Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
American Elder (Sambucus canadensis)
- Family: Honeysuckle (Caprifoliaceae)
- Flowering: May-July.
- Field Marks: This coarse herb is distinguished by its opposite, pinnately compound leaves and its huge cymes of small white flowers.
- Habitat: Along streams, moist woods.
- Habit: Shrub with several stems, scarcely woody.
- Stems: Erect, branched, smooth, up to 12 feet tall.
- Leaves: Opposite, pinnately compound, with 5-11 leaflets; the leaflets lanceolate to ovate, long-ponted at the tip, rounded or tapering to the base, toothed, smooth, up to 6 inches long, up to 2 1/2 inches broad.
- Flowers: Numerous in large, compound cymes up to 1 foot across; each white flower up to 1/3 inch across.
- Sepals: 5, green, very tiny.
- Petals: 5, white, united below.
- Stamens: 5, longer than the petals.
- Pistils: Ovary inferior.
- Fruits: Berries spherical, purple, up to 1/4 inch in diameter, usually with 4 light brown, oblongoid, wrinkled seeds.
- Notes: The berries are edible. The range map gives only the native distribution of this species and does not account for ornamental specimens.
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