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Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Elder is a deciduous shrub that grows very quickly. Leaves are present from March through to November and it is in flower from June to July, the berries ripening from August to September (7). The aromatic flowers are pollinated by small flies and other insects (2) The uses of elder, of leaves, bark, wood, flowers and berries are many and varied. The shrub has been used for centuries as a fast-growing hedgerow plant (6). The hard heart wood was highly valued and the pith, one of the world's lightest natural solids, is still used today for holding small biological specimens in microscopy (4). Hollowed-out stems make excellent pea-shooters and 'guns' for children (4). The leaves have been used to protect livestock from flies, and for various medicinal purposes, including soothing wounds, bruises and headaches. Indeed, elder was something of a cure-all, with every part of the shrub being used to treat a plethora of ills ranging from toothache to the plague. The use of the bark as a purgative dates back to Hippocrates, while today, elder flower water is still used for skin problems and as an eye wash (6). The main surviving uses for elder are culinary. Elder-flower cordial and wine (once known as elder-flower champagne) are still popular today. The berries are made into jellies, jams, syrups, wines, and relishes and the flowers can be battered, fried and eaten as fritters (5).
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As tasty and edible the (processed) berries and flowers may be, the green parts of the elder are poisonous. Only red deer are able to digest them. Elder grows just about everywhere in the Netherlands, in the wild as well as cultivated, in forests, dunes and river valleys. As long as there is nitrogen available, elder is happy. Thanks to sea buckthorn, which adds nitrogen to the soil, elderberry bushes can take root in young developing dunes relatively close to the sea. The black, shiny berries ripen in the autumn, coinciding with the migration of many (hungry) birds.
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Description

The elder is not quite large enough to be classed as a tree, but is too large for a bush (4). It is a strange 'tree' of many contrasts. The heartwood is extremely hard, yet the branches are weak and barely able to support themselves. It produces clumps of creamy-white sweet-smelling flowers (2) but the leaves give off an unpleasant pungent smell, similar to the smell of mice nests, as the alternative name 'God's stinking tree' attests (4). Elder berries are small, globe shaped and a deep purplish-black in colour, and have been harvested for centuries for a huge range of purposes (4). Elder is the focus of a rich wealth of folk lore, and has many magical associations (5). The name 'elder' derives from the Anglo-Saxon word aeld, meaning fire. This may have arisen from the practice of using the hollow stems of the elder as bellows to encourage fires (4) (5). It was, however, extremely bad luck to burn elder wood; if this happened the Devil was said to appear, explaining another local name 'Devil's wood' (5). Conversely it was said to keep the Devil away if planted close to a house (4). Some of these old superstitions linger today; many modern hedge-cutters refuse to attack an elder for fear of bad luck (6). The hollow branches are the origins of yet another (this time Scottish) name 'bour-tree'; bour means pipe (4). The cross used to crucifix Jesus is said to have been made of elder wood, and the elder was tree on which Judas hanged himself (4).
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Comprehensive Description

Miscellaneous Details

"Notes: Western Ghats, Cultivated, Native of Mediterranean Region"
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Tamil Nadu: Nilgiri
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Range

Common throughout Britain with the exception of northern Scotland up to altitudes of 470 m (2) (3) and has been introduced to Orkney and Shetland (2). It is widespread in Europe but becomes scarce in the extreme north. It is also found in western Asia, North Africa and the Azores (2).
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Distribution: Europe and Asia.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

A small tree, up to 10 m tall. Stem lenticellate. Leaves exstipulate or stipules inconspicuous; leaflets 5-7, oval to ovate, 3-7 x 1.5-4 cm; margin serrate; apex acute; surface glabrous to strigose; veins strigose. Inflorescence corymbose, up to 15 cm in diameter. Pedicel jointed. Bracteole minute, glandular below the joint. Hypanthium turbinate, c. 1 mm long. Calyx 5-toothed, minute. Corolla rotate with 5, almost round lobes; lobe 1.5 mm long, 3-nerved. Anthers oblong, 1 mm long, filament 2 mm long. Stigmas 3, almost sessile. Fruit globose, black, 5-6 mm in diameter. Pyrenes oblong, 3.5 mm long, surface rugose.
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

Habit: Tree
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Ecology

Habitat

Thrives in disturbed fertile soils in a wide range of habitats including waste ground, roadsides, woods, grassland and railway banks (3). It is very tolerant of rabbit grazing and is a common feature around warrens (2).
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Associations

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / parasite
fruitbody of Agrocybe cylindracea parasitises branch of Sambucus nigra

Plant / associate
adult of Aneurus avenius is associated with dead twig of Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / sap sucker
Aphis sambuci sucks sap of live shoot of Sambucus nigra
Remarks: season: 6-7
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / pathogen
Armillaria mellea s.l. infects and damages Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / saprobe
scattered or in groups of 2-6+, immersed, black pycnidium of Ascochyta coelomycetous anamorph of Ascochyta deformis is saprobic on dead twig of Sambucus nigra
Remarks: season: 4-5

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Athelia salicum is saprobic on dead wood of Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Auricularia auricula-judae is saprobic on wood of Sambucus nigra
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Calocera viscosa is saprobic on decayed wood of Sambucus nigra
Remarks: Other: uncertain

Foodplant / spot causer
amphigenous colony of Cercospora dematiaceous anamorph of Cercospora depazeoides causes spots on live leaf of Sambucus nigra
Remarks: season: 8-9

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Clitocybe americana is saprobic on dead, decayed wood of Sambucus nigra
Remarks: Other: uncertain

Foodplant / saprobe
gregarious, immersed, plurilocular stroma of Cytospora coelomycetous anamorph of Cytospora sambuci is saprobic on dead, locally bleached branch of Sambucus nigra
Remarks: season: 10

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Dacrymyces enatus is saprobic on decayed wood of Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / saprobe
bracket of Daedaleopsis confragosa is saprobic on dead wood of Sambucus nigra
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / feeds on
pycnidium of Diplodia coelomycetous anamorph of Diplodia sambucina feeds on Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / parasite
Erysiphe lonicerae parasitises Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Exidiopsis calcea is saprobic on dead, decayed wood of Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Flammulina velutipes var. velutipes is saprobic on dead wood of Sambucus nigra
Remarks: season: mainly winter

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Hapalopilus nidulans is saprobic on dead, decayed wood of Sambucus nigra
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Hohenbuehelia atrocaerulea is saprobic on dead, decayed wood of Sambucus nigra
Other: minor host/prey

Plant / associate
fruitbody of Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca is associated with Sambucus nigra
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Hyphodontia crustosa is saprobic on dead, decayed wood of Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Hyphodontia rimosissima is saprobic on dead, fallen, decayed wood of Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Hyphodontia sambuci is saprobic on living bark of Sambucus nigra
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Inonotus radiatus is saprobic on dead, standing trunk of Sambucus nigra
Remarks: Other: uncertain
Other: unusual host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
caespitose fruitbody of Kuehneromyces mutabilis is saprobic on decayed, dead stump (large) of Sambucus nigra
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Lachnella alboviolascens is saprobic on dead branch (small) of Sambucus nigra
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Leucoagaricus serenus is saprobic on dead, decayed leaf of litter of Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / miner
larva of Liriomyza amoena mines leaf of Sambucus nigra
Other: sole host/prey

Foodplant / open feeder
nocturnal larva of Macrophya albicincta grazes on leaf of Sambucus nigra
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / open feeder
nocturnal larva of Macrophya ribis grazes on leaf of Sambucus nigra
Other: sole host/prey

Foodplant / parasite
acervulus of Marssonina coelomycetous anamorph of Marssonina sambuci parasitises live Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Meripilus giganteus is saprobic on dead trunk (large) of Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Monodictys dematiaceous anamorph of Monodictys asperospora is saprobic on Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Neolentinus lepideus is saprobic on dead, decayed wood of Sambucus nigra
Remarks: Other: uncertain

Foodplant / parasite
fruitbody of Oxyporus populinus parasitises live wood of Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / saprobe
imbricate or clustered fruitbody of Panellus serotinus is saprobic on dead, fallen, decayed branch (large) of Sambucus nigra
Remarks: season: mainly late 11-2

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Panellus stipticus is saprobic on live trunk (wounded) of Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Peniophora boidinii is saprobic on dead wood of Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Pholiota aurivella is saprobic on dead, fallen, decayed wood of Sambucus nigra
Remarks: Other: uncertain

Foodplant / spot causer
epiphyllous, scattered, immersed, sometimes few pycnidium of Phyllosticta coelomycetous anamorph of Phoma exigua var. exigua causes spots on fading leaf of Sambucus nigra
Remarks: season: 7-10

Foodplant / saprobe
subepidermal, erumpent pycnidium of Phomopsis coelomycetous anamorph of Phomopsis sambucella is saprobic on dead branch of Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / saprobe
gregarious, covered then pustulate and tearing through pycnidium of Phomopsis coelomycetous anamorph of Phomopsis sambucina is saprobic on dead twig of Sambucus nigra
Remarks: season: 10-7

Foodplant / parasite
fruitbody of Phylloporia ribis parasitises live trunk of Sambucus nigra
Other: unusual host/prey

Foodplant / spot causer
numerous pycnidium of Phyllosticta coelomycetous anamorph of Phyllosticta sambucicola causes spots on live leaf of Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Pleurotus dryinus is saprobic on live, standing trunk of Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Pluteus salicinus is saprobic on dead, decayed wood of Sambucus nigra
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Polyporus brumalis is saprobic on dead, still attached to fallen tree twig of Sambucus nigra
Remarks: season: early winter-early spring
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / spot causer
mainly hypophyllous colony of Ramularia hyphomycetous anamorph of Ramularia sambucina causes spots on live leaf of Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Resupinatus applicatus is saprobic on dead, decayed wood of Sambucus nigra
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Rigidoporus ulmarius is saprobic on dead, white-rotted stump of Sambucus nigra

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Skeletocutis nivea is saprobic on dead, fallen, decayed stick of Sambucus nigra
Other: minor host/prey

Plant / resting place / on
larva of Thrips sambuci may be found on live Sambucus nigra
Remarks: season: 5,7-9

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Vuilleminia comedens is saprobic on dead, decorticate, attached branch of Sambucus nigra
Other: unusual host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Vuilleminia coryli is saprobic on dead, decorticate, attached branch of Sambucus nigra
Other: unusual host/prey

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flower/Fruit

Fl.Per.: May.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Sambucus nigra

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Sambucus nigra

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 16
Specimens with Barcodes: 42
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Status

Not threatened (3).
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Threats

The elder is not threatened.
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Management

Conservation

Conservation action is not required for this species at present.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Uses

Uses: MEDICINE/DRUG

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Wikipedia

Sambucus nigra

Sambucus nigra is a species complex of flowering plants in the family Caprifoliaceae this is an old family classification and was moved to the family Adoxaceae – adoxas. native to most of Europe.[1] Common names include elder, elderberry, black elder, European elder, European elderberry and European black elderberry.[2][3] It grows in a variety of conditions including both wet and dry fertile soils, primarily in sunny locations.

Description[edit]

Fruit cluster
Flowers

It is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 6 m (20 ft) tall and wide[4] (rarely 10m tall). The bark, light grey when young, changes to a coarse grey outer bark with lengthwise furrowing. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, 10–30 cm long, pinnate with five to seven (rarely nine) leaflets, the leaflets 5–12 cm long and 3–5 cm broad, with a serrated margin.

The hermaphrodite flowers are borne in large, flat corymbs 10–25 cm diameter in late spring to mid summer, the individual flowers ivory white, 5–6 mm diameter, with five petals; they are pollinated by flies.

The fruit is a glossy dark purple to black berry 3–5 mm diameter, produced in drooping clusters in late autumn;[4] they are an important food for many fruit-eating birds, notably blackcaps.

Natural range of North American Sambucus nigra subspecies.

Subspecies[edit]

See also: Sambucus

There are several other closely related species, native to Asia and North America, which are similar, and sometimes treated as subspecies of Sambucus nigra. The blue or Mexican elderberry, Sambucus mexicana, is now generally treated as one or two subspecies of Sambucus nigra subsp. canadensis[5] and Sambucus nigra subsp. caerulea.[6]

Michael and Vikram S. nigra is recorded as very common in Ireland in hedges as scrub in woods.[7][8]

Cultivation[edit]

Some selections and cultivars have variegated or coloured leaves and other distinctive qualities, and are grown as ornamental plants.

The following cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:-

Culinary uses[edit]

Elderberry Jam

The dark blue/purple berries can be eaten when fully ripe but are mildly poisonous in their unripe state.[12] All green parts of the plant are poisonous, containing cyanogenic glycosides (Vedel & Lange 1960). The berries are edible after cooking and can be used to make jam, jelly, chutney and Pontack sauce.

The flowerheads are commonly used in infusions, giving a very common refreshing drink in Northern Europe and Balkans. Commercially these are sold as elderflower cordial, etc. In Europe, the flowers are made into a syrup or cordial (in Romanian: Socată, in Swedish: fläder(blom)saft), which is diluted with water before drinking. The popularity of this traditional drink has recently encouraged some commercial soft drink producers to introduce elderflower-flavoured drinks (Fanta Shokata, Freaky Fläder). The flowers can also be dipped into a light batter and then fried to make elderflower fritters. In Scandinavia and Germany, soup made from the elder berry (e.g. the German Fliederbeersuppe) is a traditional meal.

Both flowers and berries can be made into elderberry wine, and in Hungary an elderberry brandy is made that requires 50 kg of fruit to produce 1 litre of brandy. In south-western Sweden, it is traditional to make a snaps liqueur flavoured with elderflower. Elderflowers are also used in liqueurs such as St. Germain and a mildly alcoholic sparkling elderflower 'champagne'.

In Beerse, Belgium, a variety of Jenever called Beers Vlierke is made from the berries.

Medicinal[edit]

The medicinal Jelly Ear fungus is frequently found on Elder trees.
Sambuci flos: Dried Sambucus nigra flowers as used in herbal tea

This plant is traditionally used as a medicinal plant by many native peoples and herbalists alike.[13][14] Stembark, leaves, flowers, fruits, and root extracts are used to treat bronchitis, cough, upper respiratory cold infections, fever.

In a placebo-controlled, double-blind study, black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) was shown to be effective for treating Influenza B.[15] People using the elderberry extract recovered much faster than those only on a placebo. The study was published in the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine.

A small study published in 2004 showed that 93% of flu patients given extract were completely symptom-free within two days; those taking a placebo recovered in about six days. This current study shows that it works for type A flu, reports lead researcher Erling Thom, with the University of Oslo in Norway.[16] Just like all FDA approved pharmaceutical drugs the study that showed these results was sponsored by the company that produces the product.[citation needed] Further study confirmed the beneficial effect of elderberry on Influenza.[17]

Elderberry flowers are sold in Ukrainian and Russian drugstores for relief of congestion, specifically as an expectorant to relieve dry cough and make it productive. The dried flowers are simmered for 15 minutes, the resulting flavorful and aromatic tea is poured through a coffee filter. Some individuals find it better hot, others cold, and some may experience an allergic reaction.

Sambucus nigra fruits and flowers have been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally (fruits as tea, jelly, juice, or syrup; flowers as tea or syrup) for treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract, mouth, gastrointestinal tract, skin, viral infections, fever, colds and flu.[18]

The flowers can be used to make an herbal tea as a remedy for inflammation caused by colds and fever.[19]

Diseases[edit]

Elder Whitewash fungus (Hyphodontia sambuci).

Like other elderberries, Sambucus nigra is subject to Elder Whitewash fungus.

Wildlife value[edit]

An Elder growing as an epiphyte on a Sycamore

Elder rates as fair to good forage for animals such as mule deer, elk, sheep and small birds. It is classified as nesting habitat for many birds, including hummingbirds, warblers, and vireos. Elderberries are a favorite food for migrating Band-Tailed pigeons in Northern California, which may sometimes strip an entire bush in a short amount of time.

It is also good cover for large and small mammals.[20]

Elder is cited as a poisonous plant to mammals and as a weed in certain habitats.[21] All parts of the plant except for the flowers and ripe berries (but including the ripe seeds) are poisonous, containing the cyanogenic glycoside sambunigrin (C14H17NO6, CAS number 99-19-4).[22] The bark contains calcium oxalate crystals.

Other uses[edit]

The strong-smelling foliage was used in the past, tied to a horse's mane, to keep flies away while riding.[citation needed] The fruits can be used to make a wine, while the flowers are used to make Elderflower cordial .[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sambucus nigra at Flora Europaea
  2. ^ "Sambucus nigra". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. 
  3. ^ Sambucus nigra at USDA PLANTS Database
  4. ^ a b RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Michael and Vikram: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964. 
  5. ^ "Sambucus mexicana". Calflora. Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  6. ^ "Sambucus nigra ssp. caerulea". Calflora. Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  7. ^ Hackney, P. 1992. Stewarts and Corry's Flora of the North-east of Ireland. Institute of Irish Studies The Queen's University of Belfast. ISBN 0 85389 446 9(HB)
  8. ^ Webb, D.A., Parnell, J. and Doogue, D. 1996. Dundalgan Press Ltd, Dundalk. ISBN 0-85221-131-7
  9. ^ "RHS Plant Selector Sambucus nigra 'Aurea' AGM / RHS Gardening". Apps.rhs.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  10. ^ "RHS Plant Selector Sambucus nigra f. laciniata AGM / RHS Gardening". Apps.rhs.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  11. ^ "RHS Plant Selector Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla 'Gerda' PBR AGM / RHS Gardening". Apps.rhs.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  12. ^ Professor Julia Morton, University of Miami
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ "Mojave Desert Large Shrubs and Vines". Offroadinghome.djmed.net. Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  15. ^ Zakay-Rones, Z; Varsano, N; Zlotnik, M; Manor, O; Regev, L; Schlesinger, M; Mumcuoglu, M (1995). "Inhibition of Several Strains of Influenza Virus in Vitro and Reduction of Symptoms by an Elderberry Extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an Outbreak of Influenza B Panama" (PDF). J Altern Complement Med 1 (4): 361–9. doi:10.1089/acm.1995.1.361. PMID 9395631. Retrieved September 8, 2009. 
  16. ^ Zakay-Rones, Z; Thom, E; Wollan, T; Wadstein, J (April 2004). "Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections". Journal of International Medical Research 32 (2): 132–140. doi:10.1177/147323000403200205. PMID 15080016. 
  17. ^ Kinoshita, E; Hayashi, K; Katayama, H; Hayashi, T; Obata, A (2012) [original online publication: 7 September 2012]. "Anti-influenza virus effects of elderberry juice and its fractions". Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry 76 (9): 1633–1638. doi:10.1271/bbb.120112. PMID 22972323. 
  18. ^ Vogl, S; Picker, P; Mihaly-Bison, J; Fakhrudin, N; Atanasov, AG; Heiss, EH; Wawrosch, C; Reznicek, G; Dirsch, VM; Saukel, J; Kopp, B (7 October 2013) [Epub ahead of print: 13 June 2013]. "Ethnopharmacological in vitro studies on Austria's folk medicine - An unexplored lore in vitro anti-inflammatory activities of 71 Austrian traditional herbal drugs". J Ethnopharmacol 149 (3): 750–771. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2013.06.007. PMC 3791396. PMID 23770053. doi:pii: S0378-8741(13)00410-8. 
  19. ^ Harokopakis, E; Albzreh, MH; Haase, EM; Scannapieco, FA; Hajishengallis, G (February 2006). "Inhibition of Proinflammatory Activities of Major Periodontal Pathogens by Aqueous Extracts From Elder Flower (Sambucus nigra)". Journal of Periodontology 77 (2): 271–279. doi:10.1902/jop.2006.050232. Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  20. ^ CONSIDERATIONS
  21. ^ Sambucus nigra at Germplasm Resources Information Network
  22. ^ Campa, C; Schmitt-Kopplin, P; Cataldi, TR; Bufo, SA; Freitag, D; Kettrup, A (2000). "Analysis of cyanogenic glycosides by micellar capillary electrophoresis". Journal of Chromatography B 739: 95–100. doi:10.1016/S0378-4347(99)00375-8. PMID 10744317. 
  23. ^ Kikbracken, J. 1995. Easy way guide Trees. Larousse.

Further reading[edit]

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Notes

Comments

Elder is cultivated. The pith is used in laboratories for cutting sections.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: In addition to European elders (Sambucus nigra ssp. nigra), this record includes plants native to North America sometimes called S. canadensis, here treated as S. nigra ssp. canadensis, western North American plants sometimes called S. cerulea, here treated as S. nigra ssp. caerulea, and plants of southwestern North America sometimes called S. mexicana, here subsumed into S. nigra ssp. canadensis.

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© NatureServe

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