Plant FinderPlant Finder Graphic
Zone
Zones A1-A3, 1-7, 14-17
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate
Toxicity
Raw fruit of some types can cause gastric distress

Sambucus canadensis

American Elderberry

Deciduous, Edible fruit, Shrubs, Flowers

SAMBUCUS

Grow these large, airy deciduousshrubs for their whitespring flowers and colorful summerberries. In big gardens,they make effective summerscreens or windbreaks. To keepshrubby types dense, prunehard in dormant season, removingolder stems and headingback last year’s growth to a fewinches. Overgrown plants canbe cut to the ground. Types thatgrow into trees need early trainingto single or multiple trunks.

The various elder specieshave bright to dark green leavesand near-black, blue, or red berries.Fruit of red-berried speciesand of S. nigra caerulea cancause gastric upset in humansif consumed raw in large quantities.(Red-fruited forms of black- andblue-berried species arenot poisonous.) Species namesare presently in flux.

Sambucus canadensis

Native to central and eastern North America.Grown mostly in cold-winter climates.Spreading, suckeringshrub to 12 ft. tall and wide.Each leaf has seven 2–6-in.-long leaflets. Blooms in earlysummer, bearing flat, creamywhite flower clusters to 10 in.wide; these are followed bytasty purple-black berries. Thefruit is used for pies; both flowersand fruit are used for wine.Strictly fruiting varieties include‘Adams’ and the larger-fruited(and later) ‘York’; plant both forcross-pollination. ‘Aurea’ hasgolden green foliage (golden infull sun) and red berries.

You Might Also Like...

Sambucus canadensis

Native to central and eastern North America.Grown mostly in cold-winter climates.Spreading, suckerings...

Pinus contorta murrayana

Native to the mountainsof the western U.S. Can grow to 50–80 ft. tall, 20–25 ft. wide,but often much s...

Tsuga mertensiana

To 50–90 ft. in the wild but is slow growing, smaller (20–30 ft. tall, half as wide) in ga...

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

View Maps Learn More

Advertisement