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Elderberry, Wind Polinated

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Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. 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, don’t produce nectar so insect visitors are only be collecting pollen. Still, their value to wildlife is high as the hundreds of dark purple fruits that each flowers head produces are devoured by over 45 species of birds and racoons among others, the Missouri Department of Conservation reports that one sharp-eyed naturalist even reported seeing a box turtle enjoying these berries. All parts of the plant except the flowers and cooked fruits are contain poisonous compounds so this is one plant that grazers should not eat in the field. But properly prepared, theses berries have long been used for pies, wines and jellies.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.