I have a few Elderberry bushes that are growing down
at the edge of my yard near the woods.
In late Spring the bushes get full of the prettiest l clusters
of little white blooms.
In the late Summer it gets clusters of berries that turn from
green to dark pink and then almost black.
The birds love the berries and so do the deer.
This is a picture of some berries from two years ago since
strong winds broke them all over last summer before they
were able to bear fruit and they were ruined.
The bushes reach from 12 to 14 feet tall.
American Black Elderberry
The white flowers of the elderberry bush have been used
in many things; pressed into tonics, brewed into wines
and champagne, lightly battered and fried into fritters,
or stirred into muffin or sponge cake mix for a light,
The ripe berries, cleaned and cooked, can be made into
many things: extracts, syrups, pies, jams, or used as garnish,
dye or flavoring. The leaves, twigs, stems, roots and unripe
berries of all elderberry plants are not edible, and contain
toxins that can make a person quite sick.
Ripe berries and flowers only!
vitamin C, and have been proven in quite a few recent
studies to shorten the duration of cold and flu symptoms,
as well as strengthen the immune system.
The Red Elderberry has red fruit and is toxic. The fruit
grows in round cluster instead of the flat clusters.
Some Folklore and Cool facts on Elderberry:
*The Romans made hair dye from Elderberries.
*Crushed Elderberry leaves, bark and stems have a very
rank smell, and North American Indians used it for insect repellant.
*The elder bushes were grown near the back door, to keep
evil spirits and other negative influences from entering the
home. The aroma exuded by the elder's leaves has long been
known to repel flies, so this folklore may have been borne
out of the need to keep such insects, and the diseases that they
carried, away from the kitchen and food. Bunches of leaves were
hung by doorways, in livestock barns, and attached to horses'
harnesses for the same reason.
* Washing a ladies face in dew gathered from elder flowers was
believed to enhance and preserve a woman's youthful beauty,
and derivatives of elder continue to be used in skin cleansers such
as Eau de Sareau, and eye lotions. Elderberry wine, elderflower
cordial and dried elder flowers for infusion are all still commercially
* A couple of cups of hot elderflower tea before bedtime
helps to bring on a cleansing sweat to combat cold and 'flu-like
symptoms, and elderberry drinks were formerly prescribed to
sooth throat complaints.
*A fine elderflower champagne can be made using the yeasts
naturally present in the blossoms, which can also be dipped in
a batter and eaten as fritters.
* The elder is not a common tree across the Scottish Highlands,
being confined to pockets of deeper, richer soils. Its Gaelic
names, ruis or droman occur only rarely in Scottish place names,
such as Strath Rusdale in Easter Ross and Barrach-an-dromain
on Mull. Droman may have given rise to the word dromanach
which is a specialized wooden peg used to secure thatch on roofs
traditionally made from elder wood. Despite its relative scarcity,
the parts of the tree used for dying were important to the Harris
tweed industry, with blue and purple dyes being derived from
the berries, yellow and green from the leaves and grey and black
from the bark.