Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Sambucus cerulea Rat.
- Family: Honeysuckle (Caprifoliaceae)
- Flowering: May-September
- Field Marks: The flowers in this species form a flat-topped inflorescence. The blue berries are covered by a whitish waxy coat. The leaves are divided into 5-9 leaflets.
- Habitat: Usually moist, open areas.
- Habit: Many-stemmed shrub up to 25 feet tall, occasionally becoming tree-like.
- Stems: Upright, soft and pithy, smooth, glaucous.
- Leaves: Opposite, pinnately divided into 5-9 leaflets; leaflets lanceolate to narrowly ovate, up to 6 inches long, up to 2 inches wide, long-pointed at the tip, rounded at the asymmetrical base, toothed, smooth or slightly hairy.
- Flowers: Many in a flat-topped, compound umber up to 8 inches across; flower stalks short, slender, smooth.
- Sepals: 5, green, united, very small.
- Petals: 5, white or cream-colored, united, up to 1/3 inch across, the lobes longer than the tube.
- Stamens: 5, attached to the petals.
- Pistils: Ovary inferior, smooth.
- Fruits: Berries spherical, up to 1/4 inch in diameter, blue but covered with a whitish wax; nutlets wrinkled.
- Notes: The berries can be eaten by man, as well as by a variety of birds.
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