Tropical Fruit Forum - International Tropical Fruit Growers



Author Topic: Sambucus Mexicana  (Read 2672 times)

starch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 796
  • My brain is like oatmeal
    • Chandler, AZ. zone 9b
    • View Profile
Sambucus Mexicana
« on: March 23, 2015, 08:04:54 PM »
This is a question geared more toward the Southwest US growers (based on my climate here near Phoenix), but I wanted to see if anyone has experience with the Mexican Elderberry / Blue Elderberry (Sambucus Mexicana / Sambucus Nigra Caerulea).

I have a spot in my yard that gets baking hot in the summer (western exposure along an eastern block wall, so a lot of direct and indirect/reflected heat in summer afternoons). Instead of trying to adapt this spot to try to grow something more tropical, I wanted to go with a native plant to this area. But I still want it to be a fruit tree / shrub. I was considering a pomegranate but I already have a few and want to try something different.

So it seems to me than an Elderberry would be a good fit. For the past couple of years around cold season my wife picks up Elderberry syrup from the store and it really does seem to help with reducing winter time sicknesses. So there is a desire from me to attempt to make my own. The flavor is very deep and rich sweet-tart. I think it would make a really good pie too.

Does anyone have experience growing these and harvesting these? Positive or negative thoughts? Based on other articles it seems like it would take summer heat in full sun, would you agree?
- Mark

Viking Guy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 601
    • USA, Gulf Shores State Park, 9A
    • View Profile
Re: Sambucus Mexicana
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2015, 07:59:01 PM »
Planted one 10 years ago.

Now, have more than 100.

NOTHING save a nuclear disaster kills it, and I bet even that won't.  Want to propagate it?  No problem.  Cut off a branch and throw it on the ground somewhere.  You'll have a new tree in no time.

If you have birds, they will gladly distribute the berries over your entire property and ensure you have dozens more sprouting right away next to your american beauty berries.

At least if you cut them, you can have the pleasure of watching them bleed.  At least until the milky sap sours and attracts fruit flies.

I hear the berry has health benefits.

Keep in a pot, and BURN all prunings.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2015, 08:00:32 PM by Viking Guy »
-Adam

starch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 796
  • My brain is like oatmeal
    • Chandler, AZ. zone 9b
    • View Profile
Re: Sambucus Mexicana
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2015, 09:55:48 AM »
Adam,

Thanks for the feedback. I am sorry that it has become so invasive for you. I now understand the issues associated with this plant. If I do plant one, I will take your advice and plant in a pot and be conscious with what I do with any clippings.

Speaking of berries: I have been following your threads regarding your blueberry 'tree' and your goal of protecting the name (either through a patent or a naming registry). I really hope that works out! And when you are ready to start selling plants / cuttings I would love to try it out here in the desert. I will of course need to put it in a separate planter (we have high pH soil here and I will need something dedicated and acidic), but I have been looking for a low chill blueberry variety and yours looks like a real honest to goodness gem!
- Mark

Viking Guy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 601
    • USA, Gulf Shores State Park, 9A
    • View Profile
Re: Sambucus Mexicana
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2015, 12:29:47 PM »
You bet.  I can't wait to get this into the hands of others.

I am starting to air layer it now and conduct some trials.

It seems to be both drought and wet tolerant.  I think it will do just fine for you.

As for the elderberry, it makes new growth off the roots as well.  Pretty much the tree version of bindweed.  Definitely always in a pot.  I've had a new tree form just from a broken piece of bark.
-Adam

stormin

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 109
    • USA, St Cloud FL, 9b
    • View Profile
Re: Sambucus Mexicana
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2015, 01:50:19 PM »
When I used to live in New Mexico my family had several Mexican Elderberries around the yard. They're pretty hardy and easy to care for. But now there is no longer any on my mother's property, over the years they have all perished. One tree was blown over onto our driveway by a dust devil, while I was still living there, the rest died off from some sort of disease or pest (I have moved away by then). The last one lived for about 17 years.

Here's a link for info from my old uni, go Aggies! :)
http://aces.nmsu.edu/county/donaana/mastergardener/documents/mexican-elderberry.pdf

As for the fruit, we've actually never tried them.

starch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 796
  • My brain is like oatmeal
    • Chandler, AZ. zone 9b
    • View Profile
Re: Sambucus Mexicana
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2015, 04:07:43 PM »
I am starting to air layer it now and conduct some trials. It seems to be both drought and wet tolerant.  I think it will do just fine for you.


Awesome! I am really really looking forward to it!


When I used to live in New Mexico my family had several Mexican Elderberries around the yard. They're pretty hardy and easy to care for. But now there is no longer any on my mother's property, over the years they have all perished. One tree was blown over onto our driveway by a dust devil, while I was still living there, the rest died off from some sort of disease or pest (I have moved away by then). The last one lived for about 17 years.

Here's a link for info from my old uni, go Aggies! :)
http://aces.nmsu.edu/county/donaana/mastergardener/documents/mexican-elderberry.pdf

As for the fruit, we've actually never tried them.


They sound very hardy indeed, combined with yours and Viking Guy's observations. Thanks for the link!
- Mark

Viking Guy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 601
    • USA, Gulf Shores State Park, 9A
    • View Profile
Re: Sambucus Mexicana
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2015, 12:50:55 AM »
I wish I could find a pest that'd eat them.

Where we live, nothing touches them.

Thankfully, we've kept it restricted to the dog yard.  So it provides good shade for the pups and their thirsty root systems keep the wet weather from leaving puddles.
-Adam

DesertDreamer

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 17
    • Tempe, AZ
    • View Profile
Re: Sambucus Mexicana
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2015, 09:09:32 PM »
Can anyone comment on taste?  I'm interested too, but don't need an aggressive grower that I cant eat...
All views expressed are from my personal experience, in my particular conditions.  Your mileage may vary.

Ansarac

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 112
    • Beaumont, California, US Zone 9
    • View Profile
Re: Sambucus Mexicana
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2015, 12:27:58 AM »
Seems to be somewhat tart. They are mostly skin and peel, making it impossible to get edible quantities, without a stockpot or a steam juicer. 

The blossoms contain detectable amounts of clove oil, and are distilled with the juice for a flu tonic.

But, the stems and leaves are reputedly poisonous.

These grow wild, in my area, but mainly around stream beds. In my experience, trees of this nature will tend to have shallow, ranging roots, meaning that they find sewer lines. To stay on the safe side, I planted mine in containers, on top of sheet metal. The roots found their way to the ground...

Some yards get very parched. The trees still survive, but in ragged condition, and with fewer, smaller, harder. blacker berries, which hold on for years.

Well watered berries take on a sort of transparent quality, and get a whitish coating, and are prone to fall off, before becomming fully developed.   

Also, the fruit seems to develop much faster, at lower elevations, and sets later, as you travel into the mountains.

BrianL

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 195
    • Bay Area, California
    • View Profile
Re: Sambucus Mexicana
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2015, 02:23:27 PM »
Sambucus caerulea that live around here are typically OK to good.  I found one slightly larger sweeter one I'm tying to propagate.  While native here I havn't noticed them being really invasive plus I've occationally had some difficulty propagating.  I suspect it's because of the dry enviroment.  I only find them near streams or water bodies.

Viking Guy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 601
    • USA, Gulf Shores State Park, 9A
    • View Profile
Re: Sambucus Mexicana
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2015, 03:40:15 PM »
Sambucus caerulea that live around here are typically OK to good.  I found one slightly larger sweeter one I'm tying to propagate.  While native here I havn't noticed them being really invasive plus I've occationally had some difficulty propagating.  I suspect it's because of the dry enviroment.  I only find them near streams or water bodies.

We live in the rainiest city in the country, so would make sense.  If we go 3 days without rain, we think we're in a drought.
-Adam

 

Copyright © Tropical Fruit Forum - International Tropical Fruit Growers