Monday, July 12, 2010

Could it be? The hopeful elderflower!

I have been studying this tree for the last 2 years after buying a book which showed how to make elderflower cordial, amongst other things.

You can understand my reticence in cutting off the flower heads, thinking it is elderflower, making a cordial and then poisioning my family because it is fact not an elderflower tree.... :-(

The main problem is that it is flowering in mid winter and not late spring like the rest of the world's elderflower trees.

So following my motto - when all else fails, hit the books - I looked up in my encyclopedia (that my mommy gave me) to see what I have.

According to the book, it is the wild elderberry which grows in the SW Cape in SA (that's where I live) and it happens to bloom in late autumn and winter (that's what mine is doing)! Voila...I have a wild elderflower (Nuxia Floribunda) but I have still not yet determined whether I can use it to make cordial..and not posion my family.

So if anyone by any chance knows the anwser to this, please tell me soon as I have about 15 flower heads right now that I can use to make cordial. Thanks!


I eventually phoned our botanical society and have now ascertained that the wild elderflower's flowers are not to be used in a cordial. Some traditional medicines are made from the bark, but they assured me that we may all feel quite ill if I tried it in a cordial. Ah well, at least the bees have some winter food!


Lois Evensen said...

I have no clue whether it is poison, but it certainly is pretty on the tree.

Krill said...

I am sure you could google it. I found this website that indicates that you can eat it but you should be careful about specific parts of the plant.

Also wikipedia lists the different varieties which might be helpful:

On another note, my husband and I are planning to move to Cape Town in around 4 years (currently based in the UK) and you have really inspired me to make the most of any space we may have. Do you know of, or would you ever consider writing, a homesteading book specific to the South African cape area?? Thanks Natalie

Jacqui said...

Hi Wendy,
On our last trip to Holland, my cousins made a lovely tea of the Elderberry flower, called Vlieerbessen. (spelling incorrect I'm sure)as well as a cordial. I have so longingly looked at the similar temptations here in Knysna, but what stands out for me as being the reason they're not the same, is that the trees in Holland smelled AMAZING, like sweetie perfume!!! We could smell the while riding through the farms on bicycles. Bliss!