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Common Elderberry, Elderberry, American Elder, Sweet Elder, Pie Elder, Elder-blow
Sambucus canadensis


Elderberry is a common shrub inhabiting damp soils near streams, swamps and other low places in Eastern and Central North America from Texas and Florida to Nova Scotia and Manitoba. This many-stemmed suckering shrub forms large, dense colonies, or may be a 30 foot tree under the right conditions. It has large, pinnately compound leaves with bright green, smooth and lustrous leaflets. The lower leaflet surface is paler and more or less pubescent. In Texas its large (to 10 inches across) conspicuous creamy white flowers bloom from May to July. There are many varieties which are grown for their showy flowers, attractive fruit and variable leaves. It has been in cultivation since 1761. The fruit and flowers are used to make pies, wines, candies, beverages, jellies and toiletries. There have also been extensive but questionable medicinal uses of leaves, bark, flowers and fruit. Dried leaves have been used as an insecticide. Drains for tapping sugar maples were made from its hollowed out stems, as were childrens' toys: whistles, flutes and pop guns. Elderberry is a food source for 45 species of birds and white tail deer. It is also sometimes consumed by livestock.

Plant Habit or Use: medium shrub
large shrub
small tree
medium tree

Exposure: partial sun

Flower Color: white

Blooming Period: spring

Fruit Characteristics: purple or black drupe

Height: 10 feet, rarely 30 feet

Width: 8 to 20 feet

Plant Character: deciduous

Heat Tolerance: high

Water Requirements:

Soil Requirements: adaptable

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5

Additional Comments:

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