(Black Elder, Elder Berry, Black Elderberry)
Family: Honeysuckle (Caprifoliaceae)
Hardy to -30 degrees F
Perennial, deciduous, multistemmed bush to small tree native to Europe. Wild form. This is the most tried-and-true species for medicinal use, and the berries are very tasty, and about twice as big as the berries of other species. Surprisingly, it is very difficult to find this, the standard native land race of black elderberry, for sale in the usual places. The standard form has been lost in an avalanche of select varietals that may be pretty but are less medicinally active. The elderberry seeds we will send you will produce trees that give berries that are rich in anthocyanins, bioflavonoids, vitamins and antioxidants. The syrup, tincture or glycerite of these berries is excellent for treating the common cold and for overall increase in immunity. The fresh green leaves may be infused in olive oil to make an emollient embrocation for treating sunburn, rough skin, age spots, and/or diaper rash (normally individuals will not have both age spots and diaper rash, but it can happen). Truly, all parts of the plant may be used in herbal medicine, and this is much expanded upon in my book "Making Plant Medicine." Cultivation: We are providing dried berries from the new harvest. Soak berries overnight, smash them, and remove the seeds. This can be done manually (smash and wash in a tea strainer) or by flotation. Exact directions on how to do this are given in "The Medicinal Herb Grower." Sow these (now moist) seeds in outdoor conditions, in pots or flats, and expect germination in the spring. Alternatively, you may wish to remove the seeds from the fruits and then store the seeds in moist medium in a sealed plastic bag or jar in the refrigerator (not the freezer) for 90 days, then remove from fridge and sow in cool, moist shade. Outdoor conditions are preferred--do not try to grow indoors in a bright window, oscillating temperatures are required. Also, elderberries will not grow properly in sterile soil. Sow seeds in very rich and composty soil medium. The breakdown of fungi in the soil will produce gibberellic acid, a growth hormone which is helpful for germination. Once germinated, the seedling grows very rapidly. Seedlings and adult trees are Nitrogen lovers--give chicken manure or copious amounts of compost for best results. Lack of nitrogen will show as weak, yellowing plants. Grow out in a shaded place in pots for a year before transplanting to final location. Flowers generally appear in year 3. Flowers turn rapidly into heavy clusters of fruits. Its probably a good idea to grow 3 trees for pollination purposes, although we have certainly seen good crops of fruit from a single tree grown in isolation. Elderberries are best placed as an understory to a higher tree canopy. Will also grow in full sun if the roots are kept cool and moist.
50 seeds in dried berries/pkt, certified organically grown