American black elderberry, the Canadian elder

American black elder is a beautiful flower shrub noted for its edible fruits that are a boon to our bird friends.

Black elder facts in short

NameSambucus canadensis
Family – Adoxaceae
Type – shrub

Height – 10 to 16 feet (3 to 5 meters)
Exposure – full sun or part shade
Soil – any

Foliage – deciduous
Flowering – June to July

Planting American black elder

American black elderberry is planted indifferently in fall or spring. But planting it in fall makes it easier for the plant to resume growth in spring.

If you must plant in spring, provide for regular watering at the beginning to ensure that the roots dive deep into the ground.

It loves sun and any type of soil: chalky, moist, dry…

  • Follow our advice on planting shrubs.
  • A hedge is the chance to alternate different varieties, for example purple elder will make for a very ornamental impact.

Pruning and caring for American black elderberry

American black elderberry is a tree that calls for almost no care. It is really easygoing and it stands strong in the face of most diseases.

To deepen the beautiful hue of your elder, cut back the branches by about ⅓ at the beginning of spring.

Learn more about American black elder

A white flower umbel of the American black elder against a blue sky.American black elderberry, or Canadian elder, upholds light leafage, a discrete colorful blooming and fruits that are a magnet for birds.

It is both hardy, resisting down to -22°F (-30°C), and quite invulnerable to diseases, which makes it a very easy-growing shrub.

Fruits and flowers can both be consumed. They’re even brewed to wine in Scandinavian countries. However, best avoid eating the berries raw because they’re slightly poisonous and might lead to nausea and vomiting if ingested at high doses.

This beautiful shrub is very easy to grow and requires virtually no care at all apart from an (optional) annual pruning.

The berries, when cooked, are perfectly edible. They make for delicious elderberry jam, lemonade and syrup.

Are American black elderberry fruits edible?

Its fruits are edible, but take care: it is important to cook the berries to eliminate any risk of poisoning.

If in doubt, look it up… or you’ll experience gastric disorders.

Use of American black elderberry in the garden

Fermented elder tea is an excellent option to treat plants organically against such parasites as aphids or caterpillars.

The fermented elder tea recipe is easy to follow: 35 oz (1 kg) leaves in 10 quarts (10 liters), ferment for 3 to 6 days and filter before spraying.

Smart tip about the American black elder tree

Black fruits dangle down from American black elder branches.Elder grows very fast, which makes it a great shrub to hide away from prying eyes.


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Black elder berries shared by TBIT under © CC0 1.0
Black elder flower shared by Capri23auto under © CC0 1.0
Branch with elderberries shared by Hans under © CC0 1.0

There aren't any comments yet. Be the first to share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *