When I first heard about the seed-bearing, organic, and biodegradable lollipops made by Amborella Organics, I just couldn't believe my ears. As a kid, I enjoyed the sweet-treat of Dum Dum lollipops that were given to me at doctor's offices, but I didn't think twice about throwing away the sticks. I never imagined that I would one day be able to enjoy a lollipop, plant the stick, and then watch it grow into plants and herbs.

That's why when I first heard about Amborella Organics lollipops, I had a lot of questions. How do these lollipops work? What's the story behind them? I reached out to the company's co-owner Taylor Morgan, who answered all of my questions. Then, I tried the lollipops out for myself. 

Part I: Q&A with Taylor Morgan

Photo courtesy of Heather Collins

Q: For readers who have not heard about Amborella Organics, how would you describe your lollipops?

A: We make organic, seed-bearing lollipops that, once devoured, can be planted to grow herbs and flowers. Each herb or flower grown from the biodegradable stick, made from recycled paper, has a connection to what you just consumed. Sage & Marshmallow grows sage, while Lavender & Lemongrass grows lavender. Our intention is for people to share the experience of a seed-bearing lollipop with someone they love.

Q: What was the inspiration behind these seed-bearing lollipops?

A: Brennan Clarke, my boyfriend and co-owner of Amborella Organics had this daydream of a lollipop growing herbs and flowers while watering his tomatoes. He'd grown up gardening with his grandma, and tomatoes were something they'd grow every year together. She had recently passed away, and he was struck with how pronounced that time was gardening with her, in his mind. He began to think about ways for children and grandparents to have more experiences like this, and the inherent resemblance of a flower to a lollipop gave him the idea for a seed-bearing lollipop. He sat with this idea for a few years and shared it with me one day over coffee. I thought it was incredible and wanted to bring his idea to life, so, together, we did so!

Q: How do you come up with the lollipop flavor combinations that you offer?

A: We initially worked with an established candy maker that we loved as we had zero background in making candy, but, today, we design the flavors ourselves! It starts with an herb or flower as we have to find a connection between the flavor and the heirloom seed. From there, we find something that melds well with that.

Q: Can you describe the process that happens beneath the soil once the lollipop stick has been planted?

A: As the stick becomes moist, it enables the seed to escape. The seed will begin germination as the stick simultaneously begins to decompose. 

Q: How does Amborella see itself fitting on college campuses?

A: In such a crucial time in a person's life, we want the core ideas of Amborella—sustainability, creativity, and community—to encourage students, when thinking about the future, to be inspired by something as simple as a lollipop. 

Part II: the taste-test

Photo courtesy of Heather Collins

I'll be honest: before trying Amborella's lollipops, I could not remember the last time I had a lollipop. So, I was very excited to try these, especially because of their creative flavor combinations. I didn't try all of the flavors offered on Amborella's website, but I got to taste-test several of them. I felt so sophisticated while enjoying this lollipop, which is something I never thought I'd feel with this type of candy (including homemade lollipops and organic lollipop brands.)

First, I tried the Champagne & Roses flavor, which I was honestly most excited about. I could immediately taste an underlying grape flavor, but it was definitely not the grape medicine type we all dread. It was a refreshing, fruity flavor. Then, after the first few licks, the champagne flavor started peeking through in a way that wasn't too overpowering. I will admit that the texture is different than most lollipops because you can taste and feel the actual rose petals. It took some getting used to at first, but I ultimately enjoyed the fact that I could see the actual plants incorporated into making the lollipops that would eventually grow from the seed-bearing sticks. This flavor was undoubtedly one of my favorites.

Next, I tried the Sage & Marshmallow lollipop. If you don't like the taste of sage, then I would recommend going for a different one of Amborella's unique flavor combinations. The sage element was immediately evident when I tried this lollipop, but I could also taste and smell a hint of burnt marshmallow, which made me feel like I was sitting by a warm campfire. For those who are more sensitive to texture, this lollipop may be preferable to the Champagne & Roses option. Although it is slightly more grainy, you won't feel those sizable rose petal pieces.

After Sage & Marshmallow, I tried the Lavender & Lemongrass lollipop. Personally, I don't enjoy lemongrass, so I was hesitant about this flavor. The mild citrus undertone from the lemongrass wasn't for me, but I can definitely see how citrus-lovers would love it. 

The same citrus-inspired doubt that came with my tasting of the Lavender & Lemongrass lollipops continued as I tried the Lemon & Thyme flavor. I was shocked by how genuinely refreshing and tasty I found this flavor to be. I am not the biggest thyme-enthusiast, so the light thyme smell of the lollipop was discouraging at first. However, the thyme is not overwhelming at all, and I found that it was the perfect spice combination to compliment the lemon. To me, it tasted kind of like lemon poppyseed bread, which, though unexpected, helped tone-down the citrus flavor of the lemon to highlight how the lollipop flavors actually work together.

Then I went for the Rosemary & Mint lollipop. I couldn't really taste the rosemary flavor, but that may just be my wonky taste buds. However, I could taste the mint flavor and found it to be very prominent. The lollipop tastes a lot like a candy cane, so it made my mouth feel minty-fresh while also putting me in the winter holiday spirit. 

Next, I tried the Vanilla & Hibiscus flavor, which I enjoyed just as much as the Champagne & Roses lollipop, making it one of my favorites. Before having this lollipop, I didn't know how to describe the taste of hibiscus—but I get it now. The lollipop is pleasantly floral and amazing. The hibiscus is its own unique brand of flower, and when combining that undertone with what seems to be a Madagascar Vanilla flavor, everything just comes together perfectly.

Finally, I taste-tested the Peach & Marigold lollipop. While this may be an odd way to describe a lollipop, I thought it was quite rich (and almost creamy) in flavor. Think of it as a flowery-peach combo with the underlying richness of a peach yogurt. It wasn't my favorite lollipop, but I certainly didn't dislike it either. By this point, I think my taste-buds had reached a sugar- and lollipop-overload, so I was having trouble distinguishing tastes and flavors. My taste buds were confused. Happy, but confused.

In the end, it was cool to learn more about the story behind Amborella Organics before trying out their lollipops for myself. If you're just as curious about these lollipops as I was, then I definitely recommend trying one of their lollipop flavors. While a single lollipop sells for $6.75, there are some cheaper options per unit on their website, too. Their lollipops are certainly not cheap, but keep in mind that you're not just buying a lollipop—you're also getting a plant. I do think it's worth to experience at least once. Personally, I know I can't wait to watch these seed-bearing sticks grow into plants and herbs—how often do you get to see that?