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Luke Bell
Luke Bell

Elderberry Bush



  • Elderberries are hardy and not at all fussy, so they are very easy to grow as long as you plant them in the correct conditions for your goal. It doesn't get any easier than this: If you want flowers and fruit, opt for full sun, the right soil, and give it plenty of water."}},"@type": "Question","name": "What other berries are mistaken for elderberries?","acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer","text": "Other berries are often confused with elderberries. A shrub called the devil's walking stick (Aralia spinosa) has the same cluster of dark purple berries and looks just like the American elderberry. But elderberry branches do not have any thorns, while the devil's walking stick's branches are riddled with thorns.","@type": "Question","name": "Can an elderberry shrub be planted in a container?","acceptedAnswer": "@type": "Answer","text": "An elderberry bush can grow in a container and kept outdoors, but it has to be quite large and wide enough to handle the shallow and spreading roots. The container does not need to be deep, though. For best results, try a pot that's 24 inches wide and 20 inches deep."]}]}] .icon-garden-review-1fill:#b1dede.icon-garden-review-2fill:none;stroke:#01727a;stroke-linecap:round;stroke-linejoin:round > buttonbuttonThe Spruce The Spruce's Instagram The Spruce's TikTok The Spruce's Pinterest The Spruce's Facebook NewslettersClose search formOpen search formSearch DecorRoom Design

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Learn tips for creating your most beautiful home and garden ever.Subscribe The Spruce's Instagram The Spruce's TikTok The Spruce's Pinterest The Spruce's Facebook About UsNewsletterPress and MediaContact UsEditorial GuidelinesGardeningPlants & FlowersTreesHow to Grow and Care for Elderberry TreesBy




elderberry bush



Other berries are often confused with elderberries. A shrub called the devil's walking stick (Aralia spinosa) has the same cluster of dark purple berries and looks just like the American elderberry. But elderberry branches do not have any thorns, while the devil's walking stick's branches are riddled with thorns.


An elderberry bush can grow in a container and kept outdoors, but it has to be quite large and wide enough to handle the shallow and spreading roots. The container does not need to be deep, though. For best results, try a pot that's 24 inches wide and 20 inches deep.


Sambucus is a genus of flowering plants in the family Adoxaceae. The various species are commonly referred to as elder, elderflower or elderberry. The genus was formerly placed in the honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae, but was reclassified as Adoxaceae due to genetic and morphological comparisons to plants in the genus Adoxa.


Sambucus fruit is rich in anthocyanidins[3] that combine to give elderberry juice an intense blue-purple coloration that turns reddish on dilution with water.[4] These pigments are used as colorants in various products,[3] and "elderberry juice color" is listed by the US FDA as allowable in certified organic food products.[3] In Japan, elderberry juice is listed as an approved "natural color additive" under the Food and Sanitation Law.[5] Fibers can be dyed with elderberry juice (using alum as a mordant) to give a "muted purple" shade.[6] [7]


Although the cooked berries (pulp and skin) of most species of Sambucus are edible,[8][9] the uncooked berries and other parts of plants from this genus are poisonous.[10] Leaves, twigs, branches, seeds, roots, flowers, and berries of Sambucus plants produce cyanogenic glycosides, which have toxic properties.[10] Ingesting a sufficient quantity of cyanogenic glycosides from berry juice, flower tea, or beverages made from fresh leaves, branches, and fruit has been shown to cause illness, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and weakness.[8][10][11] In August 1983, a group of 25 people in Monterey County, California, became ill after ingesting elderberry juice pressed from fresh, uncooked Sambucus mexicana berries, leaves, and stems.[11] The concentration of cyanogenic glycosides is higher in tea made from flowers (or leaves) than from the berries.[10][12]


In Northern California, elderberries are a food for migrating band-tailed pigeons. Elders are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including brown-tail, buff ermine, dot moth, emperor moth, engrailed moth, swallow-tailed moth and the V-pug. The crushed foliage and immature fruit have a strong fetid smell. Valley elderberry longhorn beetles in California are very often found around red or blue elderberry bushes. Females lay their eggs on the bark.[19] Strong-scented flowers in wild populations of European elder attract numerous, minute flower thrips which may contribute to the transfer of pollen between inflorescences.[20]


Elderberry fruit or flowers are used as dietary supplements to prevent or provide relief from minor diseases, such as flu, colds, constipation, and other conditions, served as a tea, extract or in a capsule.[8] The use of elderberry supplements increased early in the COVID-19 pandemic.[24] There is insufficient research to establish its effectiveness for such uses, or its safety profile.[8] The raw or unripe fruit of S. nigra or its extracts may contain a cyanogenic glycoside that is potentially toxic.[24]


Although practitioners of traditional medicine have used elderberry over centuries,[22] there is little high-quality clinical evidence that such practices provide benefits, though the US National Institutes of Health have stated that "some preliminary research suggests that elderberry may relieve symptoms of flu or other upper respiratory infections."[8]


Hollowed elderberry twigs have traditionally been used as spiles to tap maple trees for syrup.[25] Additionally, they have been hollowed out and used as flutes, blowguns, and syringes.[26] In addition, the elderberry twigs and fruit are employed in creating dyes for basketry. These stems are dyed a very deep black by soaking them in a wash made from the berry stems of the elderberry.[22]


My bush is several years old. just found paper on it. It says the berries are edible. please confirm. I have almost 2 cups of berries. Does anyone have instructions to make jam etc and how to remove simply the little stems


Elderberry is a native plant growing bush-like to heights of 6 to 12 feet, depending on site conditions (Photo 1). Each bush sends up many canes that flower and fruit, primarily in their second and third years. The tiny purple elderberries generally become ripe in late August (Photo 2).


Plant elderberry in spring after the final frost using bare root one-year old plants. To avoid competition, remove perennial weeds from the planting area. In the first year, remove flowers after blooming to enhance root growth and structure instead of fruit production. Do not add fertilizer at planting time, although an annual application in later years will assist fertility. If you are unsure whether your soil conditions are appropriate for elderberry production, get a Michigan State University Extension Home Lawn and Garden Soil Test to determine the necessary nutrient and organic matter needs.


Elderberry spreads through root suckers, and these should be pruned in late winter to avoid populations that naturalize over a large area. Though plants do not require annual pruning for fruit production, an annual or biannual pruning of older and damaged stems will help produce new growth from which fruits will be produced. Struggling elderberries can be pruned completely to the ground. While this lengthens the time of fruit production, it removes diseased stems that could be the cause of decline. As new elderberry cultivars are introduced, it is best to confirm with the fruit supplier whether the plant is tolerant of a complete pruning.


Several pests including spotted wing Drosophila and borers can affect elderberry growth. Fruits can be damaged by the invasive spotted wing Drosophila, a fly whose larvae affect ripe and unripe fruit. Few non-insecticide options are available to manage spotted wing Drosophila, although placing plastic mulches around plant bases can deter flies from laying eggs and prevent the larvae from pupating in the soil. MSU Extension suggests other control options for the home gardener. 041b061a72


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