The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

United States Us

I picked Elderberries from a different looking species of Elder yesterday. Berries are black (not blue like the hundreds of other wild Elder's I have harvested for tincture), the bark is like a Cork Oak, taste of berries is sweeter than normal, and, most unusual, instead of the typical light green stems in the umbels of berries, these are a wine red color. Profuse umbels of berries. Leaves are the same as the others I have harvested. Have always tried to figure out the diff. between Sambucus mexicana and S. niger. Are they the same, and what is this new type I found (please: ) ? Thank you!

On plant Sambucus




These look like the ones I'm used to seeing in Britain growing wild, we have cultivated forms with golden or nearly black leaves used as species shrubs or small trees in gardens.....we use the flowers for making cordial and the berries for making wine or jam / jelly

20 Jul, 2014


Agree, the picture you have put up is the only one wild really over here (that i have seen) and i believe that to be the S. niger. If i remember rightly the S. mexicana is the one with blue berries and not black.

20 Jul, 2014


I agree, they are the European common Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) that grow very prolific over here in the UK.

They are so abundant that some people consider them a nuisance and a weed. Each year I pick about two carrier bags full and with the addition of raisins and sugar make about 6 gallons of lovely strong port wine. I also steep some in a jar with sugar and alcohol for a few months, this makes a very nice dark liqueur.

I'm surprised that they are ready for picking now, as they are not usually ripe until the end of September. Maybe you live in a warmer climate that the UK and they ripen earlier wher you are?

20 Jul, 2014


Not really pertinent to your question, but I was amazed to see the number of different cultivated varieties of elder when I visited the website of Cotswold Garden Flowers.
They (CGF) obviously love the plants, although I wouldn't give them garden room myself!

20 Jul, 2014


Has anybody tried making elderflower tea? Just put one flower in a cafetiere and proceed as for coffee. It makes a really nice refreshing drink for a hot day. Try it next year!

20 Jul, 2014


I have some elderflower & lemon grass teabags, mostly go for mint though, its nice with ice this weather

21 Jul, 2014


I will be making elderberry and crab apple jam this year, missed the flowers this year!

21 Jul, 2014


That sounds very interesting Catty - trying to imagine how it tastes...

21 Jul, 2014


My mum wants some for putting with meats, and with elderberries you have to add more fruit to it that has more pectin in them as elderberries have well not a lot and so i found a recipe for one with crab apples.

21 Jul, 2014


I bought elderberry jelly from a farm shop last year, nice to use with coldmeats

22 Jul, 2014


Might give it a try then if the birds leave me any.

22 Jul, 2014

How do I say thanks?

Answer question

Related photos

  • Shady corner (Sambucus racemosa (Red-berried elder))
  • Sambucus...Sutherland's gold (Sambucus racemosa (Red-berried elder))
  • Sambucus Nigra 'Black Lace' (Sambucus nigra (Black Elder))
  • Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace'  (Elder) (Sambucus)

Related products


Related questions

Not found an answer?