Adoxaceae includes 4 genera of perennial herbs and shrubs from temperate and tropical Americal. Viburmum and Sambucus species are occasionally cultivated. Leaves 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 formerly included in Caprifoliaceae. Some authors prefer to place it in Sambucaceae. 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 jellies and wine. Some species are toxic or unpleasantly scented.
Elderberry, elder, sauco
Canada to Florida, Gulf Coast, Mexico, Central America. Semideciduous shrubs, 6-12ft, 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.