Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Coastal BC Plants: Red Elderberry

 Red Elderberry

Around Powell River you can see Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) plants both in town as garden ornamentals, and out in the bush in their natural environment. They make a tree-like large shrub with beautiful white flower clusters in spring, and bright red berries in summer.

They grow in moist areas along streams, in disturbed or open areas, and in lowland forests. The flowers provide food for hummingbirds and butterflies. The red berries are an important early season source of food for birds such as robins, thrushes, finches, and grosbeaks. Of course, this also helps with seed distribution.

Caution needs to be taken in the use of the red berries. Some sources say this variety is toxic, others differ. I err on the side of caution unless I know for sure (and I don't). Do you use red elderberry plants for any purpose, either in your garden or otherwise? -- Margy


  1. Great information and shots!

  2. I'm sure if I lived in your part of the world I'd be out looking for some of the plants you are writing about. Meanwhile .... In my part of the world! Thanks for your recommendation for The Curve of Time by Blanchet. I am enjoying it while I have to look after my eyes a little more carefully this week :-(

  3. Thanks for stopping by and commenting this week Stephanie and mick. Take care of your eyes mick, and let your ears do the reading. - Margy

  4. I hear elderberry, I think wine. But I've never actually had it!


  5. It never occurred to me that they'd be varieties of elder, but of course there are! The berries are black in my part of the world - southern England - so it's interesting to see different colours.

  6. If there is a chance they would be toxic, I would never eat them. They are pretty though.


  7. We have a standard elder tree infact we have a few but a couple died this year.

    Denise ABC Team

  8. You have excellent adventures!!!!

  9. Thanks all for the elderberry visit. I'm with Roger, the most frequent use I've heard about is elderberry wine, and like Roger, I haven't had any ... yet. - Margy

  10. As a child we used to pick red elderberries and Mutti used to make a family favorit Gelly
    She used to take the berries of the stems befor cooking them to make the juice
    There might be a slight toxicity,probably in the stems. I did make gelly and did not have any ill effects

    1. I have yet to try using elderberries as a food item. Sounds like the jelly your family made turned out tasty. - Margy


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy