Common Name: Elderberry, Red Elder, Flor Sauco
Latin Name: Sambucus cerulea, Sambucus racemosa, Sambucus mexicana, Sambucus nigra
Native American Name: (Blue berry) Habu (Paiute), Muth’p (Warm Springs, Ore tribes) , (Red berry) Koono gibu (Paiute), Duhiembuh (Shoshone)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=SARAR3 Red berry- all states except Hawaii, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, MIssissippi, Alabama, Florida, S. Carolina. (S. racemosa racemosa)
Common Name: American Elder, Black Elder, Mexican Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ssp. canadnesis)
Appearance and Habitat: Black elder is a loose, graceful, deciduous shrub with both woody andherbaceous branches to 12 ft. Many long stems arise from the base, arching at the top. Broad, white pith in stems and branches. Pinnately-compound leaves up to 12 inches long, opposite, consisting of a central axis with 4 to 10 usually 4 to 6, paired leaflets and a terminal one often larger. Leaflets ovate to elliptic or narrower, up to 7 inches long, with an extended tip and a broadly wedge shaped base, margins toothed except at the tip and toward the base, the teeth narrow and pointed toward the tip. Flowers white, 3/16 to 1/4 inch across, in broad, flat, conspicuous clusters up to 10 inches or more in diameter, appearing from May to July. Fruit berrylike, dark purple when ripe, 3/16 to 1/4 inch wide, edible. (1) Rich moist soils along steams and rivers, woodland margins and waste ground. A deciduous shrub growing to 4 m (13ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a fast rate. It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower in July, and the seeds ripen in September. (2)
Warnings: The leaves and stems of this species are poisonous. The fruit has been know to cause stomach upsets to some people. The unripe fruit contains a toxic alkaloid and cyanogenic glycosides. Any toxin the fruit might contain is liable to be of very low toxicity and destroyed when the fruit is cooked. (3)
Edible Uses: Fruit – raw or cooked. A bittersweet flavour, the fruits are about 5mm in diameter and are borne in large clusters. They are at their best after being dried, the fresh raw fruit has a rather rank taste. The fruit is normally cooked and used in pies, jams, jellies, sauces, bread etc. Rich in vitamin C. Some caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity. Flowers – raw or cooked. They are often covered in batter and made into fritters. The flowers can be picked when unopened, pickled and then used as a flavouring in candies etc. They can also be soaked in water to make a drink. A pleasant tasting tea is made from the dried flowers. Young shoots are said to be edible when cooked and to be used as an asparagus substitute though, since the leaves are also said to be poisonous, this report should be viewed with some doubt. (4)
Medicinal Uses: American elder was widely employed as a medicinal herb by many native North American tribes who used it to treat a wide range of complaints. It is still commonly used as a domestic remedy. A tea made from the inner bark and root bark is diuretic, emetic and a strong laxative. A tea made from the root bark is used to promote labour in childbirth and in treating headaches, kidney problems and mucous congestion. The inner bark is also applied as a poultice to cuts, sore or swollen limbs etc in order to relieve pain and swelling. A poultice of the leaves is applied to bruises and to cuts in order to stop the bleeding. An infusion of the leaf buds is strongly purgative. Elder flowers are stimulant, diaphoretic and diuretic. A warm tea of the flowers is stimulant and induces sweating, taken cold it is diuretic. It is used in the treatment of fevers and infant colic. An infusion of the leaves and flowers is used as an antiseptic wash for skin problems, wounds etc. The fresh juice of the fruit, evaporated into a syrup, is laxative. It also makes a good ointment for treating burns when mixed with an oily base. The dried fruit can be made into a tea that is useful in the treatment of cholera and diarrhoea. Some caution should be exercised if using any part of the plant fresh since it can cause poisoning. (5)
Common Name: Blue Elder (Sambucus cerulea)
Appearance and Habitat: Gravelly, rather dry soils on stream banks, margins of fields, and woodlands in Western N. America. British Columbia to California, east to Montana, Texas, and Mexico. A deciduous shrub growing to 3 m (9ft 10in) at a medium rate. It is hardy to zone 5. It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September.
Warnings: Same as above
Edible Uses: Fruit – raw, cooked or used in preserves. Rather sweet and juicy but full of small seeds, this is the best flavoured of the North American elders. The fruit is rather nice raw, seven people ate and enjoyed a small quantity of the raw fruit with no ill effects. The fruit can be dried for later use. A somewhat rank taste fresh, the fruit is usually dried before being used. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter and is borne in large clusters. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Flowers – raw or cooked in fritters etc. Very pleasant and refreshing raw. A pleasant tea is made from the dried flowers.
Medicinal Uses: Haemostatic. An infusion or extract made from the flowers, bark and root has been used to cure fevers and gripe, it is also laxative. A decoction of the plant has been used as an antiseptic wash to treat itches. The bark is analgesic and astringent. An infusion has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea and rheumatism. A decoction has been used as a wash in the treatment of swellings and pain. An ointment made by mixing the bark with fat has been used externally in the treatment of burns, ulcers, skin irritations etc. The fresh bark has been placed in a tooth cavity to ease the pain of toothache. The inner bark is strongly emetic. The leaves are analgesic, antiseptic, diaphoretic, febrifuge and purgative. A decoction has been used in the treatment of new colds. An infusion of the leaves and flowers has been used as a steam bath in the treatment of colds and headaches. A decoction of the leaves has been used as an antiseptic wash on limbs affected by blood poisoning. The crushed leaves have been used as a poultice to treat burns and swollen hands. A decoction of the root has been used in the treatment of bladder problems and dyspepsia. A decoction of the flowers has been used in the treatment of stomach troubles and lung complaints. Applied externally, it has been used to treat sprains and bruises and as an antiseptic wash for open sores and itches. A wine made from the fruit has been used as a tonic.http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Sambucus+caerulea
Common Name: Red Elder, Scarlet Elder (Sambucus
Appearance and Habitat: A globular shrub, 10-20 ft. tall, with tightly clustered basal stems. Upright branches become arching with age. Pinnately compound leaves. Small white flowers in conical spikes are followed by clusters of pea-sized, red berries. The red fruit, inedible when raw and with a disagreeably bitter taste, can be made into wine and is also eaten by birds and mammals. (1) moist to wet soils along streams in woods and open areas from valleys to around 3,000 meters. N. America- British Columbia to Newfoundland, south to Georgia, Iowa, Colorado, and California. A deciduous shrub growing to 4 m (13ft 1in). It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower from Jun to July.(2)Warnings: Same as above (3)
Edible Uses: Fruit – raw or cooked. A bitter flavour. The fruit is quite nutritious, having a relatively high fat and protein as well as carbohydrate content. The fruit can be dried prior to use, it will then lose some of its rank taste. The fruit is about 5mm in diameter and is borne in large clusters making it easy to harvest. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Flowers – raw or cooked. The root is made into a tea-like beverage. (4)
Medicinal Uses: The bark and the leaves are used as a diuretic and purgative. The blossoms have been used in the treatment of measles.(5)
Foot Notes: (1)http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=SARAR3
Foot Notes: (2, 3, 4, 5) http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Sambucus+racemosa
Appearance and Habitat: A small, colony-forming shrub with fragrant clusters of white flowers that produce black berries. Leaves are pinnately compound. Mature height is from 3-6 ft. (1) Moist places in California. 1800 to 3600 meters and northwards to Canada. Western N. America a deciduous shrub growing to 4 m (13ft 1in). It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. (2)
Warnings: Same as above (3)
Edible Uses: Fruit – raw or cooked. Low in pectin, it is best mixed with crab-apples or other pectin-rich fruits if used in making jams, jellies etc. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter and is borne in large clusters. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Flowers – raw or cooked. (4)
Medicinal Uses: The dried ripe berries have been eaten as a treatment for diarrhoea. A decoction of the roots has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery. A poultice of the boiled, mashed roots has been used as a treatment for caked breasts, cuts and wounds. A decoction of the flowers has been used in the treatment of tuberculosis, coughs and colds. It has also been given to children as a spring tonic. A poultice of the crushed leaves has been used to treat bruises and bleeding wounds. (5)
(Now for MIchael Moore who covers only western species, where moisture is only present at higher altitudes. Meaning the same species my grow at lower altitudes in other areas.)
Appearance and Habitat: A many branched shrub or small tree. The leaves are compound growing along the stem with either 2 sets, or 4 sets of and paired. It blooms in late spring on through summer and the flowers occur in flat dense mats. The berries can be either red, blue, or purple. The Red Elders can be found in fairly moist hillsides in the California coastal ranges to Arizona and New Mexico where it is found from 7,500 feet to 10,000 feet. They grow into Canada as well, but at a lower altitude. (1) (at the base of Lamoille Canyon, near Elko, Nev, (elevation 6,500 ft) I have collected blue berries to make jelly)
Edible Uses: Elder berries make fine jam and wine, however remember that the red berries are toxic to some folks. When making jams or wine, the blue fruit on the east and west are sweeter as they get more sun. Also remove the seed from the blue berries as they also contain toxins. (2)
Medicinal Uses: When collecting you can inter-mix both varieties, as far as collecting flowers and leaves. The leaves have a tendancy to mildew if bundled together so simply remove a limb and let it dry. Remove the leaves after the branches have dried. Collect the flowers and berries in clusters and once again allow them to dry along a string in the shade. The blue and purple varieties juiced, tinctured fresh, or made into wine have substantial flavinoid content for dealing with retinal and capillary fragilities. For the tincture mix 1 part fresh berries to 2 parts vodka, allow to sit for a week, and take 1 to 2 teaspoons up to 3 times a day. Frequently Elder is made into tea and is used for dry fevers to induce sweating. The flowers are safe enough for children to use while the leaves are for adults. However sometimes fevers will rise after using the tea, temporarily, so care should be taken with children with a history of high fevers. The leaves are stronger and more energetic. They also have a mild laxative effect. The flowers and fruit in tea is a diuretic and can be used to help people with rheumatim and arthritis where a diuretic is helpful. There is some on going work on Elder as an antiviral medicine in Europe. To use the flowers, put them in boiling water, at a ratio of 1 part dried flowers to 32 parts water. Take off the heat source and allow to cool, replacing the water to the same level. You can take 2 to 4 ounces up to 3 times a day. With the leaves, allow them to sit over night in water and take 1 to 2 ounces up to 3 times a day. For the berries, let them sit in water overnight and take 2 – 3 ounces of the liquid up to 3 times a day. (3) Both varieties – boil the roots until soft and place on any inflammations (4)
Foot Notes: (1, 2, 3,) Medical Plants of the Mountain West 2nd Edition by Michael Moore, page 108 – 110, Publisher, New Mexico Press
Foot Notes: ( 4 ) Indian Uses of Native Plants by Edith Murphey, page 27, 42 , Publisher: Meyerbooks Copy right 1990; ISBN 0-916638-15-4 (Along with Native American Names at the top)
(How Elder was included in the article on radiation sickness is somewhat of a mystery, perhaps for bleeding wounds, high flavinoid content, or as an antiseptic wash. Regardless, it is a good plant to know.)**************************************************************
Common Name: Spiderwort
Latin Name: Tradescantia spp.
Family Name: Commelinaceae
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=TRBR Massachuesetts, Vermont, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota to Montana, Iowa to Wyoming, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma. Good write-up at http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=TRBR
Texas and Florida, some New Mexico some Louisiana
Photos: Please search for photos on Google of plants that appear in your area
(Michael Moore has no listing, PFAF has only one)
Common Name: Virginia Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)
Appearance and Habitat: Found in woods, scrub, meadows and roadsides. A perennial growing to 0.4 m (1ft 2in). It is hardy to zone 7. It is in flower from Jun to October, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October.
Edible Uses: Leaves – raw or cooked. The very young shoots and leaves can be chopped and added to salads or cooked as a potherb. Flowers – raw. They make an attractive edible garnish.
Medicinal Uses: The roots are laxative. They are also used as a tea in the treatment of kidney and stomach ailments and women’s complaints. A poultice of the leaves is applied to stings, insect bites and cancers
( The reason I am listing this plant is because the flowers, normally blue to dark purple, turn to pink when radiation is present, if the normal color is not pink. There are exceptions, it is probably best to checkout Spiderworts in your area to make sure they don’t have pink flowers. I would also imagine that plants that grow further south would be in bloom prior to June. Note the long leaves on most varieties and the blue to purple flowers with 3 main petals, the leaves appear along the flower stem on opposite sides as the stem grows. )
Reproduced, in part, (as well as previous postings under this title) in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and is for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.