Elderberry : Sambucus canadensis

Kingdom : Plant
   Phylum : Magnoliophyta
          Class : Magnoliopsida
               Order : Dipsacales
                    Family : Caprifoliaceae
                         Genus : Sambucus
                              Species : canadensis L.

Common name: Elderberry


Shrubs to 4 m tall with numerous stems arising from the ground producing runners and colonial growth.

Elderberry, Photo by David Byres Twigs with prominent lenticels.

Pith of the second year or older stems white.

Leaves opposite, odd pinnate compound, 5-11 leaflets, when twice compound the lower divisions each with 3 leaflets, lateral leaflet lanceolate to oblanceolate, the terminal leaflet elliptic to oblanceolate, 5-15 cm long, 2-6 cm wide, serrate, petiole 3-10 cm long, petiolules 0-10 mm long.

Inflorescence a flat cyme, .8-2 dm broad with usually 5 primary rays and stalked glands frequently at the forks of the branches.

Flowers white, about 5 mm broad, fragrant, 5 minute calyx lobes, stamens 5, ovary 3-5 locular.

Berry purplish to black, 4-6 mm long.


Swamp forests, wet woodlands, pastures, wet ditches, open areas, colonizing wet clearings and wet disturbed areas.


Nova Scotia and Quebec west to Minnesota and South Dakota south to Florida and Texas.

Stem and leaves, Photo by David Byres