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Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)

Elderberry flowersExposure: Full sun to part shade

Soil: Moist, average to rich soils

Growth habits: Vigorous, extremely hardy, multiple stem shrubs or small trees reaching 10 to 12 feet at maturity. Plant two varieties for cross pollination.

Landscape uses: A great companion plant that provides shade and habitat for many other plants, excellent as a pond or riparian or woods edge plant, large specimen, or hedge plant. Suitable for orchard production or as an orchard interplant. Disease-resistant foliage. Beautiful large clusters of ivory white flowers in early summer, followed by heavy clusters of black berries in late summer or early fall. Elderberry plants can achieve huge yields of up to 25 gallons of fruit from a mature specimen.

Edible/Medicinal properties: Dense clusters of fruit have distinct, potent flavor and profound antiviral properties that can reduce the duration of colds and flu, even having prophylactic effects against viral organisms. Elderberries may yet be our first line of defense against a bird flu epidemic. Many natural cough syrups use elderberry syrups as their base. Elderberries also make wonderful meads, wines, and preserves. The flowers are medicinal as well, being noted for reducing fevers.

Elderberry reference page (pdf)

$18.00/1 gal, $30.00/3 gal

Available Varieties (Sambucus canadensis unless noted)

'Adams' - Large, purple-black berries in wide clusters on beautiful 6-12 foot tall and wide shrubs.

'Benchmark' - A UPN introduction. Large-fruited, heavy bearing, more compact than 'Medicine Wheel'.

'Forest Garden' - A highly-productive variety growing in the Forest Garden Learning Center at Earthaven Ecovillage. A UPN introduction. Similar to 'York'.

'Margueritte' - A joint UPN and Firefly Farm introduction. This is a highly-productive variety from Celo, NC. We expect this to be an exceptional variety for mountain and colder areas.

'Medicine Wheel' - A UPN introduction. A large-fruited, heavy-bearing, Southern variety.

'Nova' - Early  maturing , large,  sweet fruit in huge clusters.  High yielding. More compact than Adams.

'York' - Very large berries in large fruit clusters. Plant is very large and vigorous.

Benchmark elderberry Medicine wheel elderberry
'Benchmark' elderberry 'Medicine Wheel' elderberry