American Elderberry & the Elderberry Borer
Interestingly, while the ripe fruit of American Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) is used in the production of wine, pies and jelly, the leaves, stems, roots and unripe fruits of this plant are poisonous, due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals. Elderberry Borers (Desmocerus palliates) seem immune to these crystals, however. They lay their eggs at the base of the plant, and the hatching larvae then burrow their way into the stems and eat tunnels into the roots of the plant. Adult beetles that emerge and are present through the summer are hard to miss, with their shimmering blue and yellow/orange outer wings, or elytra.
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This entry was posted on September 9, 2013 by Mary Holland. It was filed under Arthropods, Beetles, Flowering Plants, Insects, Invertebrates, Larvae, Metamorphosis, Plants, Poisonous Plants, September, Shrubs .