blue elderberry Caprifoliaceae Sambucus
nigra ssp. cerulea L. ssp. cerulea (Raf.) R. Bolli
|Leaf: Opposite, pinnately compound, deciduous, 6 to 12 inches long, with 5 to 9 lanceolate leaflets, apex pointed and margins serrate, dark green and smooth above and paler below.
Flower: Perfect, tiny white flowers borne in large, upright, flat-topped clusters, appearing in early summer.
Fruit: Small (1/16 to 1/8 inch), dark blue berry-like fruits covered with a white bloom, borne in upright, flat-topped clusters. Not listed as being toxic to humans when eaten raw, but why take a chance when red elder is toxic?
Twig: Stout, soft, and with a large spongy pith; covered with a waxy bloom; opposite buds and leaves. New sprouts may grow 10 to 12 feet in a single year.
Bark: Grayish brown to black and covered with raised lenticels.
Form: Grows as a large upright shrub or small tree, commonly to 20 feet or more.
Looks like: American elderberry
- red elderberry
- Oregon ash
| Additional Range Information:
Sambucus nigra ssp. cerulea is native to North America.
Range may be expanded by planting.
See states reporting blue elderberry.
| External Links:
USDA Plants Database
|© Copyright 2016, Virginia Tech|
Dept. of Forest Resources
and Environmental Conservation,
all rights reserved.
Photos and text by: John Seiler,
Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera,
and John Peterson