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European Black Elderberry Sambucus Nigra Seeds
Packet of 25+ freshly harvested seeds!
Very beautiful and delicious plant used for centuries, both as a food and as a medicinal.
Two important things to note so I will get them out of the way straight up to avoid any dramas.
First off, it is poisonous raw. Every single part of the plant, the flower, leaf, fruit and the root contains a poison.
This poison is present in very very low levels, and is readily broken down by heat, so cooking is needed to make it safe to eat.
If eaten raw there is a low level of toxicity and generally if you only eat a little, there is very little if any negative effects.
This is what causes the issues, as just because you ate a little and nothing happened, does not mean it is a good idea to eat a little more. It is well know to be toxic raw, this is knowledge humans have had for centuries, so just don’t eat it raw. 😉 Simple really!
Symptoms of poisoning are generally nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and if you eat enough, or are poisoned using concentrated medicinal extractions, coma and finally even death, all due to the naturally occurring cyanogenic glycoside and alkaloids.
Ok, so now you understand that, I will move on to propagation.
This guy is from colder places that here where I am in Australia, and because of that, he needs to make sure the winter is over, before he sends up tender little shoots.
That cold snap is the signal for growth, and without it, he will just wait and wait forever.
This is not a seed freshness issue, this is built in deliberate dormancy, an adaption necessary for survival where he comes from. The seeds NEED cold stratification, or a very long time sitting dormant in moist soil before they germinate, especially when very fresh like mine are. “GA3” treatment also works well.
When I originally got them years ago it was about now, just starting to cool off.
My gardening knowledge was limited, and I knew bugger all about dormancy, but as luck would have it, things worked out perfect regardless.
I planted as per normal, in a nice sandy soil mix, and watered ever couple days if I felt they needed it, and eventually just every couple weeks, then finally never, as I lost interest.
Winter came and went, and still no sign of shoots, and it was only when the weather warmed up and I started to sieve and recycle the potting mix I noticed a whole heap of weeds I didn’t recognize. This was months and months later.
Those “weeds” were actually these guys kicking into gear as the warmer Spring weather had sprung.
Last year I put some in little baggies of soil in the fridge for three months and when planted outside in pots they all came up really quickly over a month or so. Eight baggies of sandy soil produced seedlings, the other two turned white then eventually orange with mould and started to stink when I dumped them.
All of the ones I wrapped in wet paper and put in baggies in the fridge went mouldy and sort of sticky and slimy like natto, but other folks have had great success like that.
Some folks have used peat or coir with a high % of success too, and lots of folks in colder climates just plant in place outside and let nature sort it out. What you decide to do with your seeds is totally up to you, and there are lots of experts out there with opinions on what is best for these guys. I only know what I have already told you, and my experience is limited.
These guys are incredibly hardy, and once established they are so prolific with side shoots and seed set, that some folks consider them a bit of a weed.
BUT, establishing them from seed the first time is not easy, and is a gamble, a cheap one at that.
I suggest you try at least five different methods, five seeds each method, aiming for a couple successful plants. If you get a few successes that’s bloody awesome, but if they all rot or get fungal infections, or just sit dormant please accept that, and continue to think of these guys as an experiment, not taking it personally, or blaming me for your issues.
The seeds are fresh, days weeks or 2months at the absolute most(I will continually be swapping new lots in and dumping the older ones), but germination can be tricky as the internet will confirm.
I can offer no more advice than I have, I have no secret tips or methods, and if you are the sort of folks that are likely to have a whinge if you don’t have success, then this is not the plant for you. Sorry….
That all said, they are well worth the minimal effort involved, and now is a great time to have a crack at them. 🙂
The fruit make a delicious jam, or once boiled to a sweet syrup make them safe to eat they make a really tasty wine.
We kinda tempura and fry the flowers, like in the picture. Delicious!
I just pick the flowers and wash them, then stick them in a bowl of iced water. I then mix 1cup beer(or dry sparkling wine, or soda water) and 1cup plain flour, then add icecubes slowly gently mixing until it is smooth, thin and glossy.
Dip the flowers and wack them in a pot of boiling oil. The end.
Well worth having a crack at, and a traditional (sort of) way to eat them in a lot of European countries.
The birds love them, the native bees go crazy for them, and I had a heap of trouble getting them to bugger off so I could get a decent picture of the flowers.
The hollow stems make great homes for solitary native bees and small beneficial wasps.
I found this info on the internet for medicinal uses, but I have never tested any of it out myself.>>>
“Traditionally used as a medicinal plant by many native peoples and herbalists alike with the 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. 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. Further study confirmed the beneficial effect of elderberry on Influenza.
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.
The flowers can be used to make herbal tea as a remedy for inflammation caused by colds and fever.”
I guess that’s plenty of reasons to have a crack at them I reckon, and for a couple bucks it’s gotta be worth the gamble….
Grown by me and the Mrs organically, no chems, no nasties, no problems!!!