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Black Elderberry for a medicinal forest garden

 
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Hi everyone!  The black elder berries tree work awesome here in the pacific northwest in the forest garden.  The berries are great dried for adding to cereal in the winter months.  Also a wonderful syrup for flu protection and immune system strength.  I have thornless black berries, strawberries berries, and angelica growing nearby.  The elderberries are easily propagated from dormant cuttings taken in late January or early February.  Thank you everyone for sharing such important info about  forest gardening!!
 
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Posts: 37
Location: Devon, UK
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forest garden trees medical herbs
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Hi Susan, yes I totally agree the elder (Sambucus nigra) is absolutely superb, and should be in every medicinal forest garden. Research studies show that it is effective in reducing symptoms in respiratory complaints like colds and flu. The syrup tastes great with the addition of cloves. Take a bucketful of berries, slide off stalks with a fork, heat gently till juice is running and strain through a jellybag. Add a pound of sugar plus spices (whole cloves or try cinnamon sticks) to a pint of juice and warm till dissolved. Place in bottles with caps ajar in a water bath simmering for 30 minutes, then tighten caps to preserve. Just to add from experience growing at Holt Wood Herbs. First is that elder really does not like shade, and is best in the open for flowering and fruiting. Second, it can be coppiced which is useful in some situations such as forming a swale, the flowers and fruit are borne in second and third years before coppicing again. We have also found pollarding possible for the smaller garden.
Pollarded-elder.jpeg
Pollarded elder (Sambucus nigra)
Pollarded elder (Sambucus nigra)
 
Susan Mulligan
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Love the info and picture! I will try pollarding a tree here.  Very nice.  Thank you Anne!
 
gardener
Posts: 973
Location: Western Washington
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I agree that black elderberry works well. I also grow blue elderberry, which is native and does well on drier sites. Black is good for wet areas
 
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