandii (Leyland cypress) – skin irritant

Daffodil – see Narcissus

Daphne (mezereon, spurge laurel) – poisonous; skin irritant

Dasheen – see Colocasia esculenta

Datura (thornapple) – poisonous; skin irritant

Deadly nightshade – see Atropa

Delphinium including Consolida (larkspur) – poisonous

Dendranthema – see Chrysanthemum

Devil’s ivy – see Epipremnum

Dictamnus (burning bush) – skin irritant

Dieffenbachia (dumb cane, leopard lily) – poisonous; skin & eye irritant

Digitalis (foxglove) – poisonous

Dogbane – see Apocynum

Dracunculus (dragon arum) – poisonous; skin & eye irritant

Dragon arum – see Dracunculus

Dumb cane – see Dieffenbachia

Echium – skin irritant

Eddo – see Colocasia esculenta

Elder – see Sambucus

Epipremnum (devil’s ivy) – poisonous; skin & eye irritant

Euonymus (spindle tree) – somewhat poisonous

Euphorbia (spurge, poinsettia) – poisonous; skin & eye irritant NB: poinsettia, E. pulcherrima, is not harmful

False hellebore – see Veratrum

False jasmine – see Gelsemium

Ficus benjamina (weeping fig) – may cause skin allergy

Ficus carica (fig) – skin & eye irritant

Fig – see Ficus

Flamingo flower – see Anthurium

Four o’clock plant – see Mirabilis

Foxglove – see Digitalis

Frangula – see Rhamnus

Fremontodendron – skin & eye irritant

Gaultheria section Pernettya – somewhat poisonous

Gelsemium (false jasmine) – poisonous

German primula – see Primula obconica

Gloriosa superba (glory lily) – poisonous

Glory lily – see Gloriosa superba

Goosefoot vine – see Syngonium

Hedera (ivy) – somewhat poisonous; skin irritant

Hellebore, false – see Veratrum

Helleborus (Christmas rose, Lenten rose) – somewhat poisonous; skin irritant

Hemlock water-dropwort – see Oenanthe

Henbane – see Hyoscyamus

Heracleum mantegazzianum (giant hogweed) – severe skin irritant in bright sunlight

Heracleum sphondylium (hogweed, common hogweed) and other Heracleum spp – severe skin irritant in bright sunlight

Hippeastrum (amaryllis) – poisonous

Hogweed – see Heracleum

Homeria – poisonous

Horse chestnut – see Aesculus

Hyacinthoides (bluebell) – poisonous

Hyacinth – see Hyacinthus

Hyacinthus (hyacinth) – skin irritant

Hyoscyamus (henbane) – poisonous

Hypericum perforatum (perforate St John’s wort) – poisonous

Ipomoea (morning glory) – poisonous

Iris – somewhat poisonous; skin irritant

Ivy – see Hedera

Japanese lacquer tree – see Rhus

Jasmine, false – see Gelsemium

Kalmia (calico bush) – somewhat poisonous

+ Laburnocytisus ‘Adamii’ – poisonous

Laburnum – poisonous

Lagenaria (bottle gourd) – poisonous

Lantana – poisonous; skin irritant

Larkspur – see Delphinium

Laurel – see Prunus laurocerasus

Lenten rose – see Helleborus

Leopard lily – see Dieffenbachia

Leyland cypress – see x Cupressocyparis leylandii

Ligustrum (privet) – somewhat poisonous

Lily-of-the-valley – see Convallaria majalis

Lobelia (except bedding lobelia, L. erinus) – somewhat poisonous; skin & eye irritant

Locust tree – see Robinia pseudoacacia

Lords-and-ladies – see Arum

Lupin – see Lupinus

Lupinus (lupin) – somewhat poisonous

Lysichiton (skunk cabbage) – poisonous; skin & eye irritant

Mandragora (mandrake) – poisonous

Mandrake – see Mandragora

Marvel of Peru – see Mirabilis

May apple – see Podophyllum

Mezereon – see Daphne

Mirabilis (marvel of Peru, four o’clock plant) – poisonous; skin irritant

Monkshood  – see Aconitum

Monstera deliciosa (Swiss cheese plant) – poisonous; skin & eye irritant

Morning glory – see Ipomoea

Narcissus (daffodil) – somewhat poisonous; skin irritant

Nerium oleander (oleander) – poisonous

Nicotiana (tobacco) – poisonous

Oenanthe crocata, O. aquatica, O. phellandrium (hemlock water-dropwort, water dropwort) – poisonous

Oleander – see Nerium oleander

Oleander, yellow – see Thevetia

Opium poppy – see Papaver somniferum

Opuntia microdasys (bunny ears cactus) – skin irritant

Ornithogalum (chincherinchee, star-of-Bethlehem) – somewhat poisonous; skin irritant

Pagoda tree – see Sophora

Papaver somniferum (opium poppy) – poisonous

Parsnip – see Pastinaca sativa

Passiflora caerulea (hardy passion flower) – somewhat poisonous

Passion flower – see Passiflora caerulea

Pastinaca sativa (parsnip) – severe skin irritant in bright sunlight

Peace lily – see Spathiphyllum

Pedilanthus – skin & eye irritant; poisonous

Pepper, ornamental – see Capsicum annum

Pernettya – see Gaultheria

Peruvian lily – see Alstroemeria

Philodendron – poisonous; skin & eye irritant

Phytolacca (pokeweed) – poisonous; skin irritant

Podophyllum (May apple) – poisonous

Poinsettia – see Euphorbia

Poison ivy – see Rhus

Pokeweed – see Phytolacca

Polygonatum (Solomon’s seal) – somewhat poisonous

Polyscias – poisonous; skin irritant

Portugal laurel – see Prunus lusitanica

Primula obconica (German primula) – skin irritant

Privet – see Ligustrum

Prunus laurocerasus (cherry laurel, laurel) – poisonous

Prunus lusitanica (Portugal laurel) – seed kernels are poisonous

Rhamnus including Frangula (alder buckthorn, buckthorn) – poisonous; skin irritant

Rhaphidophora – poisonous; skin & eye irritant

Rhus verniciflua, R. radicans, R. succedanea, R. diversiloba, R. rydbergii,R. striata, R. toxicarium, R. vernix (Japanese lacquer tree, Poison ivy, Sumach) – poisonous; severe skin irritant

Ricinus communis (castor oil plant) – poisonous

Robinia pseudoacacia (locust tree) – poisonous

Ruta (rue) – severe skin irritant in bright sunlight

St John’s wort – see Hypericum perforatum

Sambucus except S. nigra (elder) – poisonous

Schefflera (Umbrella tree) – skin irritant

Scilla – somewhat poisonous

Scopolia – poisonous

Skunk cabbage – see Lysichiton

Snowberry – see Symphoricarpos

Solandra (chalice vine) – poisonous

Solanum – poisonous

Solanum pseudocapsicum (Christmas cherry, winter cherry) – poisonous

Solomon’s seal – See Polygonatum

Sophora (pagoda tree) – poisonous

Spanish broom – see Spartium junceum

Spartium junceum (Spanish broom) – poisonous

Spathiphyllum (peace lily) – poisonous; skin & eye irritant

Spindle tree – see Euonymus

Spurge – see Euphorbia

Spurge laurel – see Daphne

Star-of-Bethlehem – see Ornithogalum

Sumach – see Rhus

Swiss cheese plant – See Monstera deliciosa

Symphoricarpos (snowberry) – poisonous

Symphytum (comfrey, Russian comfrey) – poisonous

Syngonium (arrowhead vine, goosefoot vine) – poisonous; skin & eye irritant

Tobacco – see Nicotiana

Tabernaemontana (crepe jasmine) – poisonous

Taro – see Alocasia, Colocasia

Taxus (yew) – poisonous

Thevetia (yellow oleander) – poisonous; skin irritant

Thornapple – see Datura

Tulip – see Tulipa

Tulipa (tulip) – skin irritant

Umbrella tree – see Schefflera

Veratrum (false hellebore)  – poisonous

Vitex (chaste tree) – skin irritant

Water arum – see Calla palustris

Water-dropwort – see Oenanthe

Winter cherry – see Solanum pseudocapsicum

Wisteria – somewhat poisonous

Woody nightshade – see Solanum

Xanthosoma – poisonous; skin & eye irritant

Yesterday, today and tomorrow – see Brunfelsia

Yew – See Taxus

Zantedeschia (calla lily) – poisonous; skin & eye irritant


If you are still with me then that’s good going but please heed my advice and use sugar craft flowers or silk ones as they look better I feel.


Fondant Regards

Diana         x

The Cake Biz Coach