Feeding your Cockatiel Flowers


Not All Flowers Are Safe!

Many flowers are not meant for consumption. Many contain natural pest defenses such as cyanide or strychnine. Some plants are irritants and some produce symptom that can be fatal.

Florists will produce flowers that are meant for aesthetic purposes only and are not safe for consumption. Avoid plants that have been made unsafe by using harsh synthetic pesticides and fertiliser's. Anything you feed to your bird MUST be free of any chemical treatment for growth and longevity that it may receive. The safest flowers will come from your own garden where you KNOW no pesticides have been. Fresh Flowers should be washed, and served as part of a chop or be hung off the cage to provide foraging opportunities

Please note most of the flowers of the plants listed as safe will be be safe to feed. Rather than list all flowers this list contains some but not all of the commonly available and fed flowers.

Safe Flowers

  • Acacia
  • Anise (Pimpinella anisum)
  • African Tulip Tree (Spathodea campanulata)
  • Apple blossum (Malus domestica)
  • Banksia
  • Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
  • Bee balm (Monarda)
  • Borage blossoms (Borago officinalis)
  • Bottlebrush (Callistemon spp.)
  • Broccoli
  • Calendula (Pot Marigold) (Calendula officinalis)
  • Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus)
  • Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
  • Chives (allium schoenoprasum)
  • Common Sow thistle
  • Coriander/cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)
  • Daises (African)
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum)
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.)
  • Dill (Anethum graveolen)
  • Elderberry (Sambucus spp.)
  • Eucalyptus
  • Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
  • Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)
  • Garlic (Allium sativum L.)
  • Gladiolus
  • Grapefruit (Citrus x paradise)
  • Hibiscus
  • Honeysuckle (Lonicera)
  • Impatiens
  • Jarcaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia)
  • Kumquat (various Fortunella species)
  • Lilac (Oleaceae Syringa)
  • Lime (Citrus aurantifolia)
  • Lemon (Citrus × lemon)
  • >Lemon Bee Balm (Monarda citriodora)
  • >Lotus Flower (Nelumbo nucifera)
  • Milk thistle (Silybum species)
  • Melalecuca (Melaleuca quinquinervia)
  • Nasturtiums
  • Orchid tree (Bauhinia verigata)
  • Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus)
  • Orange (Citrus sinensis)
  • Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
  • Pansies (Viola tricolor)
  • Passion flowers (Passifloraceae Passiflora) Warning on Passion flower see note *8
  • Petunia (Petunia spp.)
  • Plum (Prunoideae Prunus)
  • Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo or Cucurbita mixta)
  • Protea/Sugarbushes
  • Roses/Rose hips (Rosoideae Rosa)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • Runner Beans (Phaseolus coccineus)
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis)
  • Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus)
  • Thyme (Lamiaceae Thyme)
  • Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo.)
  • Viburnum
  • Violets (Violaceae Viola)

these herbs are reported as safe
Bay leaf
Dill - (seed)
Echinacea see note *1
Eyebright see note *2
Lavender see note *4
Marjoram see note *6
Milk Thistle see note *7
Passion flower see note *8
Pau D Arco see note *9
Rose-of-Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
St John’s Wart see note *10
Slippery Elm
Tarragon see note *11
Thyme see note *12

Unsafe Flowers

Refere to the unsafe plants list
Refere to the unsafe herbs list
Aconite (monkshood>
Brugmansia or Angel’s Trumphet
Blister Bush
Colstfoot (Tussilago farfara)
Cocklebur (Xanthium spp.)
Cerbera Odollam - Suicide tree
Deadly nightshade
Epheda or Mia Huang
Day Yellow Jessamine (Cestrum diurnum)
Indian Pea
Life Root
Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis)
Monkshood or Aconitum, aconite, or wolfsbane
Oleander (Nerium oleander)
Peach (Prunus persica)
Yellow Starthistle Peony
Sabi Star
Summer Pheasant's Eye
Strychnine tree
Veratum Californicum or corn lily
Wild Radish


*1 Echinacea has a complex mix of active substances, some of which are said to be antimicrobial, while others are believed to have an effect on the human immune system. All species have compounds called phenols. Many plants contain phenols, active substances that control the activity of a range of enzymes and cell receptors, and protect the plant from infections and ultraviolet (UV) radiation damage. Phenols have antioxidant properties, which may be good for human health. Echinacea also contains alkylamides or alkamides, (not in Echinacea pallida), which have an effect on the immune system, as well as polysaccharides, glycoproteins, and caffeic acid derivatives.

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*2 Eyebright contains:Approximately 12% tannins, both condensed tannins and hydrolysable tannins; gallic acid is among the hydrolysis products; ca. 0.2% volatile oil with seven major and numerous minor constituents; iridoid glycosides such as 0.05% aucubin, catalpol, euphroside, ixoroside. Lignans such as dehydrodiconiferylalcohol 4-b-D-glucoside, other phenylpropane glycosides, e.g. eukovoside, flavonoids, including quercetin and apigenin glycosides, traces of tertiary alkaloids, steam-volatile substances, a range of free and combined phenol-carboxylic acids principally caffeic acid, p-hydroxy-phenylpyruvic, and vanillic acids. Other constituents include: Bitter principles; beta-carotene; phytosterols (beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol); resin; carbohydrates; and vitamin C. [Duke JA. 1985. Eyebright. In Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, Pp. 193].

*3 The main active ingredients in kava root are called kavalactones (kavapyrones). These chemicals (including kawain, dihydrokawain, and methysticum) have been extensively studied in laboratory and animal studies. They have been found to reduce convulsions, promote sleep, and relax muscles in animals. There is a posible connection to liver damage in humans.

*4 Lavender Toxic to Horses, dogs, cats Toxic Principles: Linlool, linalyl acetate

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*5 Lemon Grass Toxic to Horses, dogs, cats Toxic Principles:Essential oils, cyanogenic glycosides

*6 Marjoram Toxic to Horses, dogs, cats, high intakes can produce digestive disorders active compounds Carvacrol, Thymol

*7 Sonchus Oleraceus or Common Sowthistle is often refered to as Milk Thistle Common Sowthistle it is different plant to Silybum marianum or Scotish Thistle

*8 Unripe passion fruit are potentionally posionous Most species of passiflora produce cyanide in all their parts as a protection against insects and animals. Ripe fruit only

*9 Pau D Arco plant is chemically active include napthoquinones (lapachol, highest in the inner bark), anthraquinones (CoQ10), menaquinone (vitamin K), bioflavonoids, iridoids, coumarins, alkaloids, steroidal saponins

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*10 Hypericin in the oil glands of St John's wort leaves and flowers causes phototoxism. The use of hypericin in avian medicine liable to cause severe problems hypericin cannot be considered as a safe 'long term' treatment for psittaciness". Little or no work has been carried out to ascertain the full effects of hypericin in parrots and the possibility of phototoxism. When eaten by livestock, St John's wort causes photosensitisation of exposed skin (inflammation eg., of face, ears, lips), affects the nervous system of animals causing depression and hyperthermia (panting, salivation, respiratory distress) and alters heart, blood vessel and intestinal function. Chronic poisoning results in weight loss, reduced reproductive performance and death. Light-skinned and soft-skinned animals and those with white markings are the most affected. Those with thick, tough and pigmented skin are less affected. Early signs of clinical poisoning include agitation, pawing of the ground, rubbing of the head and face against fixed objects and mild diarrhoea. Hypericin in the oil glands of St John's wort leaves and flowers is the cause of the toxicity, but the effects depend on activation by bright sunlight of the poison circulating in the bloodstream.

*11 Tarragon Artemisia dracunculus L. its main constituents, estragole (up to 82%) and methyleugenol (up to 39%)

*12 Valerian is chemically active it has sedative effects in animals Valarian active constitients and method of action

*13 Any herb containing Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (contained in comfrey, borage, senecio, coltsfoot, and others) linked to Liver damage

back to top A good list of forrage herbs and plants