Elderberry – edible wild plant – how to find, identify, prepare, and other uses for survival.
Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
Elderberry is a many-stemmed shrub with opposite-pair, compound leaves. Each pinnate has 5-9 leaflets. It grows to a height of 6 meters (20 feet). Its flowers are fragrant, white, and borne in large flat-topped clusters up to 30 centimeters (12 inches) across. Each flower has five petals. Its berrylike fruits are dark blue/purple or black when ripe and are contained in drooping clusters.
Where to Find: This plant is found in open, usually wet areas at the margins of marshes, rivers, ditches, and lakes. It grows throughout much of eastern North America
Edible Parts: The flowers and ripe fruits are edible. You can make a drink by soaking the flower heads for 8 hours, discarding the flowers, and drinking the liquid. Do not eat unripe fruit and it contains cyanogenic glycoside and alkaloids which are considered toxic.
Other Uses: The leaves and inner bark can be used as an insecticide. The stems can be hollowed out and used for spouts or musical instruments.
Note: All other parts of the plant are poisonous and dangerous if eaten.