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Scientific Name: Sambucus nigra ssp. cerulea (L.) R. Bolli
Synonym: Sambucus arizonica, Sambucus neomexicana, Sambucus velutina, Sambucus glauca, Sambucus coerulea, Sambucus caerulea, Sambucus mexicana ssp. cerulea, Sambucus cerulea
Recommended Temperature Zone:|
sunset: 1-10, 14-24
Frost Tolerance: Hardy to 0°F (-18°C)
Sun Exposure: Full sun to light shade
Origin: Western North America, from British Columbia to northern Mexico
Growth Habits: Deciduous large shrub or small tree, up to 30 feet tall (9 m); grayish brown bark, with abundant raised lenticels; pinnately compound leaves, 6 to 12 inches long (15-30 cm), 5 to 9 (to 11) serrate leaflets, 1 to 6 inches long (2.5-15 cm)
Watering Needs: Regular to little water needed when established, prefers moist, well drained, sunny sites
Propagation: Offset, seeds, cuttings
Three varieties are grenerally recognized:
- var. cerulea (S. cerulea), native in most of the range, 5 to 9 leaflets, less than 3.2 inches long (8 cm), very glaucous fruits, branchlets and leaves mostly glabrous.
- var. neomexicana (S. neomexicana), from New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, 5 or 7 leaflets, larger ones longer than 3.2 inches (8 cm).
- var. velutina (S. velutina), from the Sierra Nevada in California, western Nevada, and northwestern Arizona, with the branchlets densely pubescent, as well as the leaflet undersides, leaflets less than 3.2 inches long (8 cm).
Small white flowers, in flat top clusters, 1.6 to 6 inches in diameter (4-15 cm), or more, in late spring or early summer.
The elderberry has small blue to black, glaucous berries, 0.06 to 0.12 inch in diameter (1.5-3 mm). The fruits of the elderberry are very attractive to birds. They are also edible and can be used to make jelly or wine. Tea made with the dried flowers is supposed to be good for the cough.
Cuttings are easy. Seeds need stratification.
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