Elderberry

The American elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) is a large shrub that produces white flowers in the spring and large clusters of small, black fruit in late summer. The tree is drought-hardy, winter hardy, and attractive during blooming and fruiting. The small berries may be eaten raw when fully ripe or made into jelly, pies, or wine. The berries should be picked when they are fully ripe and the color is dark purple-black, but well before that time, the berries begin to wither. Green berries and stems are toxic and must not be eaten. Elderberry is best cooked and used in jams, jellies and syrup.

Plant elderberries on well-drained or damp soil that has been limed to a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. Plant the bushes at least 5 feet apart and scatter a small amount of fertilizer (1/2 pound of 10-10-10) evenly under each bush every spring.

Elderberries need limited pruning to remove dead and/or broken canes.