Blue Heron landscape Design | Great Native Plants! – Elderberry

Great Native Plants! – Elderberry

18 Jun Great Native Plants! – Elderberry

“Your mother was a hamster… and your father smelt of Elderberries!”

Forever entrenched in the vernacular of pop culture, are the familiar quotes from a Monty Python movie. Regular readers of the Blue Heron Blog will have picked up on my  love of “Python” humor, and every year just about this time I find myself repeating the above quote over and over again. The reason, American Elder (Sambucus canadensis) or  Edlerberry, is in bloom.

A native to Eastern North America, Elderberry is found along roadsides, riverbanks, forest edges and fields. Most often it goes unnoticed, until about this time every year, when creamy white blossoms cover the plant.

The blossom is followed later in the season by very tasty  deep blue or purple berry, used to make jams, syrups, pies, and of course Elderberry Wine. So next time your passing a field and you see this plant…

think about the sweet purple treat that will soon be covering it, and if you can beat the birds and pick some, try making Elderberry Wine. But steer clear of any hamsters!

For more about this Great Native Plant,visit the USDA Plant Guide

All the best,


  • Kari Lønning
    Posted at 19:32h, 18 June Reply

    And then there are the flowers … I wonder if one could use the flowers to create an American version of St-Germain? I’ve only recently discovered a wonderful summer cocktail made from 2 parts Champagne, 2 parts bubbly water and 1.5 parts St-Germain liqueur!

    • Scott
      Posted at 23:26h, 18 June Reply

      I’ll have to give that cocktail a try! I did read that the entire flower of the Elder is edible, so who knows.

  • Linda
    Posted at 15:09h, 19 June Reply

    I love elder, and it is so beautiful blooming right now. I make an English Elder Flower Cordial, well that’s the name of it, not sure if it’s really English or not. Delicious! Here’s the recipe:
    5 cups water
    3 pounds sugar
    1 lemon, sliced
    25 large elder flower heads
    6 tbsp citric acid
    sparkling or mineral water to dilute
    Place the water in a pan and bring to a boil. Add the sugar and lemon, remove from heat, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Return to heat and bring to a boil. Add elder flower heads and citric acid. Bring to a boil again and then remove from heat, leave covered until it is cool. Strain and bottle in clean bottles with corks. This can be used immediately, to store keep in a cool dark place and it will keep up to 3 months. To serve, dilute with 5 parts mineral water and ice.

    This does make ALOT of syrup (about 2 quarts), so I cut the recipe in half and still have enough enough for entertaining and myself. I have also substituted honey for the sugar and it comes out okay, but I prefer the consistency of the sugar.

    Elder flowers are cooling and detoxifying, and is high in Vitamin C. This is one of my favorite drinks this time of year.

    • Scott
      Posted at 07:50h, 20 June Reply

      Linda, Thanks for the recipe, it sounds delicious!

  • tomaz fegus popek
    Posted at 14:57h, 14 June Reply

    I love them so much… The smell is fantastic, nearly to heaven, syrup is cool, even cooler is Shebesa (word from Slovenian language). Shebesa is great drink which is made like this: A lot of this flowers in a lot of water, lemon, sugar … and with right recipe is made in one week and best to drink after 4 weeks… Feels like little alcoholic, or beer like, but is not… It’s just very cool. CHEERS!

    • Scott Hokunson
      Posted at 10:11h, 16 June Reply

      Thank you for that recipe Tomaz, sounds delish!

  • tomaz fegus popek
    Posted at 15:06h, 14 June Reply

    Oh yes, also vinegar is in… very important… recipe here:

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