I was just up near Erie, Pennsylvania and the elder flowers were in full bloom. They were beautiful. If we hadn’t been in a state park, I would have picked a basket full and laid them out to dry in our hotel room, but we also weren’t there long enough, so I had to settle for photos.Elder (sambucus) is the “Herb of the Year” this year. Another friend and I were working on a presentation to give for the local herb society and another presentation for another herb group in town. The surgery in January had us cancelling our presentation and rescheduled it for March. Unfortunately, I ended up in the hospital a few days before both presentation, so my friend carried don without me.
One of the recipes that we talked about was for Elderflower and Peppermint Tea. The last thing I needed was to come down with a cold or the flu, so this was the tea I drank all through the winter to keep healthy. Either I was lucky and didn’t come down with any winter sniffles or the tea did the trick.
- 1 tsp dried elderflowers
- 1 tsp dried peppermint
There are two types of Elder that grow in our area (out of 25). Sambucus canadensis, which is the elder in the above photos. This elder is herbaceous and requires more water. You will usually find it neat river or creek beds where it can get the moisture that it needs. The other is Sambucus nigra (or mexicana) – this variety is found in drier, more desert-like areas.
I have planted both in our back yard. The deer LOVE both of them, so there have been some major set-backs in growing them. The Sambucas canadensis is doing well, now that I have a fence around it. It had one beautiful bloom on it, and those darn deer found a way to get their noses through the fence and get at it…. I am hoping for more blooms, but so far there are none.
The Sambucus nigra that I have planted, is only 9″ high and still in need of a fence. I also realize that I need to move it to a sunnier location, so this winter I will do that. I hope then, it will thrive and grow (with a fence around it!)
Do you have elder growing in your area?