Elder (Sambucus)

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John J

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Elder (Sambucus)
« on: January 19, 2012, 12:45:09 PM »
I planted a couple of clumps of Sambucus nigra several years ago and although they have survived it's been with a struggle. They produce very few flowers and subsequently few fruit. They would probably do better with more water as they are not on irrigation and have to rely on whatever they can get from other plants nearby that are. They are protected from the worst of the sun by mature trees close by.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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John

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Elder (Sambucus)
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2012, 11:14:52 PM »
Yes they certainly aren't drought tolerant at least in Med. terms. I do believe they are native to many parts around the Med., certainly they are common in Italy and on Madeira though often described as a local endemic there.
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

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JTh

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Elder (Sambucus)
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2012, 11:49:03 PM »
They may not be very drought tolerant, but this plant is actually not uncommon slightly further inland from our place in Halkidiki, which is generally dry. I have seen many lush plants roadside, they are quite attractive and I never guessed that they needed much water. When I first discovered them, it took me a while to understand that they were Sambucus, since they are herbaceous perennials and not woody shrubs like the Sambucus spp. I was used to.
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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Fleur Pavlidis

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Elder (Sambucus)
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2012, 08:56:53 AM »
I'm afraid Sambucus is annoyingly invasive in my second garden at 450m in central Greece. It grows in the wild plot next next and seeds into my garden. The roots of the seedlings which get left to grow are long and very tough so the surrounding plants get beaten up when I try to dig them out and then they come back from the root.
MGS member, Greece. I garden in Attica, Greece and Mt Goulinas (450m) Central Greece

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JTh

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Elder (Sambucus)
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2012, 11:20:43 AM »
You are right, Fleur, one of my books on Greek flowers says that they spread easily creating large colonies. I suppose it depends what the conditions are like. In my area they are not causing problems.
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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John

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Elder (Sambucus)
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2012, 11:41:43 AM »
I remember Sambucus ebulis completely covering railway embankments where I grew up near Manchester. Very invasive.
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

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Alisdair

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Re: Elder (Sambucus)
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2012, 11:48:58 AM »
This is all an offshoot from John F's recipe for elderflower cordial, which you can see by clicking here.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society