Southern Marsh Orchids

Southern Marsh Orchids

Tuesday 26 August 2014

A green-fruited Elder at Llantrisant

I actually spotted this last year, but thought it was worth a quick post now for its curiosity value!

All fruits of Elder (Sambucus nigra) of course start off green, but the ones on this bush at Llantrisant stay that way as they ripen, before shrivelling and/or going mouldy.
Fruits of the green-fruited Elder...
...and for comparison unripe fruits of the ordinary black-fruited Elder.
It seems to be uncommon (it's the first time I've come across it in 15 years of botanising), but must be easy to overlook – Stace (edition 3) says the fruits of Elder are “sometimes" greenish-yellow.

This taxon was previously referred to as a variety (going under various epithets including viridis, chlorocarpa, virescens and leucocarpa), but is now demoted to a mere form (viridis). As well as the colour of the ripe fruits, I think their translucent look helps to distinguish them from unripe fruits of normal elderberries. In the photo you can also see that the fruit-stalks aren't as strongly red-coloured.
And the taste test? They’re not bad, actually!

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