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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mexican Elder trees

Since observing the Bay-breasted Warbler feasting on berries from was a Mexican Elder (see yesterday's post), I've developed a new appreciation for that species. It seems to have thrived in spite of the record cold, as well as the record heat this year. (It gets plenty of watering so I don't count the record drought.) And the elder tree by the fountain was blooming. The one the warbler was feeding in had both green and ripe berries. I'm impressed.

I planted one in Alpine and one at the oasis, and neither of them looks good. Nevertheless, I think I'll plant a couple more in the spring. They're almost evergreen and can bear fruit twice a year. Awesome! Meanwhile, I watered and pruned the one here at the oasis.

Admittedly, after I cut off the dead stuff there wasn't much left. But it's alive and putting on new growth, so there's hope.

Here is the Mexican Elder tree in Alpine. Hardly any green on it. I'm wondering if it's unhealthy being so close to the pond. I'm going to plant one somewhere else and see what happens.

The yellowish-green is from a tree in the background. There are only a few sprigs of vivid green leaves on the elder. But they're pretty tough trees. If I have the energy tomorrow I'll try to take a better photo and dig out some of the grass around it. I just got to town and I'm pooped. So much to do.


  1. Mexican Elder is a good riparian tree. But many were severely damaged to the Feb 2011 deep freeze, from Abq and even El Paso, though most are recovering. I'll have to learn more on which birds enjoy their berries!

  2. Sandy/Odessa and AlpineNovember 9, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    I've found reference to several "Mexican elders" so am wondering about the scientific name. Want to make sure I get the right kind if I can find one. Am always looking for trees or bushes that have berries the birds like.

  3. Sandy, I've been trying to buy more, so if you find any, let me know. Seems the last winter's bad freeze killed the nursery stock. Those that weren't in pots froze to the ground. I'm lucky my two didn't do that. They leafed out, just sparcely. Yes, they're great trees to have. If I locate any, I'll post the source. It's the Sambucus Mexicana that we want. With plenty of water and not endless over 100° temps, they can produce berries all summer long and into late fall, apparently. Very drought tolerant, but do better with water. I took a twig that I pruned off the lower trunk base and am trying to root it. That may end up being the way to go, but I need to experiment more and see if it works. Normally, I have good luck with cuttings from mulberries.

  4. Sandy/Odessa and AlpineNovember 15, 2011 at 6:38 PM

    Do please post your source if you find any. Thanks for all the good information about them.

  5. Sandy, I was unable to locate a source but my research indicates that they're easiest to start from cuttings. So I took a bunch of green suckers from a friend's large tree, and did my thing. I'll definitely post the results, including photos, soon. Birds really love them. They eat my elderberries before they're even ripe. There aren't very many bird-delicious(succulent?)berries for a desert area. They love mulberries. I did plant some native Mountain Mulberry trees in my courtyard, but the birds don't seem to locate them there very good. I may plant some at the oasis. I'm just not sure how drought tolerant they are. Guess I better research it more.