Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Shrub-like Trees, Deciduous
Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade
Water Use: medium
Soil Moisture: moist, wet
Soil Description: neutral, rich, average, loam, clay, sand, gravel/rock
Bloom Time: May, June
Bloom Color: white
Leaf Color: green
Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts birds, attracts butterflies, attracts hummingbirds, berries, fall interest, pond margin plant, stream margin plant
Pricing & Availability
Sambucus racemosaAlso known as:
Sambucus callicarpa, Sambucus microbotrys, Sambucus pubens, Sambucus pubens var. arborescens, Sambucus racemosa ssp. pubens, Sambucus racemosa var. pubens, Sambucus racemosa var.racemosa
Sambucus racemosa is a large deciduous tree-like shrub that can reach a mature height of 20', with multiple arching stems. The leaves are opposite, compound, consisting of 5 to 7 oblong, pubescent leaflets with serrated margins, and produce good fall color. Conical clusters of white flowers are borne on the upper part of the stems. These give way to conspicuous clusters of bright-red berries that are very attractive to wildlife. Both leaves and flowers have a distinctive, arguably unpleasant fragrance.
Red elderberry prefers environments that are consistently moist and in full sun. It will tolerate open shade, particularly in the warmer limits of its range. It will adapt to a wide range on circumneutral soils, including well-drained sandy or rocky, to silty loam. The dense, rhizomatous root system makes it a good choice for erosion control. Plants will spread by suckers to form large stands, but do not do so aggressively.The bloom period lasts about a month in mid to late spring. A very cold hardy species. Zones 3-8
Fresh seeds will need to be stripped of their flesh before sowing in fall. Stored seeds require a cycle of warm and cold stratification to break dormancy. Plants can also be propagated by hardwood cuttings taken in winter, root division in spring, or softwood cuttings in summer.
Sambucus racemosa is often grown for its fruit. The berries are astringent, bitter and slightly toxic when eaten raw, however they make delicious preserves, jams and wine.
Native Range & Classification
Recorded County Distribution: USDA data
AZ, CA, CO, CT, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SD, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
|Species||Sambucus racemosa||red elderberry|