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Black Elderberry Sambucus racemosa var. melanocarpa


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Black Elderberry
© Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

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Alternate name: Red Elderberry

Family: Caprifoliaceae, Honeysuckle view all from this family

Description A small, colony-forming shrub with fragrant clusters of white flowers that produce black berries. Leaves are pinnately compound. Mature height is from 3 to 6 ft.

Warning All species of elders that grow in North America are potentially poisonous if plant parts are ingested. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plantís different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil.

Habitat Moist mountain woods and stream banks.

Range N. Rockies; extending less commonly to e. Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and n. Arizona.

Comments Severe pruning improves form.

Exposure Preference Shade to partial sun.

Flower May - July

Native Distribution N. Rockies; extending less commonly to e. Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada & n. Arizona

Site Preference Moist, mt. woods & stream banks

Soil Preference Rich, rocky soils.

Wildlife Value Birds eat berries.