Virginia Tech Dendrology

red elderberry Caprifoliaceae Sambucus racemosa L. Listen to the Latin symbol: SARA2
Leaf: Opposite, pinnately compound, 6 to 12 inches long, with 5 to 7 lanceolate leaflets, apex pointed and margins serrate, dark green and smooth above and paler below.
Flower: Perfect, tiny white flowers borne in large, upright, dome-shaped clusters; have a strong odor; appearing in late spring to early summer.
Fruit: Small (1/16 to 1/8 inch), usually red, berry-like fruits, borne in upright, dome-shaped clusters; unpalatable when raw (may be TOXIC to some) but edible when cooked.
Twig: Stout, soft, and with a large spongy pith, opposite buds and leaves. New sprouts may grow 10 to 12 feet in a single year.
Bark: Gray to dark reddish brown and covered with raised lenticels.
Form: Grows as an upright large shrub or small tree, commonly 8 to 20 feet tall.
Looks like: American elderberry - blue elderberry - Oregon ash - boxelder
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Sambucus racemosa is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting red elderberry.
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson