Sambucus nigra

Botanical Name: Sambucus nigra

Phonetic: sam-BYOO-kus NY-gruh

Common Name(s): Black Elderberry/European Elderberry

Family: Caprifoliaceae
Origin: North Africa, Asia, Europe
Plant Type: Shrub/small tree
Persistence: Deciduous

Leaf Type: Compound pinnate
Number of Leaflets: 7-9
Leaf Color: Medium green
Fall Color: –
Texture: Medium
Density: Dense
Bloom Season: Spring and summer
Flower Color(s): Creamy-white

Exposure: Full sun to part shade
USDA: 5-8
Climate Zone(s): 2-24
Growth Rate: Medium              
Height: 10-25 Feet
Spread: 10-25 Feet
Hydrozone: Medium to wet
Pest/Diseases: Canker, powdery mildew, leaf spot, borers, spider mites, aphids
Soil: Medium to wet, well-drained soils, very tolerant but likes humus

Features: Colorful black berries in fall, attracts birds, edible fruit (wine, jelly, pies), showy flowers
Uses: Backgrounds, naturalize, informal areas, informal hedge

Medicinal Properties: Elderberry, or elder, has been used for centuries to treat wounds, when applied to the skin. It is also taken by mouth to treat respiratory illnesses such as cold and flu. Some evidence suggests that chemicals in elder flower and berries may help reduce swelling in mucous membranes, including the sinuses, and help relieve nasal congestion. Elder may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-influenza, and anticancer properties.

Elderberry also contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and may help prevent damage to the body’s cells. In fact, elderberry outranks blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, and blackberries in terms of total flavonol content.

(Source: University of Maryland, Medical Center, web.)

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