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Common Name:

American Elderberry

Scientific Name:

Sambucus canadensis

Family Name:



American Elderberry are a medium to large coarse textured deciduous shrubs. The coarse textured dark green compound leaves turn yellow in fall. The large flat clusters of creamy white spring flowers are followed by edible blue-black fruits. Fruits are used to make jellies, jams and wine.

Plant Habit or Use:

Shrub, medium shrub, large shrub


sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

Flat clusters of creamy white flowers

Blooming Period:

Spring, summer

Fruit Characteristics:

Edible blue-black fruits


3 ft to 10 ft


5 to 12 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: Medium Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Medium Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: Medium Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Usually found along bottomlands and stream banks.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.