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Mar 22, 2010 10:23 PM

Elderflowers in SoCal?

Does anyone know of a good source of elderflowers in Southern California? Thanks!

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  1. Any health food store worth its salt will have elderflower.

    3 Replies
    1. re: SeaCook

      I was looking for it fresh, not dried. Think I'll have any luck?

      1. re: toni57

        I think you are really going to have to ask at farmer's markets and nurseries slightly north - seems not as frequent a shrub coastal and south - hills and north 'maybe'. As you drive around look around.

        1. re: toni57

          I was thinking of ease of convience. Actually elder trees are a native and growing everywhere. You just have to identyfy an elder tree to get elder flowers..

      2. I make elderflower syrup. I pick mine all over Mount Washington. They are blooming everywhere right now.

        3 Replies
        1. re: TIRGL

          Hey TIRGL. If I might ask, where in Mount Washington do you fin the flowers? Do the same plants fruit later in the year?

          Also, do you know where any valley oak trees (Q. lobata) grows around LA?

          1. re: TIRGL

            Hi! Where are you finding elderflowers in Mt. Washington? I found these but can't tell if they're elderflowers..

            1. re: marigoldsweets

              That is NOT Elderflower. Those are the flowers of a decorative, introduced plants (don't have a species name) and are likely toxic.

              Elderflowers are pretty much done this year. There are elderberries in the fields now, but you have to go pretty far outside of the main part of LA to find a sufficient amount.

              The flowers will be in bloom again in spring, assuming we get some rain over the winter. The picture below is what you're looking for.

              Also, just some advice, be sure you can ID the plant before you pick it. All members of the Sambucus (elderberry) family can be identified by the serrated, almond-shaped leaves. you get confirmation when you see the umblers of yellow flowers appear.

              For more info on So Cal's elder trees, you should look up "Sambucus mexicana." That's the species found around here.

          2. I recall elderflowers on the slopes of the entrance to Elysian Park near Morton and along Park drive near echo park--- was a long time ago but may still be live

            1. Two botany questions in 1 day? What the heck?
              Our native elderberry is Sambucus mexicana, and it's very common at low elevations throughout the basin, even in urban neighborhoods (pretty sure there's a huge one in what looks to be "Home Restaurant" at Fletcher and Riverside; haven't been in a while but I remember the plant). Anyway, check google images for the species, and you'll start noticing them. They're dormant right now (no leaves/flowers/fruit) but will leaf-out in late winter, start blooming in spring (April?), then have blackish fruits in mid-summer.

              I've never seen them for sale. The elderberry used famously in wine, jelly, etc. is a different plant, but ours was widely used by Native Americans.

              1 Reply
              1. re: cant talk...eating

                Thanks for the quick response, to both questions.

                I'm aware that S. Mexicana is our native specie. But I'm pretty sure it's also been used to make wine and food also since it's a subspecie of the more widely used plant. The plants TIRGL collects from seem to produce usable flowers.

                And I'm not looking for anything to harvest right at this moment. Just getting prepared (way far in advance) for next year.

              2. This was a 3-year-old post but I'm opening it back up again. Anyone know if there are any specific farmer's market vendors in the LA-area that have elderflower? I'd love to experiment with simple syrups, infused liquor, etc. but I'm afraid I don't have a green-enough thumb to go identify and gather them on my own.

                And I'm intrigued by the poster who suggested dried ones at a health food store. I think, for my purposes, that would be acceptable, but I'd love to try them fresh. Anyone have any updated info?

                1 Reply
                1. re: EggyEggoo

                  Elderflowers are already gone at lower elevations and they're now turning into elderberries. You'll find them all over the santa monica mountains, in the city and all around socal. I just picked some flowers in the mountains above 5000ft, they're still blooming but you have to get them now. It only takes a few minutes to pick enough for a small stash of syrup. Happy picking!