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Sambucus racemosa

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About Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) Sambucus racemosa is a species of elderberry known by the common names red elderberry and Red-berried Elder. It is native to Europe, northern temperate Asia, and North America across Canada and the United States. It grows in riparian environments, woodlands, and other habitats, generally in moist areas. Sambucus racemosa is often a treelike shrub growing 2-6 metres (6. 6-19. 7 ft) tall. The stems are soft with a pithy center. Each individual leaf is composed of 5 to 7 leaflike leaflets, each of which is up to 16 centimeters long, lance-shaped to narrowly oval, and irregularly serrated along the edges. The leaflets have a strong disagreeable odor when crushed. The inflorescence is a vaguely cone-shaped panicle of several cymes of flowers blooming from the ends of stem branches. The flower buds are pink when closed, and the open flowers are white, cream, or yellowish. Each flower has small, recurved petals and a star-shaped axis of five white stamens tipped in yellow anthers. The flowers are fragrant and visited by hummingbirds and butterflies. The fruit is a bright red or sometimes purple drupe containing 3 to 5 seeds. Varieties and subspecies are: Sambucus racemosa subsp. kamtschatica - red elder, native to Northeastern Asia. Sambucus racemosa var. melanocarpa - Rocky Mountain elder, native to the Western United States and Western Canada, including the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada. Sambucus racemosa subsp. pubens - American red elder, native to Eastern North America
Sambucus racemosa subsp. racemosa - European red elder. Sambucus racemosa var. racemosa - Pacific red elderberry. Sambucus racemosa subsp. sibirica - red elder, native to Siberia. Sambucus racemosa subsp. sieboldiana - Japanese red elder

Sambucus racemosa is cultivated as an ornamental plant, for use as a shrub or small tree in traditional and wildlife gardens, and natural landscape design projects. Cultivars in the nursery trade include: Sambucus racemosa 'Black Lace' - burgundy foliage, Sambucus racemosa 'Lemon Lace' - golden yellow and green foliage, Sambucus racemosa 'Lemony Lace' - golden green foliage, with red new growth, Sambucus racemosa 'Sutherland Gold' - green foliage, with bronze new growth. It received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
6.6 - 20 ft (2 - 6.1 m)

Flower Color
White, Yellow, Cream

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Moist places

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
3' - 12391'

Annual Precip. ?
4.8" - 131.3"

Summer Precip. ?
0.26" - 4.41"

Coldest Month ?
19.9° F - 56.8° F

Hottest Month ?
40.8° F - 83.1° F

Humidity ?
0.01 vpd - 35.70 vpd

Soil Description
Favors deeper, loamy sands and silts and nutrient rich sites with good drainage

Fast, Medium

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Common uses
Hedges, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Red-berried Elder

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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