Sun: Full to partial sun
Bloom Color: White
Soil: Clay, loam, sand
Attracts: Butterflies and other pollinators, birds
Pollinator Benefit: provides nesting material for native bees; good nectar source
American Elder (Black Elder) (Sambucus nigra, ssp. canadensis) is covered with large umbels of clustered white flowers that provide nectar from June to July, followed by a profusion of dark purple berry clusters in late summer. The fruit is prized by birds and makers of wine and jellies, alike. Feather-like compound leaves grace this shrub, and provide outstanding cover and nesting sites for songbirds.
Prefers moist areas and is tolerant of a wide range of soils in full to partial sun.
Typically growing up to 10 feet tall, Elderberry spreads to form a thicket. For this reason it is best planted in settings where it can naturalize and spread a little. In a maintained landscape the suckers can be pruned to control spreading.
American Elder (Sambucus canadensis) (Sambucus nigra, ssp. candensis is the native to Michigan, the Sambucus nigra is the European variety)
- Edible Elderberries--only when completely ripe (dark purple)
Always cook; Do not eat raw--raw can be toxic
- May be dried to preserve
- Cooked elderberries are safe and delicious
- Always cook; Do not eat raw--raw can be toxic
- Elder Flowers, AKA Elderflowers
- fresh or dried
- Tea (link to how to make Elderberry Tea)