Advanced Search Filters

Plant Type
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
Sunset Zone
Function
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Water Requirement

SAMBUCUS nigra

Image of Sambucus nigra

James Burghardt

Family

Caprifoliaceae

Botanical Name

SAMBUCUS nigra

Plant Common Name

Black Elderberry

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Elderberries are large deciduous shrubs native to Europe, Asia and northern Africa. They are grown for their beautiful foliage, large, musky-scented flowers and showy clusters of fruits. Wildlife magnets, their inflorescences are often visited by butterflies and fruits are favored by birds.

Its pinnate (feathery) leaves are divided into many elliptic leaflets, giving a tropical appearance. The leaves emit a somewhat unpleasant odor when crushed. In late spring and summer, flat-topped umbels of creamy flowers appear followed in autumn by large clusters of glossy black berries. Most often seen in cultivation are its smaller selections such as Black Laceā„¢, with its finely divided deep purple-black leaves and pink flowers.

Not fussy about soils, elderberries like a sunny spot and moderate moisture. For best fruiting, plant two or more cultivars in the shrub border or as a screen or backdrop.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    20'-30' / 6.1m - 9.1m

  • Width

    20'-30' / 6.1m - 9.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Europe, Northern Africa, Southern Asia, Western Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Tolerances

    Pollution

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow Green

  • Bark Color

    Brown, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Hedges, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Birds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes