Is this elder flower, the one used in cordial?

Is this elder flower? The tree is about 15 feet tall, with these white flowers in June and black berries around Nov./ Dec.

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10 Comments

BoulderGalinTokyo June 18, 2012
As Maedl hinted, it does look like a lilac, with 4 petals to a flower in a cross design. Lilac is related to the olive family, similar flower with black berries (olives), so I was hoping this was elder flower. Looking at the cordial picture at Wiki it looks like the elder flower has 5 petals, more of a star shape. So I guess no cordial this season. Thanks to all for your imput!
 
chefsusie June 14, 2012
Perhaps you could take a branch or so to the local extension office, or a local nursery that has knowledgeable staff. They would likely be able to identify it. And help you find an elderberry bush too!
 
BoulderGalinTokyo June 18, 2012
Chefsusie, i thought that was a great idea, but they didn't seem to know it either. I will try some other nurseries. This is a problem of buying a 'planted' garden.
 
mainecook61 June 9, 2012
I concur. It's not an elderberry, at least as we know it in New England, which has flat, saucer-shaped umbrels of tiny flowers, blooms in July, and fruits in late summer.
 
BoulderGalinTokyo June 18, 2012
Umbrels--nice word, I forget Eng words I don't hear. Maine, I caught your earlier hotline posting about the cordial. So I'll agree maybe it isn't the right flower.
 
Maedl June 9, 2012
The photo is small, but it looks like some sort of lilac, not elder flower. But lilacs don't produce berries, do they?! Elder bushes usually grow in shady, moist areas and near old houses, gates, or barns--they were highly prized for medicinal properties and people planted them close to their homes. Elder flowers also have a distinctive scent that you often smell before you notice the bush. The individual blossoms have five petals and the blossom clump can be the size of a saucer.
 
BoulderGalinTokyo June 14, 2012
I agree it looks like a sort of lilac. And the bush is quite fragrant--I like the smell but my husband doesn't. The birds love these black berries. But the blossom clump is not round. The first picture is several clumps. Thanks Maedl.
 
BoulderGalinTokyo June 8, 2012
Greenstuff, thank you. Yes, we googled it and in Japanese Wiki. were given these Sambucus (great name) varieties.- I was thinking maybe the nigra or javanica. But you are right, my flowers are not in a round head.

I wanted to make Fillets of Sole with Elderflower (Filet de Sole Mme Obel) from the Cookbook Fit for a Royal Dane by the Prince Consort of Denmark. His picture looks like my flowers. So I was wondering.

Sambucus australis (Southern Elder; temperate eastern South America)
Sambucus canadensis (syn. S. nigra ssp canadensis; American Elder; eastern North America; with blue-black berries)
Sambucus cerulea (syn. S. caerulea, S. glauca; Blue Elderberry; western North America; dark blue-black berries with glaucous bloom on surface, giving them a sky-blue appearance)
Sambucus javanica (Chinese Elder; southeastern Asia)
Sambucus nigra (Elder or Black Elder; Europe and western Asia; with black berries) This is the species most often used medicinally.
Sambucus lanceolata (Madeira Elder; Madeira Island; with black berries)
Sambucus mexicana (Mexican Elder; Sonoran Desert; with black berries)
Sambucus palmensis (Canary Islands Elder; Canary Islands; with black berries)
Sambucus peruviana (Peruvian Elder; northwest South America; with black berries)
Sambucus simpsonii (Florida Elder; southeastern United States; with blue-black berries)
Sambucus velutina (Velvet Elder; southwestern North America; with blue-black berries)
 
Greenstuff June 8, 2012
That doesn't look right to me. In my experience, the flowerets are arranged in round, flattish groupings. Google "elderberry flower" and look at images to see what I mean.
 
BoulderGalinTokyo June 8, 2012
Here's a close up picture.
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