I think everyone in America has heard of Elderberries. Its natural habitat is from Canada south to Florida and even west to Texas and all of the plains states. Other names are Common Elderberry and American Elder. The Cherokee and other native americans would eat the berries during late summer. I can remember my Mother making Elderberry jam, she would always cook them and we did not eat them raw. After some research I found that this was a common practice because the cooking process would destroy the Alkaloids and improve the taste.
You should never use the leaves because they contained glucosides which are poisonous. On the other hand the branches were used as arrow shafts and the berries were also used to make dyes.
The Cherokee used the flowers to brew a tea and used it to treat fever, diarrhea and lung congestion. Just as today there are many Elderberry products on the market that are used to improve the immune system and treat cold symptoms.
This plant can get up to eight feet tall and it blooms during June and July. It will grow in full sun to part shade but the best foliage color comes in full sun. It will colonize or spread by it root system. The white blooms will fade and turn into fruit clusters. These fruit clusters are called drupes. We just planted an Elderberry so will have to wait until next year for it to bear fruit.
Right now, I would love to have some homemade biscuits and Elderberry jam.