Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Trees, Shrub-like Trees, Deciduous
Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade
Water Use: medium
Soil Moisture: moist, wet
Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, average, clay
Bloom Time: May, June, July
Bloom Color: white
Leaf Color: green
Hardiness Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Additional Tags: attracts birds, attracts butterflies, berries, bog plant, colonizing, edible, hedging plant, naturalizing, pond margin plant, showy fruit, stream margin plant, swamp plant
Pricing & Availability
Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensisAlso known as:
American black elderberry,
Sambucus caerulea var. mexicana, Sambucus canadensis, Sambucus canadensis var. laciniata, Sambucus canadensis var. submollis, Sambucus cerulea var. mexicana, Sambucus mexicana, Sambucus orbiculata, Sambucus simpsonii
Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis is an elegant, multistemmed deciduous shrub that typically reaches a mature height of 12 feet. The arching branches are topped by large showy clusters of white, mildly fragrant flowers that are 10" across or more. The bloom period ranges from May to July, and is followed by the development of clusters of purple, edible berry-like fruit called drupes.
American elderberry is adapted of a wide range of growing conditions. It will tolerate somewhat dry conditions, and some shade, but thrives in moist to wet soil in full sun. It has a suckering habit that makes it valuable for erosion control, particularly around stream banks. It is an excellent choice for hedgerows and low growing privacy screens, or can be used to form thickets and naturalize large areas. This is also a popular, and effective species for use in rain gardens. Individual plants are short lived, but can be cut back to the ground every few years, to rejuvenate and encourage new growth. Both cold hardy and heat tolerant. Zones 4-10
Sambucus nigra is most easily propagated by softwood cuttings. Propagation from seed requires multiple steps, including the removal of the flesh to avoid fermentation, scarification, and a period of cold moist stratification. Without pretreatment, seeds can take 2 to 5 years to germinate.
American elderberry is very valuable to a wide variety of wildlife, including pollinators and birds. Although the fruits are unpalatable when raw, they make excellent preserves, pies, and can even be processed into wine.
Native Range & Classification
Recorded County Distribution: USDA data
AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, WY
|Species||Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis||American black elderberry|