Common Elderberry

Sambucus canadensis

Copyright, Bill Hoch

Common Elderberry is a large shrub which can grow up to 16 feet tall. It usually grows in wet areas, such as marshes, or forest edges.

The leaves of elderberry have 5 to 11 leaflets (smaller mini-leaves) on a stem.

Common Elderberry flowers are in clusters. Each flower in the cluster is tiny and white. They bloom in May and June. Flower clusters look a lot like the wildflower known as Queen Anne's Lace.

Virginia Tech

Trees of Alabama and the Southeast, Photographer: Mike Hogan

Kenneth J.Sytsma, Wisconsin State Herbarium

The fruits of Common Elderberry are a kind of berry called a drupe. The drupes are small and black (or dark purple). Many birds eat them, including: Northern Cardinal, Eastern Bluebird, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, White-breasted Nuthatch, Blue Jay, Eastern Kingbird, European Starling, Eastern Phoebe, American Robin, Brown Thrasher, Cedar Waxwing, woodpeckers, and Tufted Titmouse. White-footed Mice also eat them.

Eastern Cottontails and Woodchucks eat the bark. White-tailed Deer it leaves and twigs.

This plant depends on birds to spread its seeds. After they eat the fruit, they poop the seeds out in a new place.

Merel R. Black, Wisconsin State Herbarium

GardenWeek

This shrub provides cover for many birds and small animals. New plants can sprout from roots.

Some other plants that often grow with Common Elderberry include Highbush Blueberry, dogwoods, and Spicebush.

Relationships in Nature:

Animals Using as Food Source

Animals Using as Shelter

Associations With Other Plants

OTHER

Eastern Bluebird

American Robin

Highbush Blueberry

Northern Cardinal D

Northern Cardinal

Gray Catbird

Flowering Dogwood

White-breasted Nuthatch D

Polyphemus Moth

Northern Mockingbird

Spicebush

Gray Catbird D

Eastern Kingbird

Northern Cardinal

Eastern Bluebird D

Northern Mockingbird

Eastern Gray Squirrel

Northern Mockingbird D

White-breasted Nuthatch

Meadow Vole

American Robin D

American Robin

White-footed Mouse

European Starling D

European Starling

American Toad

Cedar Waxwing D

Cedar Waxwing

Eastern Garter Snake

Pileated Woodpecker D

Pileated Woodpecker

Northern Ringneck Snake

White-footed Mouse D

White-footed Mouse

Copperhead

Eastern Cottontail

Wood Frog

Woodchuck

Eastern Chipmunk

White-tailed Deer

Field Cricket

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Rabid Wolf Spider

Eastern Phoebe

American Dog Tick

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Green Stinkbug

Tufted Titmouse

Northern Bobwhite

Green Stinkbug

Common Yellowthroat

European Starling

Northern Caddis Fly

Relationship to Humans:

Many people eat elderberries. They are used to make jelly, preserves, pie, and wine. They are also planted in lawns and gardens for their flowers or as a wildlife attractor.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Plant
DIVISION
Magnoliophyta
CLASS
Magnoliopsida
ORDER
Dipsacales
FAMILY
Caprifoliaceae
GENUS
Sambucus
SPECIES
Sambucus canadensis

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