seeds of Sambucus nigra, Black Elder, Elderberry
Sambucus nigra Samen
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Sambucus nigra, also known as black elder, is a species complex that belongs to the family Adoxaceae. The plant’s synonyms include Sambucus graveolens, Sambucus nigra and Sambucus nigra f. pendula. Other common names for the plant include elderberry, European elder and European black elderberry. The plant is indigenous to large swaths of North America and Europe. Sambucus nigra can grow to a height of 6 metres. The bark is grey, rough, furrowed and has noticeable lentils. The leaves are pinnate, oppositely arranged, and have a length of 10 to 30 cm. Each leaf has between 5 and 7 leaflets that each has a length of 5 to 12 cm and a width of 3 to 5 cm. The flowers are hermaphrodite, white and are mostly pollinated by flies. Each flower has a diameter of 5 to 6 mm. The fruits are dark purple, shiny, and grow in clusters. Sambucus nigra has edible fruits and flowers. While the fruits are edible raw, their flavour is not agreeable to many people. Cooking the fruits produces a more positive result. The cooked fruit is used to make pies, preserves and jams. Alternatively, one could dry the fruit and use it to flavour chutneys, sauces, pies and preserves or use it to make wine. Just as is the case with fruits, one can either eat the flowers or cook them. The flowers are an ideal snack when eaten raw. Alternatively, the flowers can be put to use when preparing stewed jellies and fruits given they add a muscatel flavour. Additional uses of the flowers involve the making of tea, brandy and sparkling wine. The leaves, not to be left behind, are often used to imbue a green pigment to fats and oils. Sambucus nigra is also a source of dyes and wood used for making mathematical instruments, skewers and toys.
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