PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Blue Elderberry (Sambucus caerulea)

Here are the basics – Superfood for humans, birds, and bees. Flowers and fruit make great food. Excellent habitat and food for native birds and pollinating insects. Beautiful in flower and fruit. Graceful structure, grows in sun or shade, very fast growing, deer resistant.

If you are human, eat only the flowers or fruit.

Sambucus caerulea is a classic Pacific Northwest native. It flowers abundantly in late spring to early summer and we infuse the blooms in simple syrup. You can use sugar or honey mixed with water & make it as sweet as you like, then the flowers’ nectar adds a lovely flavor. Use it as a cocktail mixer or simply add sparkling water to make Elder Flower soda. The berries are ripe toward the end of summer when they develop a light blue or white-ish coating. We process the berries all sorts of ways – steam or press them to get juice which can be cooked down and sweetened for syrup, we freeze them, and we dehydrate them like raisins. There is a huge amount of research showing the health benefits of black or blue elderberries. Here’s an article from the NIH – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8948669/

The fast growth of green pinnate leaves to 10-18 feet. We prune to about 6 feet in autumn and it doubles that the following season. In the wild, it grows near the edges of woodlands, thriving in dappled sun to full sun. Fun fact: historically, the hollow stems were used to make whistles.

Available at our nursery 10-5 Tuesday-Sunday.