Elderberry is blossoming in my yard right now. I love its lacy-looking blossoms.
I was surprised to learn in researching this lovely shrub that there are several native species that grow in the Midwest: Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa), Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra), and American Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra canadensis). It’s a tough plant growing in almost any type of soil including wet areas — which is where it grows in my yard. In periods of drought, I’ve learned that it seems to die back so I suspect it does not like dry roots.
Doug Tallamy says “elderberry’s big draw for birds are those sweet berries. It only supports 36 species of caterpillars.” I believe it! Like the fruit of the cherry trees in our yard, the fruit of the elderberry is gone before we have a chance to taste any.
Years ago my mother and I used to make wine from the berries of the elderberry bushes we would pick along the low areas at my grandparents farm. I still have a bottle I’ve been saving. Hm-m? I wonder if it’s still good? We also used to make a wonderful jam. If you are fortunate to have elderberry shrubs in your yard, you might try it. You won’t be disappointed.
Note: through my research, I’ve also learned elderberry has antioxidant properties and that much research is being done to determine other medicinal uses.