I leave mine for the birds. I had asked in another post to have mine identified. (Resin, you ID'd mine). Found that I have several of them on the property. At least 9 of them!! So if anyone wants some, just let me know :)
In California you have to have an environmental impact report (EIR) done before you can remove or in any way alter elderberry plants, even on private property. It is a requirement under the Endangered Species Act because Sambucus nigra are the host plant for the endangered Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle (VELB), Desmocerus californicus dimorphus. The beedle has a parasitic relationship with the plant, and can only be found on plants growing within about 200ft of a perennial source of water, but an EIR is required regardless of where the plant is located. Not sure if it is the same case in other states, as I believe the beedle is endemic to CA, but just wanted to throw that out there for anyone in CA who might want to trade these plants. Be careful where you plant them and what you do with them! They do make delicious pies though- just follow a blueberry pie recipe.
Thanks you guys! I've watched these trees/shrubs for about a year now. Made notes of when they bloom, where they grow, etc. I was 99.9% sure they were elderberry, but wanted a second opinion.
It took me two years of studying the "blackberry brambles" I've got growing in the back field before I had enough guts to finally eat one ... ONE berry mind you, then I went to bed and was sure it would be the last thing I ever ate LOL
Bare in mind, we just moved here to AL a couple of years ago and having grown up in CA (in the city) all this "wilderness" is new to me. Everyday I walk through my 10 acres of "forest and jungle" (my husband says its just an "overgrown field with a few tree lines") and I am in awe of what I find.
When I lived in Alabama there were elderberry plants all along country roads and I had them wild in my yard in the county. I also had wild blackberries growing along my fence line. I tried to get rid of the blackberries as they had so many thorns on them and would snag me when I mowed the lawn on the riding mower.
dharma3 - you mentioned that you were 99% sure that they were elderberries - what was the 1% doubt that you had? And how did you learn about them (books on edible berries, from another person, or other ... )?
Here in Oregon we do not have the black ones (Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis), but do have 2 other native kinds:
"blue elderberry" (Sambucus cerulea) and "red elderberry" (Sambucus racemosa), both of which I've eaten.
The blue elderberries once grew fairly abundantly here when I first started collecting them "in the wilds" back in the early 1970s. The clusters were very thick and heavy on some of the larger trees, about twice the density (at least) as the one in your pic, with a couple pounds of berries per cluster it seems. Since the '70s, the trees have become much more scarce, largely due to urban development. One large grove of maybe 25 trees near here were cut by the highway department several years ago as part of a plan to remove native habitat for "homeless people" who were camping in the groves, thus destroying the prospects for hundreds of pounds of berries to be harvested on an annual basis. This grove was visited by many people (including myself) who knew about it.
I've experimented with the red elderberries on a much lesser extent on the southern Oregon coast where they are scattered here and there (never forming groves, at least none that I've seen). The fruit clusters are small and the berries are juicy, very tart and not very tasty, so I left them for the birds to enjoy - while I went for the salal berries and huckleberries.
I grew up in Alabama and elder usually grew around creeks and similar locations. If it is elder the stems are hollow with a soft pith in the center. We cut the stalks at the joints and pushed the pith out and made a pop gun that fired china berries by pushing one through the tube behind the other and the compressed air caused the front berry to fire with a loud pop,
We have them all over our farm land, country dirt road we live on and the biggest and best grow around the ponds.. Make great jam and delicious wine.. Always had to make my daughter syrup when she was growing up..Started out as an accident, or jelly not jelled, and became a tradition.