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Shrub

European Elder

Sambucus nigra

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European Elder (Sambucus nigra) at Rice's Nursery

Sambucus nigra in bloom

Sambucus nigra in bloom

(Photo courtesy of Northscaping.com)

European Elder (Sambucus nigra) at Rice's Nursery

Sambucus nigra

Sambucus nigra

(Photo courtesy of Northscaping.com)

Height: 15 feet

Spread: 12 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone: 4a

Other Names: Common Elder

Description:

A large bushy shrub or multi-stemmed tree featuring clusters of small, creamy white flowers in spring followed by black berries and thick, pithy stems, quite coarse in winter; very adaptable, survives with minimal care but tends to sucker

Ornamental Features:

European Elder features showy clusters of fragrant buttery yellow flowers held atop the branches in late spring. It has dark green foliage throughout the season. The compound leaves turn yellow in fall. The black fruits are held in clusters in early fall. The smooth tan bark is not particularly outstanding.

Landscape Attributes:

European Elder is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.

This is a high maintenance shrub that will require regular care and upkeep, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. It is a good choice for attracting birds to your yard. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Suckering

European Elder is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • General Garden Use
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens
  • Hedges/Screening

Plant Characteristics:

European Elder will grow to be about 15 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 12 feet. It tends to be a little leggy, with a typical clearance of 2 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under average home landscape conditions. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments.

This species is not originally from North America.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Screening Garden Naturalizing
Applications
Flowers Fruit Attracts Wildlife
Ornamental Features