I Love Sambucus – Elderberries

Aug 12, 2016 | Love This!

Name:  Sambucus nigra or canadensis aka elderberry. S. nigra is the European elder, and the S. canadensis is the native plant that’s considered to have more flavorful fruit.

Type of Plant: A large, sprawling shrub that flowers in the early summer and is filled with dark purple berries in August. Some cultivars have yellow or purple foliage, and few to no berries, while other varieties have green leaves and are dripping with fruit.

Why I love this: I especially love the berries on this plant. They are weighty clusters that start off in shades of green that turn to dark purple and almost black, shiny berry. It’s a great plant for birds and other wildlife. And a good plant for people too if they like to make jelly or Elderberry wine.

A Word to the Wise:  This is a very large growing shrub. I’ve seen elderberries that are over 15 feet tall. So plan accordingly. Place these where they can get big or be willing to cut them down to the ground frequently.

This is how the Sambucus nigra flowers look in June. This is the variety called Samdal. This variety grows canes one year that bear the next. So after this fall I'll cut much of this shrub to the ground.

This is how the Sambucus nigra flowers look in June. This is the variety called Samdal. This variety grows canes one year that bear the next. So after this fall I’ll cut much of this shrub to the ground.

My Samdal Sambucus is filled with fruit this year. Too bad I don't make or eat jelly...

My Samdal Sambucus is filled with fruit this year. Too bad I don’t make or eat jelly…

This is a Black Lace Sambucus that I saw in a Pittsburgh garden two years ago. It was well over 12 feet tall.

This is a Black Lace Sambucus that I saw in a Pittsburgh garden two years ago. It was well over 12 feet tall.

Black lace Sambucus has pink flowers in June.

Black lace Sambucus has pink flowers in June.

I pick stems of elderberries to bring inside for bouquets. They are like having jewels dripping from the foliage.

I pick stems of elderberries to bring inside for bouquets. They are like having jewels dripping from the foliage.

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