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The elderberry, its berries, its flowers and its multiple uses

texture of elderberry wood

The elder is a tree that has more than 150 different varieties spread all around the world, from Europe to America through Asia.

It is a tree that offers berries of beautiful colors and very fragrant flowers. The elderberry can also be used to make many recipes such as wine, liqueurs or jams.

Data sheet of black elderberry wood

You will find all the information you need to help you understand and use black elderberry wood. We have compiled the characteristics, specifications and information of this multipurpose tree.

CharacteristicDescription

Common name

Black elder or common elder

Scientific name

Sambucus nigra

Type

Shrub of the Caprifoliaceae family

Color of the leaves

Leaves of dark green color and matt. They are slightly serrated and hairy.

Fruit color

Black elderberry has black berries. But depending on the variety of elderberry, the berries can be red or blue.

Wood color

Elderwood varies in color from yellow to reddish brown.

Height

Between 3 and 5 meters high. Some go up to 10 meters high.

Trunk

The trunk of the elder has a smooth, green bark when the tree is young. Then, with age, the bark becomes brown and scaly.

Growth

Fast. Elderberry can reach its adult size in a few years.

Fruit

In summer, starting in July, green berries are formed and ripen between the end of August and the end of September.

Flowering period

The elderberry blooms throughout the month of June. Its flowers are very fragrant and perfect for making jelly or wine.

Availability of Elderwood

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Price of elderberry wood

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Description of the black elderberry or common elderberry

Take a closer look at the characteristics and uses of elderberry, as well as its health benefits and advantages as a craft and decorative material.

The regions of the world where to find the black elderberry or common elderberry

world map of the origin of black elderberry


Elderberries are found in many parts of the world, especially in temperate regions such as :

  • Europe
  • North America
  • Central America
  • Asia

It is a shrub that grows without any worries, whether in the woods, hedges or roofs of houses.

Overview of elderberry varieties

The elder has many varieties, some are shrubs or perennials. There are currently more than 150 varieties of elderberry and each of these varieties has its own.

Red elderberry

Sambucus racemosa

Red elderberry
Geographical area

Europe, Asia Minor, North China and North America

forests, woods, rocky terrain and at altitude

Height

Shrub measuring between 2 and 4 meters

Flowering

In spring, from April to May

Flowers

Yellow and not very fragrant, in clusters of 6cm in diameter

Fruits

Red berries that grow in clusters

Use

The berries are cooked to make jelly or brandy

Elderberry or dwarf elderberry

Sambucus ebulus

dwarf elderberry
Geographical area

Europe, Western Asia, North Africa and it is common in a large part of France

Height

Plant measuring between 70cm and 1,30m

Flowering

Tardive : de juillet Γ  septembre

Flowers

White with red tips, in clusters of 12cm in diameter

Fruits

Black berries of 7mm with a bitter taste

Use

The inedible berries, even cooked, are vomiting and laxative

White elderberry or Canada elderberry

Sambucus racemosa

White elderberry or Canada elderberry
Geographical area

North American species found in Canada, the United States and Mexico

rivers, streams, ditches

Height

Shrub measuring between 1 and 4 meters

Flowering

In spring, from May to June

Flowers

White and very fragrant, in clusters of 40cm in diameter

Fruits

Purple berries that grow in clusters

Use

The berries are edible cooked and have medicinal properties

Elderberry flowers, an ephemeral but spectacular floral beauty

ladybug on a bunch of elderberry flowers


Elderberry flowers grow in clusters and are very numerous. They are of yellowish white color and extremely perfumed. A flower measures only a few centimeters but a cluster of flowers can reach up to 25 centimeters in diameter.

The scent of elderflowers is very similar to that of the lychee with some citrus notes. Elder flowers are harvested in May-June and preferably in the morning so that they keep their smell. They are commonly used to make syrup, lemonade or jelly.

Elderberries, a tasty and healthy fruit

bunch of black elderberries


The fruit of the elderberry is a berry, most often black or bright red in color. Blue berries can also be found in exotic elderberry species. This berry is small, it measures between 5 and 6 millimeters.

For the black elderberry, its berries are green when they grow and then change color to purplish red and finally black when ripe. Generally, the berries are ripe in early fall. The taste is similar to blueberries with some raspberry notes. The taste of the berries can vary depending on the season and the weather. Once harvested, the berries are used to make syrups, jellies, drinks or jams.

Elderberry flowers and berries: a food source for pollinators and birds

Appearance

The elder is a shrub that has an average height of 4 meters and grows in clumps. It is also a tree that lives in any type of soil and spreads very quickly.

Place of habitation for birds

Thanks to the way it grows and multiplies quickly and easily, it is a perfect shelter for all types of animals.

The elder has a dense foliage and many branches, it is an ideal support for the nests of birds like blackbirds, gills or warblers. Moreover, these birds love elderberries and promote the dispersion of seeds and thus the multiplication of the trees.

And for the insects

The elderberry is a plant that shelters many species of insects such as :

  • Butterflies
  • Aphids
  • Wasps and bees
bird eating elder berries
butterfly on elderberry flowers
aphids on a Canadian white elderberry stem

Culinary uses of elderberry: sweet and savory recipes for all tastes

elderflower fritter

The elder is a very beautiful shrub but also very good! It can be used for a variety of recipes, sweet, salty or alcoholic. We will use either the leaves or the berries of the shrub. One can then make :

  • Drinks: brandy, lemonade, sparkling wine
  • Desserts: doughnuts, pancakes, ice cream, jams, cakes
  • Dishes: flavoring meat (beef, game, duck, chicken...)
  • Accompaniments: jelly, pesto, syrup, vinegar, mustard

The only thing to remember is that you have to cook the black elderberries before tasting them, otherwise they make you sick.

The benefits of elderberry, a plant with anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antioxidant properties

elderflowers

For health and well-being, all parts of the elderberry are used:

  • The bark has diuretic and purgative properties
  • The fresh leaves are laxatives while the dry leaves are antidiarrheal
  • The flowers are the most used. Dried they are used to treat flu or rheumatism. They are also used against big inflammations
  • The berries have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties

The natural and varied beauty of elderberry

A collection of carefully selected images to inspire you and arouse your curiosity.

bunch of black elderberries
bottle of elderflower liqueur
bird on an elder branch eating a berry
bee foraging on elderberry flowers
jar of elderberry jam
bee on white elder flowers
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