American Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)


American Elderberries form thick shrubs that tolerate various soil types and grow quite tall. The small white flowers that grow in thick clusters and followed by edible berries that some prize for their medicinal properties. The berries must be cooked before consumption but are easy to make into a syrup that often relied on for reported immune boosting properties. Elderberries are also a favorite among wild birds. Over 40 different bird species are reported to enjoy the fruit.

Plants are currently being sold in gallon-sized recycled plastic pots that were donated to our nursery by community members.

Out of stock


Why are We Planting This?

Ecological Gifts
Favorite of many pollinators and birds love the berries. Also serves as a host plant for several insect species. Some birds, including hummingbirds, use the shrubs for nests.

Edible Gifts
The berries are delicious, though we like them better cooked and preserved. Flowers are also edible and can be used in tea when dried.

Medicinal Gifts
The plant has a rich medicinal history as well. See more below.

Other Gifts
The plant can help activate compost and some studies report that it can be used as an insect repellent. We’re playing around with insect repellent alternatives, and intend to incorporate this into our experimenting along with sweetgrass, yarrow, and native mints.

Read more in-depth about these plants and explore literature at Plants for a Future. Note that the American Elderberry is also catalogued here under the species usually reserved for the European variety (see description in group entry).

Additional information

Special Features

Edible, Good for Wild Birds, Medicinal


Full, Partial


Average, Wet



Bloom Color


Bloom Time

July, June

Native Plant Category

Trees, Shrubs, and Vines