Elderberry

The elderberry shrub grows quickly, produces bountiful edible fruit and flowers, offers shelter to wildlife, and works as a windbreak. Fast-growing and easy to propagate, elderberry is an outstanding multifunctional native plant for the homestead.


Common Name: Elderberry
Scientific Name: Sambucus nigra canadensis
Family: Adoxaceae


A young elderberry can be identified by opposite compound leaves with leaflet veins that terminate in the tips of the serrated edge.

A young elderberry can be identified by opposite compound leaves with leaflet veins that terminate in the tips of the serrated edge.

Uses

  • Edible flowers
  • Edible fruit
  • Erosion control
  • Medicinal
  • Screen
  • Shelter for wildlife
  • Windbreak

Medicinal Properties

  • antimicrobial
  • antiviral
  • diuretic
  • anticatarrhal

Forest Garden Designing

  • Plant Type: Shrub
  • Plant Leaf Type: Deciduous
  • Layer Use: Shrub
  • Pollination: Partially self-fruitful, cross-pollination helpful
  • Flowering: June-July
  • Leaf Shape: pinnately compound, five to seven elliptical to lanceolate leaflets
  • Height: 6-12′
  • Width: 6-12′

Planting Considerations

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-10
  • Light: Full-part sun
  • Shade: Tolerates shade
  • Moisture: Needs adequate drainage; falsely reputed to tolerate waterlogged soils
  • pH: 5.5-6.5
  • Juglone sensitivity: tolerates juglone

Propagation

Seeds or new growth cuttings.

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