About Elderberries

Native to eastern and midwestern North America, the American Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) is a medium shrub which flower in showy comes to produce a multitude of dark purple fruits. As is implied through their wide distribution, Elderberry plants can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions and can be grown as an ornamental plant, or for the purpose of harvesting flowers or fruits. While the flowers and fruits of this plant are edible, all other parts of the plant are toxic.

At Blue Fruit Farm, we are growing the cultivated varieties York, Johns, Adams, Nova, Wyldewood, Ranger, Bob Gordon, and Ranch. Some were purchased as nursery stock from Saint Lawrence Nursery in upper state NY. Bob Gordon, Wyldewood, Ranch and Ranger were originally obtained from Terry Durham in Missouri. Jim now propagates our own nursery stock replacement and for new plantings from our own cuttings planted in peat moss and vermiculite.

Using Elderberries

Elderberries have a wide range of uses, but is most suited for processing due to the astringent properties of berries. Perhaps most common in the United States is Elderberry wine, though Elderberry cordial is also somewhat popular. The berries also make delicious jellies and juices, salad dressings, or can be used as an addition to barbecue sauces. It has also been historically used for medicinal properties taken as a tincture or concentrate. The fruits, leaves, and inner bark can all be used to produce dyes, and there are some reports of the inner bark having insecticidal properties.