Elderberry Facts

Elderberry Facts
Elderberry is deciduous plant that belongs to the family Adoxaceae. It can be found in the temperate and subtropical areas around the world. Elderberry grows in swampy habitats and other areas that provide enough water. It requires fertile, well-drained soil and full or partial sun for the successful development. Elderberry can be cultivated in ornamental purposes, to prevent erosion (thanks to its strong root system), or as a source of food and folk medicines.
Interesting Elderberry Facts:
Elderberry can grow in the form of shrub or small tree (depending on the variety) that can reach 6 feet both in the height and width.
Elderberry produces pinnate leaves, composed of 5 to 7 oppositely arranged leaflets. Leaves are green colored and serrated on the edges.
Elderberry develops ivory white flowers arranged in multi-branched, flat inflorescence called corymbs. Elderberry blooms during the spring and summer. Flowers are fragrant.
Flies are responsible for the pollination of flowers. Elderberry can perform self-pollination in the case that cross-pollination is not possible (elderberry produces flowers that contain both male and female reproductive organs).
Fruit of elderberry is purple or black-colored berry. Each berry consists of centrally positioned pit, surrounded with juicy flesh. Berries are produced in drooping clusters during the autumn.
Elderberry produces 12 to 15 pounds of berries per year.
Leaves and fruit of elderberry are important food source for birds, elk and mule deer. Consumption of fruit facilitates dispersal of seed (animals eliminate seed via feces, away from the mother plant). Many birds nest in the crown of elderberry tree.
All parts of the plant, except flowers and fruit, contain toxic chemical called sambunigrin.
Fruit are rich source of dietary fibers, vitamins C, A and vitamins of the B group and minerals such as calcium, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc.
Flowers of elderberry are used in human diet usually in the form of syrups, juices and teas. They can be also fried and consumed as snack.
Fruit of elderberry is used for the manufacture of jellies, jams or as an ingredient of cakes and pies. Ripe fruit should be thermally processed before consumption.
Fruit of elderberry is traditionally used in the manufacture of wine, brandy and gin in certain European countries.
Elderberry is used in traditional medicine for treatment of common cold, cough, flu, and fever. Elderberry is also used as diuretic (substance that facilitates elimination of excess body water) and laxative (substance that facilitates emptying of bowel). Berries boost immune system and can be useful in treatment of patients diagnosed with AIDS (people with seriously damaged immune system).
Crushed elderberry leaves release unpleasant smell. In the past, people used these leaves (attached to the horse's mane) to repel flies during riding.
Elderberry is perennial plant that can survive from 80 to 100 years in the wild.

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