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Elder Sambucus nigra

Phonetic Spelling
sam-BYOO-kus NY-gruh
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Large multi-stemmed shrub or small tree that prefers well-drained soil in the full sun to partial shade.  It grows rapidly through suckering and forms colonies easily. It does best in a background planting and with enough room to naturalize.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Spider mites and aphids are occasional problems.  Cankers, leaf spot, and powdery mildew do occur.  Branches are susceptible to wind and winter snow breakage.  Plants grow quickly and aggressively and it can be weedy in some areas.

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Sun to Shade Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Albovariegata'
    Cream variegation around leaves
  • 'Black Lace'
  • Marginata
  • Variegata
'Albovariegata', 'Black Lace', Marginata, Variegata
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#small tree#fragrant flowers#wildlife plant#weedy#nectar plant#showy fruits#food source#fast growing#multistemmed#weak wood#background#edible leaves#black fruits#naturalized area#glossy fruits#malodorus#bird friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Albovariegata'
    Cream variegation around leaves
  • 'Black Lace'
  • Marginata
  • Variegata
'Albovariegata', 'Black Lace', Marginata, Variegata
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#small tree#fragrant flowers#wildlife plant#weedy#nectar plant#showy fruits#food source#fast growing#multistemmed#weak wood#background#edible leaves#black fruits#naturalized area#glossy fruits#malodorus#bird friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Sambucus
    Species:
    nigra
    Family:
    Viburnaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    This plant has been used in traditional medicine.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract butterflies. Fruits attract birds.
    Edibility:
    Flowers and blue-black berries. Flowers are used to make wines and cordials and the berries can be made into jam and syrup.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 10 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 8 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Lustrous glossy black fruits 3/8" across in late summer to fall.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Umbel
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Description:
    Yellowish white to cream flowers on large 5" to 8" flat-topped umble-like cymes in summer. Flowers smell musky.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Opposite
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Dark green pinnately compound leaves; 3 to 9 leaflets; unpleasant odor when crushed
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Songbirds
    Problems:
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    feeling ill, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    cyanide-inducing glycosides
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Leaves
    Roots
    Seeds
    Stems