By The Old House Web


Elderberry grows in rich moist soil and can be seen as part of the landscape along roadsides. The only elderberry referred to in this information is the Common Elderberry, Sambucus canadensis. The plant bears large, flat clusters of white flowers in June or July. The purplish-black berries follow in August and September. Before being completely ripe the berries are red then blue then purple.

The fruits are rather bland if eaten raw but are often used to make jelly, jam, pies or wine. Wine can be made from both the fruit and the flowers. The fruits are rather low in pectin.

The plant tolerates wet to dry soil. The plant needs little care beyond the removal of weak or unproductive stems. In fact the plant may grow so well that becomes necessary to prune to keep it within bounds.

New plants of an especially good plant may be made by cuttings. Make 10 to 18 inch cuttings of dormant wood and insert most of the cutting in the ground. Keep the cuttings moist.

Birds often offer stiff competition for the fruit.

Do not eat the berries until they are ripe. Do not confuse this plant with its relative the Red-Berried Elder.

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