Sambucus nigra, the name of the plant that produces Elder berries, is a large deciduous shrub that bears dark black berries. Sambucus nigra hails from Europe, and also originates from southwest Asia and northwest Africa. Our producer in Croatia keeps us well supplied with Elder berries. Other common names for Sambucus nigra include Black Elder, European Elder, Common Elder, Black-berried European Elder, boor tree and German Elder. The plant produces flowers in the summer, and the fruit comes on in the late fall months of the year. The small dark berries hang in clusters off the large shrub, and are attractive to birds who flock to the plants for late season food.
Dried elderberries are used as a wine, cider or port flavoring and to add color, tannin and complexity.
Humans eat the berries as well, and often serve them cooked in pies and jams, as well as in elderberry wine. The berries have also been used in times past as a dye or a flavoring.