Elderberry Cultivars We Grow

The American Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis) thrives exceptionally well on our Missouri River bluffs, enjoying the sunny, hilltop location and the well drained soils.

The five American elderberry cultivars that make up the 12,500 bushes on our Natures Organic Haven farm are:

Wyldewood (Sambucus canadensis)
Selected from the wild near Eufaula, Oklahoma in 1995 by Jack Millican. A favorite elderberry bush of the University of Missouri and Missouri State University research programs, producing up to 7,000 lbs./acre. This is a vigorous, upright shrub, producing large clusters of berries with upright head at harvest. Blossoms in June and the florets are easily removed for use as a dried product or as a flavoring. Wyldewood and Bob Gordon have been the highest yielding varieties, doubling the yield of others. These high yields make it a very popular elderberry variety.

Bob Gordon (Sambucus Canadensis hybrid)
Selected from the wild near Osceola, Missouri in 1999, by Bob Gordon, Charlotte Cooper and Andrew Thomas. It is one of the highest yielding elderberry cultivars in Missouri and has an excellent survival rate. It has a large berry and large head, sometimes reaching 12” across, and inverts its head for minimum bird damage when it starts to mature. Blossoms in late May to mid-June and the florets are easily removed for use as a dried product or as a flavoring. According to the University of Missouri and Missouri State University research programs, Bob Gordon is a superior elderberry cultivar for Midwest growing conditions.

Marge
Selected near Eufaula, Oklahoma in 2007 by Marge Millican, it is a cross of American and European species. Marge is a vigorous, disease resistant shrub that produces very large berries. European elderberry plants fruit on 2nd year branches and unlike American cultivars they cannot be cut back to the ground each year. Marge is hardy, and well adapted to Midwestern growing conditions. It is one of the higher yielding cultivars grown in the Midwest.

York (Sambucus canadensis)
A popular old reliable US elderberry bush released in the 1960’s in New York. York will grow in dry or wet soil, although the berry production is best with adequate summer water. And it’s one of the few fruiting plants that can provide berries in partial shade. Self-fruitful, but like all elderberries will provide more berries if planted near another elderberry cultivar. It is the prettiest with the largest berry of the American elderberry cultivars.

Ozark
A new cultivar under evaluation by the Elderberry Improvement Project, a collaboration between the University of Missouri, Missouri State University, USDA and industry to evaluate native cultivars in the Midwest, for commercial crop consideration. Ozark is a high yielding cultivar and according to the University of Missouri Extension, has an interesting biochemical profile.