Elderberry

This is a stand of tall plants (about 7 or 8 feet tall) out in a big bramble of swamp roses and blackberries and poison ivy. I waded out into it but this is as close as I could get before it was just too thorny. From this distance, I could see the leaves well enough to make an identification: Elderberry!

Will produce black berries that are used to make wine and jelly. The berries are bitter–safe to eat, but the other parts can induce cyanide poisoning. Used medicinally for centuries. The branches are used to make flutes in eastern Europe. And in some regions, tradition prevents the cutting of elderberry trees for bonfires: “Elder be the Lady’s tree; burn it not or cursed ye’ll be.” Native.

Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)

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