Consumer Ratings of Edible Flower Quality, Mix, and Color

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station and Department of Horticulture, Plant and Soil Sciences Bldg., Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1325.
  • | 2 Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station and Department of Horticulture, Plant and Soil Sciences Bldg., Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1325. To whom reprint requests should be sent.
  • | 3 Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station and Department of Horticulture, Plant and Soil Sciences Bldg., Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1325.
  • | 4 Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station and Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Plant Biology Bldg., Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1325.

Two identical surveys were conducted with separate samples to determine consumer perceptions of the quality of five edible flower species. Participants were either members of a class that reviewed the history and uses of edible flowers at an annual, 1-day event (Garden Days) or Michigan Master Gardeners who attended a similar class. Participants were shown a randomized series of projected photographic slides of five edible flower species and asked to indicate whether they found the flower quality acceptable. The slides depicted a range of ratings of mechanical damage, insect damage, or flower senescence on a Likert reference scale (1 through 5) developed by the researchers. A flower rated 5 was flawless, while a flower rated 1 had substantial damage. Nearly one-half of all participants had eaten edible flowers before the study, and 57% to 59% had grown them for their own consumption, indicating many individuals had previous experience. Both samples rated flower quality equally and found pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana `Accord Banner Clear Mixture'), tuberous begonia (Begonia ×tuberhybrida `Ornament Pink'), and viola (Viola tricolor `Helen Mount') acceptable from stage 5 to 3. Both groups found the nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus `Jewel Mix') flowers acceptable at only rating 5. Garden Days participants rated borage (Borago officinalis) acceptable from ratings 5 to 3, while the Master Gardeners rated their acceptability from only 5 to 4. Participants also rated flower color (yellow, orange, and blue) as equally acceptable.

Contributor Notes

To whom reprint requests should be sent. E-mail behe@msu.edu.
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