(Last Updated on : 23/02/2009)
Some flowers of a certain plant are used to make flower type spices. They Flower type spices have a certain flavour and taste which they lend to the ingredients they are used with. Some common Flower type spices that are used in Indian foods are rose, saffron and rhododendron.
Rose is normally not considered as spice or food flavouring either in national or global situation. Yet, its essential oil is added to many food items for flavoring purposes at least
Saffron, another Flower type spices, consists the dried stigmas of the plant, which grows 15 to 25 cm high. It is a bulbous perennial. It is a low growing plant with an underground globular corm. It is cultivated for its large, scented, blue or lavender flowers. The flowers have trifid, orange colored stigmas, which along with the style-tops yield the saffron of commerce. Saffron is well known all over the world added to various food items for coloring, flavoring and for taste. Saffron is one of the oldest and certainly among the world`s most expensive Flower type spices.
A spiny shrub of straggling habit, a little less than a meter high, it is valued chiefly for its flower buds, which are picked and sold as `Capers`. It may be grown as a greenhouse plant in colder areas and outdoor in warmer parts. It is deciduous with almost round leaves. The most conspicuous feature of the fleeting white flowers is the mass of purple-tipped stamens.
The plants of Rhododendron are basically large shrubs growing up to a meter with large beautiful flowers resembling rose but without aroma, and thick large eye shaped leaves. The flowers appear during autumn makes the hills colorful. In Nepal, it is considered as national flower as well as sacred since it is offered to the famous deity Pashupatinath. Tinctures and extracts of Rhododendron species have cardiac effects on cats like those of digitalis glucoside. Leaves of Rhododendron decipiens species yield campanulin, friedelin, ursolic acid and quercetin. A poisonous principle acetylandromedol isolated from Rhododendron thomsonic. The honey from all varieties of these Flower type spices is poisonous to human beings. These Flower type spices are widely used in all parts of India.