American Black Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up American Black Elderberry
Give a thumbs up American Elderberry
Give a thumbs up Common Elderberry

Botanical names:
Sambucus canadensis Accepted
Sambucus nigra subsp. canadensis Synonym
Sambucus mexicana Synonym
Sambucus simpsonii Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 3 - 12 feet
Plant Spread: 6 -12 feet
Leaves: Unusual foliage color
Deciduous
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Flowers: Showy
Fragrant
Flower Color: White
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Summer
Underground structures: Rhizome
Uses: Culinary Herb
Medicinal Herb
Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Fruit
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Birds
Butterflies
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Flood Resistant
Toxicity: Leaves are poisonous
Pollinators: Bees
Various insects
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Monoecious
Conservation status: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation status:
Conservation status: Least Concern
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March 22, 2013

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Comments:
Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Jan 4, 2018 1:26 PM

The American Black Elder or Elderberrry is a common shrub that inhabits bogs, swamps, marshes, bottomlands, along watercourses, and moist woods from Nova Scotia and southeast Canada, New England down through all of Florida to eastern Texas up through much of Oklahoma & Kansas & Nebraska, areas in the Dakotas into southern Manitoba. Stout, smooth, waxy twigs and stems with compound leaves of 5 to 11 leaflets, usually 7, and only a poor yellow-green fall color. Fragrant flat-topped flower clusters of 6 to 10 inches wide in June-July. Small globular purple-black berries in August-September loved by birds and small mammals and people; often made into jams, jellies, and wine. Fast growing, grows in heavy clay soils and yet tolerates heat and drought. Easy to transplant with shallow, fibrous root system, but it does ground sucker, at least in very moist soils. It is not a dirty, messy plant, but yet not real clean and neat, but it is a good shrub for landscapes. It is sold by large, diverse nurseries and native plant nurseries. I find a few planted in regular homeowner yards, but once again landscape designers and architects use it much more in professional conventional landscapes or in naturalistic landscapes.

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Posted by mellielong (Lutz, Florida - Zone 9b) on Apr 17, 2015 8:47 PM

The book, "How to Know the Wildflowers" (1922) by Mrs William Starr Dana gives us quite a bit of historical information about this plant. The author notes that the plant borders the lanes and streams and blooms in early summer. Later in the year, the plant produces dark berries from which "elderberry wine is brewed by the country people". The fine white wood is easily cut and used for pegs and skewers. She also claims a decoction of the leaves can protect delicate plants from caterpillars. Regarding the name, she says the "white pith can be easily removed from the stems, hence the old English name of bore-wood." She further explains that the name elder is probably derived from the Anglo-Saxon "aeld" meaning fire, and refers to the use of the hollow branches in "blowing up a fire".

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Help with identification of tree by Beeditt Apr 10, 2019 1:49 PM 4
Is this an elderberry tree/bush by prissy012899 Mar 18, 2019 5:46 PM 2
Cross pollination of Elderberries by Bevely Dec 30, 2018 7:21 PM 3
I can't remember the name of this plant , HELP ! by bumplbea Jun 1, 2018 10:52 PM 4
Is this poison ivy? by kreid75 Aug 21, 2017 6:30 PM 4
leaves of 3, but not poison ivy by Muddy1 Jul 30, 2017 3:54 PM 9
What is this by SCButtercup Mar 25, 2016 6:13 AM 6
Salt tolerant plants by eclayne Feb 8, 2013 9:39 PM 130
Gardening with Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers, The Front Yard. by frostweed Apr 25, 2018 9:04 AM 115

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