Trees

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Sambucus racemosa
red elderberry

Habit: upright deciduous shrub with a broad arching form and many branches. The bark is dark reddish/brown, coarse and covered in small blisters. Leaves are pinnately compound comprised of 5-7 elongated leaflets with toothed margins. Inflorescences are pyramidal shaped clusters of many small creamy white flowers that bloom between April and July. The fruit is a small bright red berry that appears in summer.

Ecology: found in much of North America usually in cooler and moist areas inhabiting streambanks, ravines, swamps and open logged areas at elevations from sea level to 9500 ft (2895 m).

Growing Conditions: full sun to fairly deep shade in well drained moist to wet soil.

Stems, bark, leaves and roots contain cyanide-producing toxins but berries may be consumed as jelly or wine after cooking. Sambucus racemosa provides food and cover for birds and other mammals and the flower nectar attracts hummingbirds. The dense root system makes it useful for soil stabilization and erosion control on moist sites.

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Bareroot AvailabilityContainer Availability
Type:
Deciduous Shrub/ Tree
Height:
6.5-20 ft (2-6 m)
Width:
6.5-20 ft (2-6 m)
USDA Zones:
4-10
Distribution of

Map courtesy of USDA-NRCS Plants Database.