ADOXACEAE – Sambucus – Sambucus canadensis


Elderberry family

Viburnum family

Edoxaceae includes 4 genera of perennial herbs and  shrubs from temperate and tropical America.

Viburnum and Sambucus species are trifoliolate or pinnately compound. Flowers are bisexual and radially symmetrical. The fruit is a small drupe.


Sambucus includes 9-25 species of shrubs from temperate to tropical regions. This genus was fomerly included in Caprifoliaceae.  Some authurs prefer to place it in Sambuceae. Stems are pithy in the center. Leaves are irregularly pinnate. Flowers are small, bisexual, and radially symmetrical. They have 3-5 sepals and petals.  The fruits of some species are excellent in pies, somewhat resembling the flavor of blueberries. The fruits are also made into fellies and wine. Some species are toxic or  unpleasantly scented.

Sambucus canadensis

Elderberry, elder, sauco

Canada to Florida, Gulf Coast, Mexico, Central America. Semideciduous shrubs, 6-12 ft, zones 8-10. Blooms spring, summer. Moderate moisture. Most soils. Full to part sun. Flowers: small, white, in many – flowered panicles, fruit purple – black. Leaves irregularly pinnate, leaflets 5-9, Lanceolate to elliptic, 3-4 in. long margins serrate. Infrequently cultivated in the United States but commonly found in disturbed areas and along streams. It is grown as a dooryard shrub in Haiti. And around graveyards in the west Indies.

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