Previous species
Previous Species

Next Species
Next Species

Home Page

Order CD-ROMs from the site

Tell a Friend

Gardening Books

Gardening Catalogs


Blue Elderberry
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
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Blue Elderberry (Sambucus  nigra ssp. cerulea) Recommended Temperature Zone:
sunset: 1-10, 14-24
USDA: 4-10

Frost Tolerance: Hardy to 0F (-18C)

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).

Blooming Habits:
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.

Fruiting Habits:
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.

Sponsors: Michigan Bulb - 120 x 60 Lawns Banner! Gurney's 120 x 60 A

We do get a small commission out of these sponsors that helps financing the website.  Let us know if you are satisfied or dissatisfied of their services, since obviously we are trying to advertise only for reputable garden supply companies.  They might be helpful to get plants not generally available at the local garden center, getting a new and unusual gardening tool or get a discount Better Homes and Gardens magazine subscription.


Desert Tropicals Home Page | List of All the Plants | More in the Caprifoliaceae family | Tell your friends about this page

Desert-Tropicals is dedicated to provide gardening advice, gardening ideas, and information about flower of all kind for landscape and collections. We try to check carefully the identification of the plants on the illustrations as well as the other information from the page, but occasionally errors do occur. if you notice anything that needs to be changed please contact us. Thanks.

1998-2005 Philippe Faucon, All Rights Reserved.