Natives For Your Neighborhood is a labor of love and commitment. If you use this website, help us maintain and grow it with your tax-deductible donation.


Please scroll to the bottom for more images.
Elderberry, American elder
Sambucus nigra subsp. canadensis

Copyright by: Chuck McCartney

General Landscape Uses: Accent shrub in moist to wet soils.

Availability: Grown by one or two native plant nurseries in South Florida.
Available at All Native Garden Center and Plant Nursery in Fort Myers )239-939-9663) and Indian Trails Native Nursery in Lake Worth (561-641-9488).

Description: Medium to large shrub; occasionally a small tree.

Dimensions: Typically 8-12 feet in height in South Florida; to 20 feet in Florida. Often as broad as tall or broader.

Growth Rate: Fast.

Range: Widespread in North America south to Miami-Dade and Collier counties; Mexico and Central America; apparently escaped from cultivation in the West Indies. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida website.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

Habitats: Wet thickets, swamp margins and moist forests.

Soils: Moist to wet, moderately well-drained to poorly-drained sandy or organic soils, with humusy top layer.

Nutritional Requirements: Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.

Drought Tolerance: Low; requires moist to wet soils and is intolerant of long periods of drought.

Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade.

Flower Color: White.

Flower Characteristics: Showy.

Flowering Season: All year; peak spring-fall.

Fruit: Purplish black and juicy.

Wildlife and Ecology: Provides significant food and cover for wildlife. Birds eat the fruits.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed and root cuttings.

Comments: Wines and jellies can be made from the fruit. The flowers heads can be dipped in batter and fried.

Copyright by: Chuck McCartney

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Eric Fleites

Other data on Sambucus nigra subsp. canadensis available from:

Resources Links:
Find Native Plants!

Acknowledgements and past sponsors
Become a sponsor!

Emergent Sponsors:

Canopy Sponsors:
Herbaceous Sponsors: