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Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa)

This species is a deciduous perennial shrub or small tree which can reach a height of 3-7 meters. Its green leaves have serrated edges and a strong, distinctive odor. The bark is dark reddish-brown with raised pores. The fragrant creamy-white flowers are arranged into dome-shaped clusters. The fruits is small, berry-like clusters and usually changes from green to red or, rarely, to yellow or white, or red to purple-black; it falls from the plant when ripe. Native Americans used the fruits and bark medicinally. The fruits were used for seasoning in food, soups, and other dishes. They were eaten fresh as well as cooked to make jellies and jams; fruits were also used to make wine. The CPP four letter code for this species is SARA.

This species is currently being monitored at Redwood National Park.


Download the USA-NPN datasheet for Sambucus racemosa here.

Download the CPP species profile for Sambucus racemosa here.


For additional information about this species, visit these pages:

Sambucus racemosa on the USA-NPN website

Sambucus racemosa on Calflora

Sambucus racemosa on USDA PLANTS

CPP Parks and Partners