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Denomination: 'Eva'
Trade name: Black Lace
Botanical Name: Sambucus nigra
Applicant/Holder: East Malling Research
New Road
East Malling, Kent
ME19 6BJ
United Kingdom
Breeder: Kenneth Tobutt, East Malling Research, East Malling, 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: 2005-05-04
Application Number: 05-4832
Grant of Rights Date: 2006-11-28
Certificate Number: 2633
Grant of Rights Termination Date: 2024-11-28

Variety Description

Variety used for comparison: 'Gerda' (Black Beauty)

Summary: 'Eva' is an elderberry variety which differs from 'Gerda' in leaf type. 'Eva' has bipinnately compound leaves that have deeply lobed leaflets, whereas 'Gerda' has pinnately compound leaves with no leaflet lobing. The leaves of 'Eva' are also longer and darker in colour than those of 'Gerda'. The inflorescence of 'Eva' is larger in diameter than the inflorescence of 'Gerda'.


'Eva' is an elderberry variety with an upright and spreading growth habit. The stems are thick and ribbed or furrowed. The young stems are light green, developing dark purple red tones and the older stems are grey. There are lenticels on the stems. The leaves of 'Eva' are bipinnately compound, with 5 to 7 leaflets. The leaflets are lanceolate to elliptic in shape, with an acuminate apex and cuneate base. The leaf margin is laciniate (deeply lobed). 'Eva' has moderately glossy leaves, with sparse pubescence along the leaf margin and dense pubescence along the leaf rachis. The main colour of the upper side of the leaves is dark purple brown to black and the lower side is grey green.

The pedicels of 'Eva' are dark purple red. 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 'Eva' is purple in colour. The mature berries are brown purple.

Origin & Breeding History: 'Eva' originated from a series of crosses. In 1988 the breeder conducted a cross (148) between 'Laciniata' and 'Guincho Purple'. In the same year, a cross (149) was made between 'Laciniata' and 'Aurea'. In 1991, a cross (391) was conducted between a purple leaf seedling (from progeny 148) and a yellow leaf seedling (from progeny 149). In 1995, a cross (595) was conducted between seedlings 391, one seedling had tawny coloured, laciniate leaves (code 391A) and the second seedling had purple, laciniate leaves (code 391B). The breeder conducted approximately 200 hand pollinated crosses between seedling 391A and seedling 391B. Of the resultant seed, 39 seedlings were planted in 1997 for evaluation in East Malling. A single plant was selected (595-35) in 1998 based on its dark purple, almost black, laciniate foliage. The new variety was first propagated by softwood cuttings in 1998, in East Malling, U.K. The new variety was named 'Eva' in 2001.

Tests & Trials: Tests and trials for 'Eva' 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 'Eva' with reference variety 'Gerda'

Leaf length(cm)

  'Eva' 'Gerda'
mean 20.4 13.1
std. deviation 2.34 1.41

Colour of leaflet blade (RHS)

  'Eva' 'Gerda'
upper side N200A - 202A 147A with 200A-N200A
lower side 191A 147A with N186C-N200A

Diameter of inflorescence (cm)

  'Eva' 'Gerda'
mean 14.4 11.4
std. deviation 1.22 1.48

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

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