Marin’s Elderberries

by Doreen Smith

We have two native species of elderberry: the coastal red-berried Sambucus racemosa, and the more inland-growing bluish-black-berried Sambucus nigra ssp. caerulea. Both have whitish flowers and juicy-looking fruit. However, it is, I hope, well known, that only the bluish-black berries should be eaten by humans. Recipes can be found online, but just remember that if it is a small-crop year, leave something for the birds. Around here (Marinwood, San Rafael) it seems to be a bumper-crop year.

Photos by Doreen and Vernon Smith