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Hey all, this is my first post here after snooping around the forms for awhile now.

There are these shrubs that die off in the winter and shoot up early spring in some woods by my house. I have not been able to determine what they are. They look almost EXACTLY like elderberries. The environment they are growing in is perfect for elderberries, they have the classic elderberry flowering tops, a soft pith in they shoots, and when they fruit they look like elderberries.

The only thing that is different are the leaf formations. I've included a quick sketch below of them.


http://img850.imageshack.us/i/leaves.png/


Image of actual elderberries I got off google. the plant looks just like this with a different leaf pattern.
 
                                
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Location: Elmira, ny
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Does the trunk have spines? Are you in the southeast?
 
Jordan Lowery
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your going to need to post a photo for best results. or find someone local who knows.
 
                              
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Location: Many-snow-ta
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The leaves in that picture look a bit curled up from the heat. My elderberries have leaves that look a bit different than that. It seems that the same plants can differ throughout the country. I personally know of no other plant that has berries formed quite like that. I'd say if everything else matches, they're elder. Then again, I like adventure and taking chances on occasion. Makes sure it's not pokeberry, and enjoy!

They make some damn good wine! Yummm!!
 
                    
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Thanks all, I think I'm gonna give them the ol' edibility test. I'm fairly certain they must be some species of black elderberry.
 
                    
Posts: 27
Location: Central Croatia
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We have some dwarf elderberries - slightly diff plant to normal elders.  It dies back every year and the fruits are more concentrated.  Could be that?
 
ronie dee
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Location: NW MO
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txpc wrote:
Thanks all, I think I'm gonna give them the ol' edibility test. I'm fairly certain they must be some species of black elderberry.


If you could take some pics and post them b4 you eat them- maybe someone could make a better I.D. Need pics showing the stems, leaves, flowers and fruits.

Someone mentioned Poke - be sure you know what Poke looks like as the fruit is poison as well as other parts of the plant.

Herb books recommend to heat and somewhat dry the elderberries in a place out of direct light (like an attic). This is supposed to make the berries sweeter.

Elderberry Jelly is amazing. My dad said to mix elder and wild grapes to make wine.
 
                  
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There are many Sambucus sp. cultivars like Cutleaf Elderberry that have different leaf structures that their native cousins. Check out this link  http://singingwings.rohair.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=54&Itemid=68.
 
                    
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Got some pictures.


 
Andreas Brevitz
Posts: 38
Location: Sweden, Stockholm
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I'd say that's elderberry. Confirmation? And also, correct me if I'm wrong, aren't there species of elderberry that is not edible?
 
                            
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The leaf pattern appears different from the Elders I know. I have not seen the Elder's around here with 3 leaflets, typically each leaf cluster has pinnately compound leaves with 5 leaflets. In addition to the leaves and flowers, I also pay attention to the bark, which tends to have a spotty appearance and feel. These spots are visible and can be felt with your finger.

I would not yet confirm this plant as Elder without seeing the bark. The flower cluster looks Elder-ish, but seems a bit blurry. Then again, I find it hard to ID plants through the medium of cameras. I have to Present myself to the plants and they Present themselves to me.
 
                  
Posts: 114
Location: South Carolina Zone 8
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Okay I am thinking these are elderberry. To my knowledge elderberry flowers and ripe fruits are edible. But try to make sure you do not eat any unripe fruits because I head varrying degrees of sickness can occur and to my understanding leaves, bark, and roots are somewhat toxic. Keep in mind I am going from what I was taught about them so my personal knowledge of what makes you sick or is toxic could be a little off however I know the flowers are good and edible (wonderful fried tempoura style) and the fruits are good and make great wines and jellies.

BTW at least one of your pictures and the leaves look like ones from this site http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Elderberry.html
 
duane hennon
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it could be the "red berried elder"

http://www.macphailwoods.org/shrub/rbelder.html

do the blossoms form a cone or pyramid shape?

normal elderberries are umbelical (like an umbrella)
 
Savannah Thomerson
Posts: 78
Location: zone 6
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Hmmm. It looks like Elder BUT....lots of things look like Elder. Including one or two poisonous species.

Also compare the plant with these similar to elder plants:
cow parsnip
yarrow
wild carrots even blossom in this way
poison hemlock
caraway
angelica
water hemlock (also poisonous)
water parsnip

I'll let you know if I think of any others that look like the photos you've posted...

Good luck! :p

 
                    
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Nope none of those. The plant featured in the picture is about 8 feet tall.
 
                  
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Location: Great Falls
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They're not choke cherry are they? Very similar to the ones we have on our land, at about 8 feet or so, they are the right height.
 
duane hennon
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http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Elderberry.html
Avoid elderberries species with red fruit growing in rounded, instead of flat clusters. They may make you sick

http://www.macphailwoods.org/shrub/rbelder.html
The red-berried elder is also common throughout this province. It is a shrub from 2 to 12 feet high. The stem rise from the ground usually in clumps and extend to the top of the shrub. The branches are ascending and the crown is generally rounded in appearance. It is common in wet places, rocky hillsides, or along streams or brooks. It also occurs scattered among stands of sugar maple, yellow birch, beech and hemlock. The wood is of no commercial importance but the cream-white profusion of flowers and later the mass of brillant scarlet berries makes it an excellent shrub in ornamental planting. It is easily distinguished from the common elder by its scarlet berries and by its brownish pith.

break a stem off and see the color of the pith
 
                    
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No its def not red elder. The fruit turns from green to a deep purple/black.
 
Charles Kelm
Posts: 171
Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
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A friend told me that red elderberries can be cooked and made into jam ONLY IF you strain out the poisonous seeds.  Does that sound right?
 
                    
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Yes red elder is edible if you remove the seeds.
 
                    
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Okay I got a chance to go out and get some more pictures.





The bark is elderberry bark. Its gotta be some sub-tropical species of elderberry.
 
Savannah Thomerson
Posts: 78
Location: zone 6
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I believe we have several American Elders right outside here, as well.

I've pulled a small twig off and taken a shot of it. Personally, I am fairly certain it is an American Elder, just wanted to see if anyone else felt differently.....

(Sorry for the poor photo quality, I plan on getting some better shots later today)
elder-twig.jpg
[Thumbnail for elder-twig.jpg]
 
duane hennon
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ask the "experts"

they may be "european" elders as opposed to "american"

http://elderberries.ning.com/forum/topics/the-official-are-these
 
                    
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sambucus nigra variant. blue elderberry. might be a cultivar. great jam, jell and wine berry. Ive got them in spades and you will too if you harevst and scarify seeds, or produce from cuttings. good luck!
 
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Video of all the permaculture design course and appropriate technology course (about 177 hours)
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