Elderberry is a wonderful plant that is increasingly found in areas of domestic gardeners. It pleases with its not only truly decorative properties, but also with a host of useful qualities that make it a great option for creating garden compositions.
Despite the fact that the elderberry genus has about 40 plant species, not all of them are cultivated. And we will talk about the most common types and varieties below.
Cultivated plant species and their varieties
This type of elderberry, also often called red, is the most common and most common.
Initially, Western Europe was considered the birthplace of the plant, and it was from there that it was imported to Russia at the end of the distant 16th century. In our conditions, the elderberry liked it, and it perfectly naturalized here.
This species of plant has a 3-meter height and a very magnificent, rounded crown in shape. It has unpaired leaves of 3-7 petals, inflorescences are located mainly in the upper part of the bush, and from below it is exposed. When the leaves bloom in the spring, they have a purple-violet hue, while young shoots are purple-violet. Older trees have a grayish-brown bark, which shows longitudinal wrinkles. Together with leaves on the shrub, roundish yellowish-white inflorescences are formed. The flowers contain a lot of nectar, because they are attractive to insects, and are melliferous. In July, bright red fruits appear, which, however, are poisonous, but with the right approach can be used for medicinal purposes. These berries are very fond of pecking birds, involuntarily contributing to the spread of elderberries. The smell of the plant repels pests and rodents, allows you to save the garden from such unpleasant insects as aphids and caterpillars. It has been noted more than once that in rooms with elderberry branches there are no flies and mosquitoes.
Red elderberry has been used in culture since 1596, and at the moment several decorative varieties of it are known. The most beautiful of them is Plumosa Aurea, which has golden yellow leaves. Sutherland Gold variety also has gold leaflets, which is even reflected in its name, but they are less dissected, the color burns out in the strong sun, and therefore it is advisable to choose penumbra areas for planting the shrub. A very powerful and beautiful plant with dissected leaves is Laciniata, Spectabilis has white flowers, and Flavescens boasts yellow fruits. Tenuifolia is known as a low bush with weeping shoots.
This species is very similar to red elderberry, but has its own distinctive features: bristly hairs on leaves, axes of inflorescence and stems. This variety grows in Siberia, in the Far East, although it is rarely found even in the European part of Russia. In Moscow conditions, the plant reaches only three meters in height, and begins to bear fruit from 2-3 years of age.
The homeland of this variety is China, Japan and the Far East. Under natural conditions, it lives among thickets of shrubs, in river valleys, reaching eight meters in height. In Moscow, the bush height rarely exceeds 2.5 meters. The leaves of this species are complex, 6-20 in length and with a serrated edge.
Their color is yellowish-white, and they gather in inflorescences. Fruits of red color, small size. This species prefers heat. Cultivated since 1907.
This species, according to the name, is widespread in Kamchatka, mainly preferring the fertile soils of deciduous forests. In conditions of natural habitat, the height of the bush is 4 m. In modern Moscow conditions, the bush survives and even reaches more than two meters in height. It has red fruits and white-cream inflorescences.
The homeland of the variety is the eastern part of North America, in whose territory it is found in the undergrowth of mixed and coniferous forests. Plant height reaches 4-8 meters in nature, in Moscow - 2 meters. The leaves are 5-10 centimeters in length, oval-oblong in shape.
The bush begins to bloom from the age of three with yellowish-white flowers, small in size. The fruits of the plant are bright red, fiery color. The species has been known in culture since 1812. Has several decorative varieties, such as Dissecta (with amazing deeply cut leaves); Leucocarpa (with whitish fruits); Xanthocarpa (yellow-orange fruits).
Black elderberry, which is widely used in Ukraine, Russia, Western Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, is distinguished by the greatest decorativeness and, in addition, edible fruits. This is a fairly tall shrub of 3.5 meters. The leaves are large, unpaired, consisting of 5 petals with a slightly unpleasant odor. In late June, large white corymbose inflorescences appear. The flowers are whitish-cream in color, small in size and very fragrant.
Fruits are shiny black drupes, after ripening they can be eaten. They have a sweet and sour taste, are used raw and processed. It should be remembered that the roots, leaves and bark of the plant are poisonous. Sometimes this variety does not bear fruit, but it is fixable!
Absolutely all varieties and forms of black elderberry are considered to be decorative. For example, the Aurea variety, which is a bush 3 meters high, has golden yellow leaves and begins to bloom from 6 years.
The variety Laciniata has a very beautiful, openwork crown, and Acutiloba has noticeably indented leaves. In varieties Aureomarginata and Madonna, the leaves are surrounded by a gold border, which makes them even more attractive and decorative. Shrub 1-2 meter high with variegated leaves is a variety of Pulverulenta. He can even note an unusual marble pattern on the leaves, which is formed due to small strokes and dots. The Purpurea variety got its name thanks to the bright purple foliage. Guincho Purple looks especially wonderful in autumn when its dark purple leaves turn fiery red. Gerda and Black Beauty are known for their delicate pink inflorescences, as well as purple-crimson autumn leaves.
Pretty cute is the dwarf black elderberry variety - Witches Broom. This bush reaches 20 centimeters in height, has dark green leaves, but there are no flowers on it.
In the Netherlands, Denmark and Austria, special fruiting varieties were developed - Danau, Corsair, Hamburg and Sambu, which are distinguished by their non-shedding berries. In the United States, a separate variety was selected by breeders - Adam Eldercerry, whose yield is about 7-10 kg of berries from the bush.
Elderberry is used to make jelly, juice, jelly, candy, marmalade, jam, mashed potatoes, syrup. It is also often used as a tint for grape juice or wine. Inflorescences of the plant are sometimes added to cookies or to wine to give them the smell of nutmeg. Many dishes and drinks using these berries are recommended for use when detecting cardiovascular and renal diseases.
This species is quite interesting and, remarkably, is well resistant to frost. At the same time, the variety has little differences from black elderberry, except that it stands out with larger fruits, leaves and clusters of fruits. The historical homeland of the plant is North America, in the territory of which the bush develops up to 4 meters in height. In Moscow conditions, it grows to 2-3 meters. Canadian elderberry leaves consist of 7 petals. Flowers gather in large inflorescences, reaching 25 cm in diameter. Flowering and fruiting starts from 3 years. The fruits are black in color, have a sweet and sour taste, they are also edible after ripening in September. Often also used to make jam or jam.
This species has been known since 1761, has many decorative forms and varieties. These include Aurea with golden yellow leaves, as well as cherry-colored fruits; Chlorocarpa with amber, gold leaves and green fruits. The following American varieties are distinguished by particularly large inflorescences and productivity: Adams, Maxima, Victoria, Jones, York, Kent.
This plant species also came from North America, but from more western areas. It is a tall shrub or small tree, sometimes reaching 15 in height. Prefers riverbanks and streams for growth. The leaves have 5-7 petals and an oblong-lanceolate shape, the inflorescences are white-yellow in color, the fruits are bluish-black. Known since 1850.
This species is often found in nature in southern Russia, the Caucasus, Belarus and Ukraine. He loves the edges of forests, banks of streams, rivers, ravines. A distinctive feature of the species is the terrestrial non-wooding part of the plant, which dies in winter. In the suburbs, it also blooms, but the fruits almost never ripen to the end. It should be borne in mind that elderberry berries are poisonous, since they contain a lot of acid.
More information about the planting and care of elderberries can be found in this article.