• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Haasl
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Dave Burton
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • Greg Martin
  • Steve Thorn
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Jay Angler
  • Kate Downham

Do European and American elderberries cross-pollinate?

 
Posts: 120
Location: Gulf Islands BC (zone 8)
36
hugelkultur goat forest garden chicken fiber arts medical herbs
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have 4 varieties of American elderberry (S. canadensis) that I started from cuttings this spring, and someone in my community was selling inexpensive potted European elderberries (S. nigra) today, that she had started from cuttings of a named variety. So of course I am buying one. :)

My understanding is that both species will self-pollinate but will produce better with another variety available to pollinate. In the long run I want to collect as many varieties as possible, in order to have as much genetic adaptation potential as possible in my plantings. In the meantime, does anyone know if the American elderberry can pollinate the European one? I am not worried about pollination of the American species as I have 4 varieties that can pollinate each other.

When I tried googling for info on this, I did find one variety that is apparently a hybrid of the two so it must happen, I just don't know if that was a one-off or if it is common.
 
gardener
Posts: 229
Location: North Texas, Dallas area suburbs, US zone 8
125
hugelkultur kids purity cat forest garden fungi books cooking medical herbs homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In my experience here in Texas, the Europeans bloom much earlier--what little they bloom.  So they would not cross pollinate in that case.  (The American varieties sucker, grow, bloom, and fruit exuberantly, however.).  I would guess that the hybrid variety you saw was created though the labors of a dedicated plant breeder, but that's just a guess.

In a quick flip thru John Moody's "The Elderberry Book", I didn't see that he specifically addressed European-American cross-pollination.  He says that they will produce better with a pollinator, but also says that the self-fertility "of some varieties" is debated.  He footnotes that comment with a link to an article that says people studied isolated plants that consistently produce fruit, but it doesn't say whether those were American, European or both.   The link didn't work for me, but I think it is this article, which looks worth a read.  The midwest-elderberry.coop site looks very rich with info.

Academics, aside, it is surely worth a try growing it.  If the Europeans grow well where you are, then at the least you can enjoy the flowers.  I've never tried harvesting my elderflowers, but I do like elderflower products.  Or leave them for the polinators.  Good luck, Andrea!!
 
Andrea Locke
Posts: 120
Location: Gulf Islands BC (zone 8)
36
hugelkultur goat forest garden chicken fiber arts medical herbs
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks Kerry. Yes, I also had wondered if that plant advertised as a hybrid was developed as a result of plant breeding rather than as a naturally occurring hybrid. If the flowering times are that different, then hmmm, I agree cross pollination is unlikely. I may just have to get some more European elderberry plants of another variety. And we do want to harvest elderflowers so either way it's a win. We are harvesting elderflowers off some of the American elderberries I planted as cuttings in the spring, so that they put their energy into growth rather than fruit this year. It's insane that little sticks I planted two or three months ago are trying to set fruit!
 
gardener
Posts: 969
Location: Western Washington
253
duck forest garden personal care rabbit bee homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A thread exists somewhere on here that talks at length about elderberry,  and someone said that yes indeed they will cross. Ill try to find it at some point. Bloom time would be my concern as well though
 
Posts: 9
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There is a variety called “Marge” that is supposed to be a cross (open pollinated in Marge’s backyard) between European and American elderberry.

From google-
‘Marge’ is a hybrid between the American Sambucus canadensis and the European Sambucus nigra which gives us an elderberry plant with all the characteristics of the European varieties but free from the diseases that plague so many. The berries are larger than the American varieties and ‘Marge’ is also self-pollinating so only one plant is necessary for fruit production. Flowers form on last year’s woody growth, so fruit will form the second year after planting.”

This link here goes into some detail about the different varieties and it does talk about Marge. It does not explicitly say that it is a cross between European and American varieties- it just says one parent is European and the other is unknown.

http://extension.missouri.edu/greene/documents/Shared_Documents/SWregion/Byers/ElderberryPresentationMN.pdf
gift
 
Solar Station Construction Plans by Ben Peterson -- ebook
will be released to subscribers in: soon!
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic