Tulips are not edible. . .but. . .
More Info: To qualify this answer, tulips are not edible if you are erring on the side of caution. Some authorities maintain that all parts of the tulip are poisonous while others list tulip petals as an edible flower.
We have researched this seemingly simple question and found that we could not find a definitive answer to this question. Rather than answer it directly, following is advice from professionals across the web–you decide.
Top Chef Has Spoken
According to the cooking blog on top chef Emeril Lagasse’s website Emeril.com tulips are edible. One reader responded that they are not only edible, they are delicious. The post does not reveal which parts of the tulip are edible.
Top Horticulturist Weighs In
Dr. Alice B. Russell, Department of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University lists tulips as a poisonous plant of North Carolina. In the paper “Poisonous Plants of North Carolina” the tulip is listed as causing low toxicity if eaten and minor skin irritation.
Though it is stated that tulips bulbs are reported as being cooked and eaten during times of war and starvation, the poisonous parts of the plant are listed as the bulbs, stems, and flowers.
Contradicting Others and Themselves
As if the information were not contradictory enough, the same authoritative resource that lists tulips as a poisonous plant, lists them as an edible plant.
In a horticulture information leaflet, authored by Cyndi Lauderdale, extension agent and Erv Evans, extension associate, distributed by the Department of Horticultural Science College of Agriculture and Life Science North Carolina State University, only the flower petals are edible. Yet in the table of flowers on the exact same leaflet, tulip bulbs are listed as the edible portion with a comment that they are “good stuffed”.
Are Tulips Edible?
The true answer to this question would be, ‘it depends which authority you listen to’.