* Leaves large, compound, 4-11", with 5-11 coarse toothed, elliptical
* Flowers small, white, in flat-topped clusters.
* Fruits juicy, purple-black berries.
* Buds small, green or brown. Twigs stout and hollow.
* Height: 3-13'.
* Flowers June - July.
* Fruits August - October.
* Habitat: Thickets.
* Range: Southeastern Canada, Eastern United States.
* All parts of the elderberry plant contain hydrocyanic acid, but that
doesn't deter 43 species of birds from eating the fruits, which also
contain vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, iron, and potassium.
* Humans make jam, jelly, wine, and pies out of elderberries,
as well as drying the fruits for later use. Try making elderberry
jelly yourself! Gather the berries soon after they ripen or the
birds will have eaten them all.
* The genus name Sambucus supposedly comes from the sambuke
or sambuca, an ancient reed instrument carved from elderberry
branches. Hollowed twigs were also used for taps to tap sugar
maples for sap. Crushed elderberry bark was used by several
Indian tribes as an insect repellant, because of its foul odor.
* In winter, look for vertical, zipperlike scars on elderberry
bark; they are the locations of black-horned tree cricket eggs.
* Elderberry plants can be found on the Wellesley campus near
the red maple swamp by Paramecium Pond.