Sambucus racemosa L. - Red Elderberry


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Sambucus racemosa - (image 1 of 5)



Family: Caprifoliaceae


Rich mesic or swampy woods.




Circumboreal. In North America from Newfoundland to British Columbia, south to PA, IN, and IL, and in mountains to NC.


Deciduous shrub to 3 m. Leaves pinnate compound; leaflets 4-7, finely tooth, lance-ovate to narrowly oblong, acuminate, often soft-hairy beneath. Stems green, become pale brown and woody with age; pith brown. Flowers in ovoid panicles about as long as broad; petals 5, white; stamens 5. Fruit a bright red berry.


Flowers late Aprile to late May

Wetland indicator: Facultative Upland +

This species also occurs in Europe, our plants are ssp. pubens (Michx.) House. The fruit of this species is not edible and contains a bitter yellow oil.


Foster, S. and R.A. Caras. 1994. A Field Guide to Venomous Animals and Poisonous Plants: North America North of Mexico.

Houghton Mifflin Company. New York, NY. 244 pp.


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


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




 Michael Hough 2005