Ontario Trees & Shrubs website

Common Elderberry
Sambucus nigra

Common Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) Other common names: American Elder, Black Elderberry, Canada Elderberry, Common Elder

Other scientific names: Sambucus canadensis, Sambucus cerulea, Sambucus mexicana, Sambucus orbiculata, Sambucus simpsonii

French names: Sureau blanc

Family: Muskroot Family (Adoxaceae), (Honeysuckle Family (Caprifoliaceae))

Group: Elderberries

Distinctive features: Shrub

Similar species:
  •   Red-berried Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) - Very similar, berries red, grows in drier habitats (in woods).

Flowers: Summer;  White;  5 parts (petals)

Height: 2 m (6 ft)

Habitat: Fields and Open Areas, Moist Meadows, Thickets

Edible: The berries make excellent pies.

Books: Shrubs of Ontario: 449    Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 320   

Native/Non-native: Native

Notes: This native shrub is grown for its fruit (for use in jellies, pies or wine), or its use in landscapes for wildlife habitat.

Origin and Meaning of Names:
 Scientific Name: nigra: black

Photographs: 89 photographs available, of which 9 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Common Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) plant

Common Elderberry plant in bloom.

Common Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) leaf

Common Elderberry has a compound leaf.

Common Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) flowers

The flower head in full bloom.

Common Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) flowers

Common Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) plant

A solitary Common Elderberry shrub growing in a damp spot in a field.

Common Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) fruit

Ripe Common Elderberry fruit.

Common Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) ripe fruit on shrub

A shrub heavily laden with ripe fruit. The berries make excellent pie!

Common Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) stems in winter

Twigs in the winter.

Common Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) twig

Range map for Common Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)