Sambucus caerulea var. neomexicana

New Mexico Elder - Sambucus caerulea var. neomexicana
Below Hillsboro Peak
Black Range, New Mexico, USA

The things that you see when you walk one way on a trail versus the things you see when you walk the other way are a wonder.  A not very small example of this factoid is the New Mexico Elder, Sambucus caerulea var. neomexicana, that Rebecca and I saw just below the summit of Hillsboro Peak - on our way down, didn’t notice it on the way up.  And it was fairly large and green, in a burned area.

To quote the Wikipedia entry on this species, “The taxonomy of this species is not finalized...”  We will stick with the Vascular Plants of the Gila and not delve into the topic further.  Other common names for the form found here may be Blue Elderberry, Blue Elder, and Southwestern Elderberry.  Synonyms for the scientific name include; Sambucus caerulea, Sambucus caerulea var. neomexicana, Sambucus caerulea var. velutina, Sambucus cerulea, Sambucus cerulea var. cerulea, Sambucus cerulea var. neomexicana, Sambucus cerulea var. velutina, Sambucus glauca, Sambucus mexicana ssp. caerulea, Sambucus mexicana var. caerulea, Sambucus mexicana ssp. cerulea, Sambucus mexicana var. cerulea, Sambucus neomexicana, Sambucus neomexicana var. vestita, Sambucus nigra ssp. caerulea, Sambucus nigra ssp. cerulea, and Sambucus velutina -- and in several cases these are not synonyms in the classic sense - that is, past descriptors.  Nay, many of these names are currently accepted by many authorities.

The indigenous people of our area found many uses for this plant species.  Not only were the berries used for food and the rest of the plant used for various medicinal purposes but the pithy core of his branches made it ideal as a fire starter and as the basis of musical instruments.

Sawyer Peak Trail, Crest of the Black Range, New Mexico, USA - June 19, 2016

© Robert Barnes 2018-2023