Elder Tree

Valuable Tips about the Amazing Elder Tree


The Elder Tree is also referred to as the Elderberry Tree, which is an umbrella name for about 30 different species of small trees and shrubs.  Although this particular tree was originally listed as a member of the Honeysuckle family, as more genetic research was conducted, experts realized that it actually belonged to the Moschatel family.  The Elder Tree is native to areas throughout the Northern Hemisphere and South America and Australasia in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Elder tree grows best in temperate to subtropical climates and during the growing season, the pinnate leaves develop between five and nine leaflets.  On rare occasions, the leaves will grow as few as three or as many as eleven leaflets.  On each of the leaves, which measure two to twelve inches long, are the leaflets with serrated margins.  In addition, the Elder Tree boasts beautiful flowers of cream or white that bloom each spring.

The flowers of the Elder Tress make up large clusters and shortly after blooms appear, clusters of red, black, or blue/black berries follow.  Although not common, sometimes the Elder Tree will also produce berries of white or yellow.  Regardless of the berry color, those coupled with the gorgeous clusters of flowers and the green foliage makes this a stunning tree.

Keep in mind that there are many species of the Elder Tree and depending on the species, the height at maturity would vary, along with the size and colors of the flowers and berries.  For instance, while the Elder Tree usually grows to around twelve feet tall, the Dwarf Elder only grows to Dix.  Additionally, each species of the Elder Tree is found in different parts of the country with the following being just a few examples:

The berries of the Elder Tree are also used for making delicious syrup for pancakes and waffles or diluted with water to create a type of fruit juice drink.  In fact, one company markets a drink in 15 countries around the globe made from the berries of the Elder Tree.  Other uses for the berries include making marmalade, wine, and cordials, as well as tea and for medicinal purposes.  Even the umbels are not wasted.  These are coated with a tempura batter and deep-friend.  When done, the umbels are drained and sprinkled with powdered sugar, regular sugar, and/or cinnamon and whipped cream. 

One very important note specific to the Elder Tree is that the branches, twigs, leaves, roots, and seeds contain a type of cyanide poison that produces a substance known as glycoside.  If any of these parts of the tree are consumed in large enough amounts, cyanide could accumulate in the body.  Additionally, the flowers, umbels, and berries when not ripened also contain a toxic alkaloid.  For this reason, the berries, flowers, and umbels must be fully ripened to eat and at that point, they are deemed perfectly safe.



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