Sambucus racemosa
Common name: 
Red Elderberry
sam-BEW-kus ra-se-MO-sa
Adoxaceae, Caprifoliaceae
S. racemose var. arborescens
S. racemosa var. melanocarpa
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Deciduous large shrub or small tree, 6-20 ft (2-6 m) high, soft pithy twigs.   Leaves opposite, pinnately compound, 5-7 leaflets, each 5-17 cm long, 2-6 cm wide, ovate or lanceolate, acuminate, sharply toothed, unequal at base, bright green, often somewhat hairy below.  Flowers yellowish-white, 5-lobed, 6 mm wide, in clusters that are pyramidal to dome shaped.  Fruits bright red, not edible when raw, but when cooked they make a good jam, pie, and wine. (S. r. var. melanocapra has purple-black fruit.)
  • Sun and part shade, in habitat prefers forest-edge location and moist soils.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3       Native to Europe, Asia Minor, Siberia, western Asia, and much of North America.  A number of botanical forms (subs. or var.) are listed.  See the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) for accepted names.
  • racemosa: referring to the type of inflorescence, having flowers in racemes.  Raceme: an unbranched, elongated inflorescence with flowers maturing from the bottom upwards.
  • Corvallis: River Front Park, east side of walkway and north of the fountain plaza.
Click image to enlarge
  • in habitat, spring flowering

    in habitat, spring flowering

  • plant habit, spring flowering

    plant habit, spring flowering

  • flower clusters and leaves

    flower clusters and leaves

  • flower clusters and flowers

    flower clusters and flowers

  • leaf


  • leaflets, comparison

    leaflets, comparison

  • developing fruit clusters

    developing fruit clusters

  • in habitat, fruiting

    in habitat, fruiting

  • fruit and leaf

    fruit and leaf

  • fruit cluster and fruit

    fruit cluster and fruit

  • stem