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Elderberry, American elder
Sambucus nigra subsp. canadensis

Copyright by: Chuck McCartney

General Landscape Uses: Accent shrub in moist to wet soils.

Availability: Grown by one or two native plant nurseries in South Florida. Available at Indian Trails Native Nursery in Lake Worth (561-641-9488).

Description: Medium to large shrub; occasionally a small tree.

Dimensions: Typically 8-12 feet in height in South Florida; to 20 feet in Florida. Often as broad as tall or broader.

Growth Rate: Fast.

Range: Widespread in North America south to Miami-Dade and Collier counties; Mexico and Central America; apparently escaped from cultivation in the West Indies. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida website.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of suggested ZIP codes from South Florida north to southern Brevard, Osceola, Polk, and Pasco counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: Wet thickets, swamp margins and moist forests.

Soils: Moist to wet, moderately well-drained to poorly-drained sandy or organic soils, with humusy top layer.

Nutritional Requirements: Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.

Drought Tolerance: Low; requires moist to wet soils and is intolerant of long periods of drought.

Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade.

Flower Color: White.

Flower Characteristics: Showy.

Flowering Season: All year; peak spring-fall.

Fruit: Purplish black and juicy.

Wildlife and Ecology: Provides significant food and cover for wildlife. Birds eat the fruits.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed and root cuttings.

References: Schaefer and Tanner 1997

Comments: Wines and jellies can be made from the fruit. The flowers heads can be dipped in batter and fried. See also the Florida Wildflower Foundation's Flower Friday page.

Copyright by: Chuck McCartney

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

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Copyright by: Eric Fleites

Other data on Sambucus nigra subsp. canadensis available from:

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