Sambucus

2010 is shaping up to be a legendary garden year. Two years ago I dug a large Sambucus canadensis out of the dooryard and transplanted it to the lower garden.  I laid plastic sheeting down over the bottom of the hole to keep it from re-generating, and here it is today. Perhaps I should have used steel plate. The Wikiepedia article lists the height as 3 meters or more, and that’s a 6′ step ladder at the right. This is going to be a great year for the elderberry harvest.

Sambucus (elder or elderberry) is a genus of between 5 and 30 species of shrubs or small trees in the moschatel family, Adoxaceae. It was formerly placed in the honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae, but was reclassified due to genetic evidence. Two of its species are herbaceous.

The genus is native in temperate-to-subtropical regions of both the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere. It is more widespread in the Northern Hemisphere; its Southern Hemisphere occurrence is restricted to parts of Australasia and South America.

The leaves are pinnate with 5–9 leaflets (rarely 3 or 11). Each leaf is 5–30 cm (2.0–12 in) long, and the leaflets have serrated margins. They bear large clusters of small white or cream-coloured flowers in late spring; these are followed by clusters of small black, blue-black, or red berries (rarely yellow or white).

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