Sambucus (Elder, Elderberry)
is a genus of shrubs and small trees in the family Adoxaceae, comprising about 5-30 species. Two of its species are herbaceous. Elderberries are native to temperate to sub-tropical regions of both the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere. The leaves are pinnate with 5-9 leaflets. Each leaf is 5-30 cm long with serrated margins. Clusters of small white or cream-colored flowers are born in late spring, followed by clustered of small, black, blue-black, or red berries.
The berries are a favorite to birds and have many health benefits to humans. The ripe elderberries can be made into extract, syrup, pie, jam, jelly, or use as topping, as a dye and for flavoring. Elderberries contain potassium and large amount of vitamin C, and have been proved to shorten the duration of the flu and cold symptoms, as well as strengthening the immune system. It is better to eat the berries cooked than to eat them fresh. This is due to the toxin glycoside that present in the berries. The unripened berry contain toxid alkaloid.