The elder trees , shrubs and herbaceous plants of the genus Sambucus , belonged to the family Caprifoliaceae . Recent systematic work now situates this genus in Adoxaceae . Elderberry is a nitrophilous plant , so its presence indicates a soil rich in nitrogen. Woody elderberries are shrubs with white or cream-colored flowers that then turn into small bunches of red, blue or black berries . These berries are very popular with birds.
In the diet
Both fruits and flowers can be made into elder wine, which is a traditional drink in the Nordic countries, in syrup 5 ( elderberry syrup, elderberry jelly, lemonade , or elderflower kefir ). The consumption of raw berries is not recommended because they are slightly toxic and can cause vomiting especially when they are immature. The toxicity is destroyed during cooking.
The elderberry manure ( 1 kg of leaves in 10 l of water fermented a few days) has many virtues that make it a great ally of the gardener:
- Repellent against aphids , caterpillars and mammals (such as moles )
- Antifungal thanks to the sanbucine 7 it contains.
The black elder is among the most visited trees by wildlife. Its dense foliage and the many forks offered by its branches make it a place of choice for nesting birds. The bees wild and other wasps easily benefit from its hollow branches. The flowers attract further amount of pollinators: bees, butterflies … and berries are the delight of warblers gardens , the blackbirds , the thrushes , the robins , the sparrows …
The elder leaves accelerate the decomposition of the compost .
- The black elderberry berries can be used to make coulis or jellies , alone or in combination with blackberry or plum .
- The black elder is a shrub 2 to 5 m tall. The edible berries of the elderberry is in the form of hanging umbrellas ( highbush to harbor falling ). Their taste is similar to blackberry or grape.
- Elderberry is a herbaceous 1 m tall that disappears in winter. The poisonous berries of the elderberry, situated at the top of the bunches of leaves, are grouped in chalices (corymbs with upright habit ).
For the therapeutic virtues
In Neuchâtel (French-speaking Switzerland), elders say that elderberry syrup is good for coughing.