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Denomination: 'Gerda'
Trade name: Black Beauty
Botanical Name: Sambucus nigra
Applicant/Holder: East Malling Research
New Road
East Malling, Kent
ME19 6BJ
United Kingdom
Breeder: Kenneth R. Tobutt, Wateringbury, Kent, United Kingdom
Agent in Canada: BioFlora Inc.
38723 Fingal Line
R.R. #1
St. Thomas, Ontario
N5P 3S5
Tel: 519-317-7511
Application Date: 2002-02-06
Application Number: 02-2986
Grant of Rights Date: 2007-01-18
Certificate Number: 2663
Date rights surrendered: 2010-01-25

Variety Description

Variety used for comparison: 'Guincho Purple'

Summary: 'Gerda' ia an elderberry variety which has shorter and narrower plants than 'Guincho Purple'. The pedicel of 'Gerda' has very strong anthocyanin colouration, whereas the pedicel of 'Guincho Purple' has weak to medium anthocyanin colouration. 'Gerda' has white flowers with purple petal tips and bright red anthers while 'Guincho Purple' has white flowers with reddish pink anthers.


'Gerda' is an elderberry variety with an upright growth habit. The stems are medium to thick. The young stems are smooth and green to dark purple red in colour. The older stems are grey with a ribbed or furrowed surface. There are lenticels on the stems. The leaves of 'Gerda' are pinnately compound, with 3 to 5 leaflets. The leaflets are ovate to elliptic in shape, with an acuminate apex and cuneate base. The leaf margin is serrulate. 'Gerda' has weakly glossy leaves which are mainly glabrous, with very sparse pubescence only on the veins. The main colour of the leaves is dark purplish green.

The pedicels of 'Gerda' are purple red with strong anthocyanin colouration. The inflorescence is a flat, branched polychasium (umbel-like cyme). The flowers are rotate with 5 rounded white petals, which have a purple tip. Before dehiscence the anthers are red. The immature fruit of 'Gerda' is green purple in colour. The mature berries are both red and black.

Origin & Breeding History: 'Gerda' originated from an initial cross pollination made by the breeder between the variety 'Fastigiata' and the variety 'Guincho Purple'. The progeny from this cross were then cross pollinated in June 1993. Seedlings progeny from the second cross were planted in February 1994. The new Sambucus variety was selected by the breeder as a single plant within a population of progeny resulting from this cross in a controlled environment in July 1997. Asexual reproduction of 'Gerda' has been conducted using softwood cuttings since 1997.

Tests & Trials: Tests and trials for 'Gerda' were conducted in an outdoor container trial during the summers of 2004-2005, in St. Thomas, Ontario. The trial included a total of 15 plants of each variety. All plants were grown from 4½ inch liners, planted into 2 gallon containers in May 2004 and transplanted into 3 gallon containers on July 2, 2004. Trials were arranged outdoors in rows with approximately 1 metre spacing between plants. Observations and measurements were taken from 10 plants of each variety on June 14, 2005. All colour measurements were made using the RHS Colour Chart 2001.

Comparison tables for 'Gerda' with reference variety 'Guincho Purple'

Plant height (cm)

  'Gerda' 'Guincho Purple'
mean 52.3 66.3
std. deviation 9.86 6.67

Plant width (cm)

  'Gerda' 'Guincho Purple'
mean 60.9 81.4
std. deviation 10.86 7.11

Colour of petal (RHS)

  'Gerda' 'Guincho Purple'
upper side 155B with 186D at tip 155A

Click on image for larger view
Elderberry: 'Gerda' (left) with reference variety 'Guincho Purple' (right)

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