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Elderberries Are Mostly Wind Pollinated

Making It Grow Radio Minute
SC Public Radio

Professor Greg Reighard, Clemson researcher and international fruit specialist, explained that elderberries are primarily wind-pollinated. Although the flowers are extraordinarily showy, which you think would be a sign that they are attracting all sorts of pollinators, they don’t produce nectar so insect visitors are only collecting pollen. Still, their value to wildlife is high as the hundreds of dark purple fruits that each flower head produces are devoured by over 45 species of birds and racoons among others -- the Missouri Department of Conservation reports that a sharp-eyed naturalist even saw a box turtle eating fruits. But for people the entire plant contains compounds toxic to us, so this is one plant that grazers should not eat in the field. But properly prepared with heat, their berries have long been safely used for pies, wines and jellies.