Hansen's Northwest Native Plant Database


Sambucus mexicana (Blue Elderberry)

Kingdom

 Plantae Plants

Subkingdom

 Tracheobionta Vascular plants

Superdivision

 Spermatophyta Seed plants

Division

 Magnoliophyta Flowering plants

Class

 Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons

Subclass

 Asteridae

Order

 Dipsacales

Family

 Caprifoliaceae Honeysuckle family

Genus

 Sambucus L. elderberry

Species

 Sambucus nigra L. black elderberry

Subspecies

 Sambucus nigra L. ssp. cerulea (Raf.) R. Bolli blue elderberry

Note: Throughout the years I've written short articles for our website's home pages (home pages are the front page of a website) about these plants. They are now included at the bottom of this page, and are illustrated by botanical drawings and paintings, some of which are from books published from 1500 - 1900.

This handsome, deciduous shrub, with its multiple stems, reaches 6-12 in little time.

The bright green leaves grow from stems as pithy as raspberry canes and surround the distinct flat-topped clusters of flowers.

Shrubs yield an impressive amount of delectable, blue-black berries with a high vitamin content that are used in pies, wines and preserves. Birds and other wildlife flock to the berries as they ripen. Do take care not to eat the berries uncooked and remember that the roots, leaves and bark contain cyanide and must be avoided.

Blue elderberry is generally an interior rather than coastal plant found from Alberta to New Mexico and west to the Pacific Coast (USDA 5-10).

It grows well in sun or shade and tolerates a moderately dry site.

    

From Homepage October 1, 2007

Blue Elderberry (Sambucus mexicana) is a quick growing deciduous shrub with bright green leaves, large flat-topped clusters of white flowers which are followed by blue-black berries with high vitamin content, delicious in pies, wines and jellies. Birds are extremely fond of these fruits as are children.

There was a large Blue Elderberry in the garden of a house I owned several years ago. When I came to view the house the first time, the neighborhood children were taking turns climbing this tree and grabbing handfuls of the berries which they immediately popped into their mouths. I asked their mothers who were standing by what kind of a tree that was. They said they didn't know but the kids sure did like the fruit. Later I learned what the plant was and tasted the fruit myself. It was interesting, not exactly sweet but not sour. It did make a wonderful pie.

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