'Haschberg' black European elderberry
'Haschberg' is a variety of black European elder, especially popular in commercial orchards in Austria and Germany. It produces abundant and large clusters of dark purple berries, and grows to about 8 feet tall.
European black elderberries are the most sought-after and productive elder species because they have been selected for heavy yields and tolerance of temperatures well below 0°F. If you buy elderberries or elderberry tincture in the store, you are most likely looking at a variety of European black elder, Sambucus nigra. This species is partly self-fertile, so doesn't require cross pollination, but the yields will be heavier with a second variety planted near by.
Elder shrubs prefer partial shade to full sun, with higher yields in more sun. It's best to irrigate them in summer if they are not planted within sight of a creek or pond.
The berries are renowed as a nutritive anti-viral and immune system tonic. We like to make a honey-based syrup from dried berries to help out with the fall and winter cold season. A tea of the flowers is a gentle anti-pyretic diaphoretic that helps encourage sweating and natural fever relief for kids and adults alike. Don't forget that a poultice of the leaves makes an external antiseptic vulnerary to speed the healing of bruises and wounds. So much medicine from such a beautiful plant!
American elderberries (Sambucus canadensis) are native to the Midwest and are more vigorous than black European elderberries (Sambucus nigra). Both are planted commercailly for medicinal berries. The berries of the Oregon native blue elderberry (S. cerulea) also make wonderful medicine, and they are more drought tolerant than other varieties. Don't accidentally mistake red elderberries (S. racemosa) for any of the edible and medicinal varieties - they are not safe to consume.
This PDF journal article provides a detailed comparison of both European and American elderberry varieties in field trials in Corvallis, OR.
As the old saying goes, "When you find your homestead, first plant an elderberry, then build your house."