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Sambucus canadensis 'Adams'

Elderberry /

American elderberry is a thicket-forming shrub with large flat-topped clusters of small, fragrant white flowers in spring. The flowers are a good source of nectar for small insects. This variety was selected for its large clusters of dark blue to black fruit in late summer to fall. The fruit is an outstanding source of food for birds and other wildlife. The old stems provide over-wintering sites for insects. Birds such as woodpeckers then forage in the clumps for the insects.


  • Flowers provide nectar for pollinators
  • The fruit is favored by birds and other wildlife
  • Old stems provide habitat for over-wintering insects
  • Excellent for naturalizing in moist soil

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Plant in full sun to part shade. Grow in medium wet, well-drained soil. Prefers moist, organically rich soil. Spreads by root suckers to form colonies. Prune out dead or weakened stems in early spring. Can be cut to the ground every two years to encourage denser growth.

8-10 Feet


8-10 Feet

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-9

Native Range

Moist woods, fields, and roadsides; Nova Scotia to Manitoba south to Mexico and Florida.

Native Trivia

The fresh fruits from the elderberry shrub may be used like other berries such as a topping for ice cream and pancakes, in cobblers, or even just eaten fresh.

"You'll love this fruit in jellies, pies, preserves and wines just as much as birds like it!"

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
  • Medium to Tall Shrubs
  • Filtered Shade
  • Sun
  • Well-drained
  • Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
  • Average
  • Moist
  • Moist but well-drained
Attracts Wildlife
  • Beneficial insects
  • Butterflies
  • Mammals
  • Songbirds
Bloom Time
  • Summer
Critter Resistance
  • Deer Resistant
Habitat Collection
  • Butterfly
  • Songbird
  • Wet Sun
Native Habitat
  • Grassland
  • Riparian, wetland
Foliage Color
  • Green
  • Bog, water garden
  • Border
  • Cut or dried flower
  • Erosion control
  • Hedge, screen
  • Mass plant
  • Naturalizes
  • Ornamental fruit
Native to
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming