CRCCD – Black Elderberry EcoR


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Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis

CT  RG  E  P  EcoR

Soil:  Loamy, Fertile, Well-drained
Moisture:  Average to Wet
Light:  Part Sun (Full Sun if well watered)
Plant Height:  5 to 12 feet
Plant Width:  5 to 12 feet
Pests:  None
Landscape Value:  Great for low spots and along streams and ponds, and in rain gardens.  Good in shrub borders and for mass plantings in naturalized areas where suckering spread may be appreciated.  Makes a good tall hedge or screen.  Useful for erosion control on moist sites.

Graceful, fast-growing, multi-stemmed shrub with long branches arising from the base and arching at the top.  Large compound leaves have multiple paired leaflets.  Foliage turns yellow in the fall.  Large, flat-topped clusters of fragrant white flowers appear May to July, producing drooping clusters of purple-black berries enjoyed by many birds and mammals.  Spreads by root suckers to form colonies.  Suckers can be pruned if not naturalizing.  In late winter, prune out dead/weakened stems or cut back to ground level to keep growth in check.  Susceptible to damage from high winds and heavy snow/ice.  Tolerates a wide range of soils, but prefers moist, humusy ones.  Attracts bees, wasps, and beetles.  Provides nesting sites and nest materials for native bees.  Fruits can be used to make jams and jellies, syrups, pie fillings and wine.  Flower clusters can be dipped in batter and fried to make fritters.

Warning:  Fruit is edible, but must be cooked before consuming.  Raw or unripe fruit is toxic.

1 gallon pot, 2-3 feet tall

Note:  Two or more shrubs are recommended.  Although self-pollinated, berry crops are larger and more dependable if flowers are cross-pollinated.