Sambucus canadensis L. - Elderberry


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Sambucus canadensis - (image 1 of 5)



Family: Caprifoliaceae


Woodlands, shaded floodplains. Common along roadsides, fencerows, and small streams.




Nova Scotia and Quebec west to Manitoba and SD, south to Mexico and the West Indies.


Deciduous shrub to 3 m. Leaves pinnate compound; leaflets sharply serrate, elliptic. Stems green, become pale brown and woody with age; pith white. Flowers in compound panicles; petals 5, white; stamens 5. Fruit a purple-black berry.


Flowers early June to late August

Wetland indicator: Facultative Wetland -

This shrub attains its best form in full sun. The fruit has an unpleasant smell and taste when fresh but this property is removed by cooking. Properly prepared fruit can be used to make juice, preserves, or to make wine. The dried fruit can also be added to bake goods. Roots, stems, leaves and unripe fruit are poisonous.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.

The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


Peterson, L. A. 1977. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America

Houghton Mifflin Company. New York, NY


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.




 Michael Hough 2005