Sambucus canadensis

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Common name: common elderberry [1], American black elderberry [2]

Sambucus canadensis
Sambucus canadensis IWF.jpg
Photo by John Hilty hosted at
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicots
Order: Dipsacales
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Genus: Sambucus
Species: S. canadensis
Binomial name
Sambucus canadensis
(L.) R. Boll
Natural range of Sambucus canadensis from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Taxonomic Notes

Synonyms: S. nigra Linnaeus ssp. canadensis (Linnaeus) R. Bolli; S. canadensis var. sbmollis Rehder; S. simpsonii Rehder ex Sargent; Sambucus canadensis Linnaeus var. laciniata A. Gray

Varieties: none


S. canadensis is a perennial shrub/tree of the Caprifoliaceae family native to North America, Canada, and Puerto Rico and introduced to Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin. [2]


S. canadensis is found: everywhere in the United States excluding Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah; the Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia areas of Canada; every island of Hawaii; Puerto Rico; the Pacific Basin; and the U.S. Virgin Islands. [2] Specimens have been collected from swamp regions, bottomland woods, floodplain woods, and edge of fully shaded woods. [3]



S. canadensis proliferates in streambanks, thickets, marshes, moist forests, and disturbed areas. [1]


S. canadensis has been observed to flower January through August. [4] The leaflets, particularly of young shoots or stunted sprouts, are often variegated. This is one of the first woody plants to leaf out in the spring. The variation is clinal, and bipinnate leaves are seen as far north as coastal NC. [1]

Fire ecology

S. canadensis is not fire resistant, but has a medium fire tolerance. [2]

Use by animals

S. canadensis is some palatable to browsing animals. [2]

Conservation and Management

Cultivation and restoration

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Weakley, A. S. (2015). Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States. Chapel Hill, NC, University of North Carolina Herbarium.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 USDA Plant Database
  3. URL: Last accessed: June 2018. Collectors: Lisa Keppner, Ed Keppner, R.K. Godfrey, Grady W. Reinert, Wayne D. Longbottom, David H. Williams. States and counties: Florida (Bay, Marion, Union, Jefferson, Jackson, Leon, Seminole)
  4. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. Accessed: 29 MAY 2018