Shrub/Tree to 4m high
Sambucus australasica is a shrub (to 4m tall) native to the east coast of Australia and occurs in or on the edges of rainforest.
It is a useful bush food to have in the garden with its culinary uses akin to exotic elderberries (used to make elderberry wine, cordials and jam). Since it is a shrub that only grows to 4m and can be readily pruned to keep it at a suitable size, this plant will not take up a lot of space.
With its glossy green compound leaves composed of 3 – 5 lanceolate leaflets, and terminal clusters of tiny cream-yellow flowers during spring and summer, this makes an attractive addition to even the smallest garden. The round, yellow fruit forms from February through to July. Although each individual fruit is small (about 5mm in diameter), they are easily picked since they occur in dense groups.
Picked young, the flowers can be used to make wine, using the same method as for conventional elderberry flowers.
IMPORTANT NOTE - the berry of the Sambucus genus is edible but MUST be cooked first to break down the cyanide-inducing glycoside. Why? Because, eating too much of the cyanide-inducing glycosides will cause a toxic build-up of cyanide (yes, that is poison) in the body. When you heat the berries it destroys the cyanide-inducing glycosides in the seeds and therefore makes the berries safe to eat. It should also be noted that all other parts of the elderberry plant are toxic and should NOT be eaten ever, with the exception of the flowers.
NOTE - Living plants must be collected (by appointment) - postage not available