Elderberry, European Black (Sambucus nigra) packet of 30 seeds, organic

$3.95

Please note: We grow our own European black elderberry and supply seeds from the current crop only.

Family:  Honeysuckle (Caprifoliaceae)

Hardy to Zones 4 to 7

(Black Elder, Elder Berry, European Black Elderberry) Perennial, deciduous, multistemmed bush to small tree native to Europe.  Wild form.  The berries are large and tasty. Traditional usage (TWM): Colds, flu, immune enhancement.  Source of anthocyanins, bioflavonoids, vitamins and antioxidants, also a peculiar antiviral protein. The syrup, tincture or glycerite of these berries is traditionally used (TWM) for treating the common cold and for overall increase in immunity.  Cultivation: We are providing clean seeds from the new harvest.   Seed  best planted outdoors or in an unheated greenhouse or shadehouse soon after ripening (summer) to fall for germination the following spring.  Plant the seeds in moist, shady area–it is best to plant 1/2 inch deep in rich soil in flats or in gallon pots, as they take a long time to come up, and control is needed.   If outdoor treatment is not possible, give 70 days warm, moist conditions (70 degrees F), then refrigerate for 90 days, then plant in greenhouse or outdoor conditions.  If you soak the seeds before planting, do not be alarmed when the seeds float–floating elderberry seeds are viable!  Outdoor conditions are preferred–do not try to grow indoors in a bright window–oscillating temperatures are required. Sow seeds in very rich and composty soil medium–do not use sterilized medium–alive soils stimulate germination and mycorrhizal associations may begin early on.  Once germinated, the seedlings grow very rapidly.  Seedlings and adult trees are Nitrogen lovers–give chicken manure or copious amounts of compost for best results. Grow out in a shaded place in pots for a year before transplanting to final location.   Flowers generally appear in year 3. Flowers turn rapidly into heavy clusters of fruits.  Its probably a good idea to grow 3 trees for pollination purposes, although we have certainly seen good crops of fruit from a single tree grown in isolation.  Elderberries are best placed as an understory to a higher tree canopy. Will also grow in full sun if the roots are kept cool and moist.  Space trees at least 15 feet apart.
30  seeds/pkt, certified organically grown

 

 

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  1. Question

    Willow Whyte Lynch

    Are these European Elders invasive like the Canadensis varieties? I’m in Piedmont North Carolina, zone 7b and the Canadensis Elders were taking over the beds…
    Thank you!

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    • 2 out of 2 people found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi there, the Sambucus nigra European Form are not rhizomatous creepers, they are tree-like. r

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  2. Question

    Rongliang Hu

    Hello. I am in China. Could you tell where can I buy the fresh or dried black elderberry fruits? And how much? Could you recommend?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

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    • Luis Soto

      Hey Richo. Which Elderberry do you recommend for Florida – zone 9b…?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      The only good recommendation i have is Sambucus mexicana, which we do not have at the moment. please hit waitlist on that, it is quite heat tolerant. r

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    • Luis Soto

      Richo. So in the Mexicana post you state to sow in the fall or refrigerate for 90 days… If I buy the seeds now the latter would result in an early June sowing… Would this have an effect on its growth establishment? Or it wouldn’t matter so long as it’s a well shaded area..?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hello luis, as far as i know the stratification requirements of all the Sambucus are relatively similar. I think one can expect that the southerly ranging S. mexicana might need less cold treatment than the european species, but cold is going to be necessary for all of them, and the process can be used interchangeably. Yes, you’re right, since the plant is slow-growing it really is a moot point as to when the seed comes up, you’re going to have to keep the seedling moist and shaded for a year or two anyway before you can set it to landscape. Recap: plant these things in season and use outdoor method, or plant them out of season and use refrigerator technique. r

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    • Luis Soto

      Cool. Thanks for always getting back in such timely manner! Last question… how does Mexicana rate in medicinal/nutritional value vs. European..?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      The European Black Elderberry is #1 medicinally. Many people living in warmer climes e.g. florida, texas, s california, etc. cannot grow this european type–it doesn’t do well for them. In this case they can grow the heat-tolerant Mexican Elderberry, which really does make good edible berries (don’t eat the seeds) and good elderberry syrup. richo

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    • Luis Soto

      Great. So, one more question I guess… What are its medicinal usage? Where’d you’d rank this variety?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Luis, I refer you to my book “Making Plant Medicine” which discusses this in depth. If it is hard for you to get ahold of the book then perhaps it will make sense to you when I say that there’s an intact tradition of using Sambucus nigra in health care that goes back to the Ebers papyrus (1550 BC). Richo

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  3. Question

    Pam james

    Will the European black nigra elderberry seed grow and produce fruit in Hawaii.? I live coastal

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi pam, probably not, they require a cold winter dormancy. r

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  4. Question

    Amy

    Can you ship to St. Lucia?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Amy, Thanks for writing. If you can manage to order, we will ship, and we cannot guarantee receipt. Richo

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  5. Question

    Maria

    Hi ,
    I’m interested in buying the European black elderberry seeds for medicinal porpoises …
    But wand to plant them up north in Greece …
    What would my results be…? ?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Maria,
      We cannot ship seeds to any country in the EU. In answer to your question, the European Black Elderberry is the natural choice for northern Greece and it will grow well there. I hope you can find a local source.
      Richo

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  6. Question

    Ck (verified owner)

    I’m thinking of starting these seeds soon. However, I’m not sure if I should start them outdoors or in the fridge. My planting zone is 5b.

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      Hello Ck,
      Just to give you some perspective, the Elderberry seeds that I planted in August are now germinating in March of the next year–a 7 month induction period. At this time of year I would say refrigerator stratification is your best approach.
      Richo

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    • Deborah Hall

      Do elderberry trees need other elderberry trees for pollination? Thanks.

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    • Diana

      Diana

      In the past, I have successfully germinated thousands of seeds from a self-fertile Sambucus nigra. I have heard that some of the select varieties are not self-fertile.

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    • Monica A

      Hello,
      This question concerns making elderberry syrup. I hope I am posting in the right place. I have bought your book Making Plant Medicine. How long does home prepared syrup last? I am reading in some places just a month or two? I want to make syrup from this year’s crop and was planning to make several bottles since this is the most efficient. Can I keep in the fridge for 6-8 months or should I freeze? Hard to find the answer the question so turning to a trusted source:) Thank you!

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Monica,
      Page 79 of 4th edition “Making Plant Medicine.”:
      8) Bottle the syrup in amber tincture bottles or jars. The glycerin preparation may be stored in a cool place out of the light, while the honey preparation is probably best kept refrigerated. The shelf-life is 1 year.
      Beyond that recommendation, I would avoid freezing. it is just unnecessary and degrades the product. richo

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    • Monica A

      Thank you for your prompt and detailed answer answer.

      The other question concerns your elderberry syrup recipe: you say to put dried berries in boiling water overnight and then the next day blend in a mixer (I have used Vitamix)
      Your recipe is somewhat unique in using that blending step. Given that these berries have cyanide, do you think blending them to a mush in a high speed blender could release some of the berries’ cyanide? You must have a reason for blending them I am sure.

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Monika, The blending step is necessary to allow for extraction of the juice and pulp. As for the seeds, cooked seeds are not toxic, and this method even removes the seeds. The main problem is when a recipe doesn’t cook the seeds or doesn’t remove them. r

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    • Monica A

      Thank you for always responding so promptly (and offering your many wonderful pants)

      In making your elderberry syrup recipe this morning I wanted to share the following. For step 4 where you talk about removing the seeds, I use a fine mesh colander placed over a tallish container. Pour blended berries into colander, let strain about 45-60 minutes and finish off by placing the seeds in a potato ricer and squeezing over the fine mesh colander. This release the remaining from the seeds. Works very well. Most people probably won’t have a tincture press.

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    • Emily W

      If I order seeds now (we’re in Michigan), would I want to plant them in pots outside and let them winter here? Or would I want to save them and put them in the refrigerator until spring and plant then?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Emily, Yes, you would want to plant them outside. Developing a proper outdoor propagation scenario takes growers to the next level–about 50% of temperate species do best when sown outdoors. This is because the oscillating temperatures and natural precipitation are much better at leaching germination inhibitors than any other method. Yes, you would extract the seeds according to directions, plant them in a deep flat or a pot, screen against rodents and put outside. Sure, they will probably freeze right away. that’s fine. They will thaw from time to time in the winter, and then they will warm up in the spring and germinate and grow. I don’t know any other way to do this successfully.
      Richo

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