How to Identify Elderberry Pith


Elderberry plants are recognizable by their pointy green leaves and clusters of tiny purple berries. If you come across elderberry plants in the wild, you need to ensure that they are actually elderberries before you think about eating them. Water hemlock looks similar to elderberry plants, but it is extremely toxic. One of the main visible differences between elderberry and water hemlock is the pith, which is found along the center of the branches.

Step 1

Cut a branch of the plant at an angle with a sharp knife or scissors. An angled cut is better, as it exposes more of the pith.

Step 2

Look at the color of the pith. Elderberry pith has a white or very light grey color.

Step 3

Examine the texture of the pith. Elderberry pith has a slightly bumpy, sponge-like texture.

Step 4

Feel the pith. It should feel somewhat spongy, but still firm.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife or shears


  • University of Florida: Elderberry
  • Wild Man Steve Brill: Identifying Elderberry
Keywords: identify elderberry pith, identify elderberry plants, elderberry pith characteristics

About this Author

Kenneth Coppens is a part-time freelance writer and has been for one year. He currently writes for Demand Studios, eHow, Associated Content and is the Indianapolis Craft Beer Expert for Examiner.