Image for Black Elderberry

Black Elderberry

Scientific name

Sambucus nigra


The Black Elderberry is a large, fast-growing, deciduous shrub or small tree, which typically grows to 4m. This species tolerates a variety of conditions and is commonly found in sunny locations with well-drained soils. Black Elderberry can be single or multi-stalked with numerous branches creating a full, round body. Leaves are compound, with 5-7 leaflets that grow opposite each other along the branch. During the fall, leaves tend to turn a pale yellow. During late May to early June, this species produces flowers that are ivory white and grow in flat topped clusters. By late August, flowers turn to glossy, deep purple fruit, which attract a variety of wildlife like songbirds and small mammals. Ripe fruit is edible for humans and is commonly made into jams and jellies. The root system of this species is shallow, and can form colonies through suckering.

Planting conditions

Black Elderberry grows best in moist to normal conditions with full or partial sun exposure. It grows well in a range of soil types. It is tolerant of occasional drought and flooding. Elderberry is resistant to beaver damage since they tend not to prefer this shrub. Black Elderberry can be naturally found in open forests, along lake or river shorelines.


  • Plant height:
    • Any
    • Over 3m
  • Moisture level:
    • Dry
    • Normal
    • Moist
    • Wet
    • Drought Tolerant
    • Flood Tolerant
  • Light conditions:
    • Full sun
  • Soil type:
    • Sandy
    • Clay
  • pH:
    • Normal
  • Depth:
    • Potted
    • Bareroot
  • Eco Zone:
    • 2a
    • 2b
    • 3a
    • 3b
    • 4a
    • 4b
    • 5a
    • 5b
    • 6a
    • 6b
    • 7a
    • 7b
    • 8a
  • Plant type:
    • Shrub
  • Height:
    • 4 m
  • Spread:
    • 3 m