British Columbia: is red elderberry polymorphic?

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwest Native Plants' started by Jake Sherlock, Jun 14, 2020.

  1. Jake Sherlock

    Jake Sherlock Member

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    This morning I cut a stem from one of my suffering Elders that was not fully dead yet.I brought it inside and looked at it under my bench top magnifier.I split the stem open and looked at the pith and any signs of borers. The telltale black staining was at the bottom so I carefully peeled back the bark ,moving up the stem. The bark is very thin although this stem is only about 1 inch in diameter. I could clearly see where black staining turns to green....maybe 8 inches up. I chose this stem because it wasn't fully dead yet so I could see this. The leaves had fallen but the stem was mostly still green/living. Maybe this is Honey Fungus. I read that one in Oregon state is considered the largest living organism on the plant! Yikes! I'm going to cut some larger stem and dissect those as well.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    You appear to be confusing honey fungus with verticillium wilt.
     
  3. Jake Sherlock

    Jake Sherlock Member

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    Ron,in an earlier post you mentioned Honey Fungus and said you'd seen some of that going on. So I read up regarding the Rhizomorph thing and inspected the stems as you have suggested. Are you now saying I should be looking elsewhere for answers?
     
  4. Jake Sherlock

    Jake Sherlock Member

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    Alright ,I've just done a power read on the Wilt! Yup ,Ron,I see your steering me in the right direction I think. Not good news either way though. I see it can damage lots of plants. I notice this occurring in the native Elder all over this area and wonder if is drought related as we've experienced repeated drought seasons here in the last few years.
     
  5. scilover

    scilover Member

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    Can you eat red elderberries?

    It is hard to ignore a wild edible that grows so commonly as Red Elderberry, but most wild food books caution against eating the berries, despite traditional use by nearly all the Native American groups in the Pacific Northwest. The flowers and fruit are cooked and eaten or made into wine or syrup.
     
  6. Jake Sherlock

    Jake Sherlock Member

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    Not sure if I should mention this here but ...point of interest....I had a Cicada today caught between my kitchen window and its' screen. It was in there along with a pesky deer fly. I noted that it had no hind end and a fungal growth there instead. This is the first bug of this type I have seen since I've lived here on the Sunshine Coast. Apparently fungal spores can be spread be these Cicadas. My Elders are perishing at an alarming rate... and I see this(Elders dying) everywhere within several kms of my residence. Far too fast for Mycelium to spread across my yard which is 5 acres, I figure. Something airborne seems more plausible to me. I was quite astonished to see this Cicada here and will keep an eye cocked for more. My stepson killed it whilst I was out or I'd have put it in a jar.....
     
  7. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Very disturbing. I'll be interested to learn more about this problem from you, @Jake Sherlock, and other sources.
     
  8. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @Jake Sherlock, good morning Jake, Cicada adults cause damage to new softer growth etc when they lay their eggs. Look for slits in branches on your Elders. Also check your local news as these appear every 13 years in large numbers and is normally news worthy.
    When the new eggs hatch the nymphs drop to the ground and live on the roots to trees until they reappear as young adults. This can cause damage, but if Cicada nymphs are the cause it probably started many years ago from the last hatch. Again check the news for your area from 13 years ago approx.
    You say you saw one Cicada, that is not a sign of a major hatch, there are occasions when a few will emerge but this will not cause the large scale damage you are seeing to Elders in your district.
     
  9. Jake Sherlock

    Jake Sherlock Member

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    Thanks for your input Acerholic. I certainly appreciate your knowledge. Yes only one Cicada! Sent to confuse me more than I already am lol . So, now, I found a borer dead in my greenhouse. I collected it and it would seem it is a pine borer(perhaps a White Spotted one) according to some google sites so no smoking gun there. I definitely have not seen any Asian borers or Sambucus borers lurking. Looks to me like a Verticillium Wilt as per previous suggestions but for the life of me I cant figure out how it could spread so quickly unless perhaps it's always there waiting for conditions to ripen! IMG_0669.jpg IMG_0672.jpg IMG_0671.jpg IMG_0682.jpg IMG_0684.jpg The first four pics are my troubles....the fifth is new life of which there is some. Over the years I have cut and trimmed the Elders as required to maintain "my spaces" so to speak. I know I've left hollow stems and pithy centers exposed....Perhaps I've shot myself in the foot yet once again! ** My first post of pics.I need to learn how to organize now....
     
  10. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @Jake Sherlock good morning Jake, I am not sure if anybody has mentioned to you on how to check for Verticullum wilt. So I have copied in a link for you. Verticillium wilt
    Verticullum can stay in the soil for many many years and most plants that are strong and healthy can resist. But a weakend plant is susceptible. This is where it becomes confusing for a gardener, a plant or tree looks fine for a few years and then Verticullum strikes. Often it is something that has gone on around it, drought for example !!!

    It is then important not to replant in that area with like for like as there is a good chance it will strike again.
    Look for a tree or shrub that is not affected by Verticullum. Although the list that are is quite long.
    There is no treatment or cure for Verticullum wilt at the moment other than keeping trees and shrubs watered and a feed in Spring to ensure they are healthy, so replacement is very often the only way out of this problem. Pruning out the dead branches might help, but in my experience it is only a matter of time for the tree.

    Hope that has not depressed you Jake, but it is important to know.
     
  11. Jake Sherlock

    Jake Sherlock Member

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    Good day to everyone. I just want to say that many of my native red elders perished last year but many new ones have appeared ! some stems,15 footers even sprouted some new growth ,set flowers and have many clusters of small , as yet unripe berries. I have removed a lot of the dead standing wood over the months. Today, very suddenly and dramatically the same process of disease (or infestation) has begun again! Earlier in the year before nesting I took some dead stems , inspected them and noticed bore holes. So here I go again I guess. So far I have not noticed the mountain ash sawflies but the viburnum beetles are happily at work.
     
  12. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Good morning Jake, I expect some of the leaves look like ladies lace handkerchiefs after the beetles arrived, but it is good to hear that the borers have not got there, 'yet' anyway.
    Unfortunately there is always a pest that will munch it's way through our precious plants and trees. But it is only nature doing what it does to survive.
    Nice to hear from you

    D
     
  13. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Contributor

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    Hello Jake

    Being at the rural coast - I know Red elderberry

    And I have seen Downy or Hairy woodpecker on the older (elder?’) tall stalks

    I took some pix for you today

    I would estimate that the holes the birds have hammered in are approximately slightly bigger than the screw driver you’d use to apply a switch plate on the electrical box (light switch)

    I can’t think of a larger example right now

    Hère are some pix of leaves and fruit (not ripe) and some older branches

    I was all set to eradicate this shrub weed that the birds spread - and now I realize what a great plant it is - plus native birds love it!

    Hère are some links to downy vs hairy woodpecker ... the coast forest has (or did have) piliated - the big ones who are paired and territorial

    Thèse others are just as special yet much smaller

    I would say - plant your « elders » in the real ground (not pots) and get them going - they are easy to manage and I have no water or disease or cold issues — most people at coast would dig them out (I don’t subscribe to that any longer !)


    Diff betw downy and hairy
    Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers | BirdNote

    Cornell University - well known bird website resource - below
    Hairy Woodpecker Identification, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
     

    Attached Files:

    Acerholic and Margot like this.
  14. Jake Sherlock

    Jake Sherlock Member

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    In reply to planting...I do not and never have planted or transplanted our native red elders. These plants grow naturally around here(on my property) and all over the place on the southwest coast of British Columbia. I have no reason to pot any up. I very much nurture our native plant(and animal) life here on our 5 acres amongst many other non native plants I'll ad. I would venture to say there are dozens of the elders growing here at the moment. I am definitely perplexed by the sudden wilt and subsequent death of what appeared to be healthy stems. It is interesting to see your pics of pecker holes! I could say after looking at those pics that by comparison to the holes I've viewed here the woodpecker work is somewhat rough around the edges so to speak. The hole I looked at here were very precisely cut...squared edges...suggesting to me chewing as opposed to pecking. Just my op there. However, I wonder what those woodpeckers were after? Perhaps borer larva in the pith! Side note.. I have never seen a sapsucker on the elders although they're very busy around here on pretty near everything else. I will see if I still have the sticks I collected (I may have tossed them) and post pics of the holes...
     

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