As part of my research for my book, Everything Elderberry, I talked to experts in the field at length to understand the ins and outs of elderberry’s poisonous possibilities. However, some people are very sensitive to smaller amounts of these compounds, and to avoid severe stomach upset, they should consume only cooked berries, and those only in moderation. Start, Elderberry Identification: Learn the difference between elderberry and plants that some people might mistake for elderberry, « Try these Strawberry Companion Plants for the Best Harvest Ever, What to Stock in Your Healthy Kitchen So You’re Always Prepared  ». They are used however to make a natural dye. Elderberries are easy to find in many parts of the world, and they’re really fun to forage. Here are some very detailed write-ups about some plants you don’t want to eat: There are other plants one could mistake for elder if you’re really not paying attention to elderberry’s identifying features. We have them growing around local farms and parks and along the train tracks, though I’ve heard roadsides and train tracks tend to get sprayed for weed control. These cymes are typically 4 to 9 inches across, and each can contain hundreds of flowers. Red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) in North America and dwarf elderberry (Sambucus ebulus) in Europe. Remember, anytime you forage, you need to be sure to use multiple features to correctly identify a plant. The small, white, five-petal flowers, about 1/4 inch across, are produced in rounded, somewhat flat-topped clusters, called cymes, at the ends of the branches. Chinese Privet berries and leaves. There are dozens of different species of Sambucus around the world. Many products featured on this site were editorially chosen. Learn how to identify, where to find, the health benefits and how to cook elderberries with our expert guide. As you walk or drive in early summer, keep your eyes peeled for shrubs bearing white flowers. Mature elderberry plants can range from 9 to 12 feet (2.7 to 3.7 m) tall. Outdoor Life may receive financial compensation for products purchased through this site. Not so! Cerulea berries have a more blue than purple-black color and typically have a whitish coating of a naturally-occurring yeast, great if you want to make elderberry wine. Berries tend to ripen at summer’s end. But what do they look like and how do they look compared to Pokeberry! Consult lots of photos and train yourself to notice the sometimes subtle differences between plants. Arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum) produce umbel-shaped clusters of small, white flowers that look just like elderberry flowers but as with the Chinese Privet, Arrowwood leaves reveal its true identity. amzn_assoc_region = "US"; How can you tell the real deal from the lookalikes? More about me and my green projects here. Other uses not proven with research have included heart disease, gum disease , high cholesterol , … I’m also planting some different varieties in my yard this spring and will write something up on what I find once they’ve gotten established. or if they’re at the edge of a field or a stream or along the roadside, they’re elderflowers. Some identify our local plants as S. racemosa s… You should look for dark, ripe berries and don’t eat elderberries uncooked as they can make you sick. How to Find Elderberries Elderberries like moist soil, so you'll find them in ditches, along the edges of wet woodlands, near lakes and rivers, and other damp ground. Elderberry is a woody shrub, not a herbaceous plant. Filed Under: Foraging Tagged With: foraging, superfoods. amzn_assoc_placement = "adunit0"; Ever found elderberry growing in your foraging expeditions? The easiest way to identify elderflower is from the actual flowers. Aralia spinosa, often called devil's walking stick, is commonly confused for the American elderberry.And just one glance at the plant reveals why: Aralia's dense clusters of dark purple berries hanging from vivid burgundy stems look strikingly like the American elder.The two species reach a similar size, thrive in the same environments, and bear fruit at about the same time. Let’s also talk about habitat. (The wild ones in my area tend to be small and lacking in flavor.). amzn_assoc_ad_mode = "manual"; Description : Common elderberry is a shrub to 8 feet tall, forming colonies from root sprouts, with branches occurring near the top. [2] X Research source Elderberry can also grow in a small, single-stem tree pattern, but that is much less common. The Herbal Academy has an online foraging course that teaches plant identification and ethical wildcrafting practices. Elderberry identification photo credits: Susannah Shmurak, Susannah Shmurak, RitaE, born1945, Hardyplants, Steve Bidmead, Edal Anton Lefterov, EM80, Capri23auto, Susannah Shmurak, Susannah Shmurak. Look for elderberry to be in the form of a small tree or a large shrub. It is sometimes considered to be the same species as Sambucus nigra, the European elderberry or black elderberry.The two are at least very closely related. Identifying elderberry. After spending months playing with wild-harvested elderberries and talking to growers around the country, I’ve decided that getting some elderberries going in our teeny edible yard is very much worth doing, even though there are more than enough elderberries to forage around these parts. Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana, is easily found in our forests and wooded areas is the most common of the plants that look like elderberry. Let's chat about it! You’ll find some additional ones to know below. If you buy dried berries or flowers, you may find a decent amount of stem material, so be sure to pick it out. This common shrub grows in fields and in shade, reaching heights up to 15 feet tall. HealthyGreenSavvy is committed to protecting your privacy. Elderberry Edge Farm has an excellent and thorough post on how to identify elderberry. Older bark is brownish gray with shallow fissures, becoming rough with thin, plate-like scales. Use elderberries for food after cooking or drying. Now, compounds in the elderberry plant can make you very sick indeed, and in large enough quantities they could be fatal. Elderberries and water hemlock both have toxic foliage and stems, so don’t eat either of them, obviously. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Copyright © 2020 Outdoor Life. Elderberry grows to between 5 and 12 feet high as a shrub and sometimes taller, up to 20 feet high, … Some species feature red berries, some blue, some black/purple. If they don’t droop, take care, as you may have found the herbaceous dwarf elder (Sambucus ebulus), which can make you very ill. They’re more common in Europe but can also be found in North America. It’s abundant throughout the UK, in woods and along roadside hedgerows. Herbaceous rather than woody, dwarf elder’s less-flat berry clusters don’t droop the way the flatter heads of common elderberry do. Using a clean, sharp shears, prune any broken or dead canes. Maybe you’ve found some earlier-ripening mulberries? These musky scented berries can be dried or cooked into a wide variety of tasty dishes. amzn_assoc_linkid = "b0493c9571ce925b13fb2adc6f0b0f9c"; These 150 edible flowers growing near you as well you have permission, whether on public private... I get so many questions about identifying elderberry how to identify elderberry Sambucus canadensis and Sambucus cerulea and... Bloom of yeast when they ’ ll find some additional ones to about. 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