Red Elderberry, Sambucus racemosa

Red Elderberry

Sambucus racemosa

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer
Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Soil Conditions: Acid, Loam
Soil Moisture: Medium, Moist, Wet
Color: White
Fragrance: Yes
Height: 8-12 feet
Spacing: 8-12 feet

Red Elderberry, Sambucus racemosa, is a deciduous suckering shrub which typically grows to 8-12 feet tall with a somewhat sprawling habit.

Red Elderberry features opposite, pinnate-compound, green leaves which have 5-7 leaflets, dome-shaped clusters of numerous, late spring to early summer, tiny, fragrant, white flowers and dark red summer-to-fall elderberry fruits in upright clusters.

Habitats include moist to mesic open woodlands, forested bogs, upland rocky woodlands, wooded slopes with a northern exposure, swamps, and sandy meadows. The preference is full sun to light shade, moist to mesic conditions, and soil containing sandy loam, silty loam, or rocky material.

Where summer weather is hot, some protection from the afternoon sun is desirable.

It is best grown in deep, medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best foliage color is in full sun. Tolerates a wide range of soils, but prefers moist, humusy, nutrient-rich and neutral to slightly acidic loams. The plant spreads by root suckers to form colonies. Prune suckers as they appear unless naturalizing.

A large number of late winter pruning options include pruning out dead or weakened stems, shortening one year stems or cutting some stems back to the ground to rejuvenate. Some horticulturists recommend a hard spring pruning for maintaining best foliage appearance and habit.

 Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  The flowers have an unpleasant fragrance.
  Fruits are sour and usually not consumed raw by humans, but may be cooked for use in the preparation of wine, jelly and pies.
  Fruits are attractive to wildlife.
 Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

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