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A wild, dark grape-sized berry with a deep red color, eaten raw or cookery, in jelly, pudding or pie. Used to make wine, beer, liqueur, and jam.Relationships: Sambucus is a genus with 5-30 species depending on how they are “lumped” or divided. Most are native to the northern hemisphere with a few in Australia (and neighboring islands), and South America. Blue Elderberry, American Elderberry, and Red Elderberry, are the only Elder species native to the United States (other named species are now lumped into these species).Distribution: Red Elderberry is native to Europe, temperate Asia, and North America. It is found throughout most of the United States and Canada, excluding only the far north of Canada and Alaska, and the central and southern United States.
Elderberries, like many other fruits, are a nutritional power supply for humans. They are packed with antioxidants and polyphenolics that offer many benefits to your health. These health-promoting polyphenolics protect your cells against oxidative stress which can reduce your risk of developing chronic inflammation, asthma, and other oxidative stress-related diseases.In the Landscape: Red Elderberry is especially attractive in woodland gardens. Its vase-like, arborescent form creates an umbrella-like canopy over smaller woodland shrubs. Overgrown plants can be severely pruned. Red Elderberry is used for revegetation, erosion control, and wildlife plantings. It may be relatively tolerant of heavy metal contamination, so may be useful in restoring habitats around mining and smelting sites.
Use Food: Though many people think (incorrectly) that the fruit is poisonous, it was eaten widely by British Columbia First Peoples. Clusters of berries were gathered in July and August. Berries were detached back at camp and cooked overnight in steaming pits or boiled in redcedar boxes. Berries were placed over fires on skunk cabbage leaves and dried into cakes for later use. To improve the flavour, red elderberries were mixed with other kinds of berries. Recently people mix the berries with sugar and make wine jelly or jam.Red Elderberry: A medium-sized, robustly fruiting shrub with creamy-white flower clusters and scarlet fruits set against downy green leaves. Adaptable in gardens; tolerant of wet soils and partial shade, neither of which will diminish fruit set. Provides early nectar for spring pollinators, and the fruits are some of the first to ripen, filling a void for birds in early summer. (Source: wildseedproject.net)