Many different elderberry varieties grow around the world. Elderberry Sambucus has creamy white or pink flowers and bunches of blue-black or red fruit. The European black elderberry Sambucus nigra is taller at 20 feet and blooms earlier than its American cousin. It grows best in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8.
Exploring Birds: Birds attracted to Elderberry
Common elderberry is a shrub to 8 feet tall, forming colonies from root sprouts, with branches occurring near the top. Leaves are opposite, compound, 4—12 inches long with 5—7 leaflets; leaflets 2—6 inches long, 1—2 inches wide, lance-shaped to sometimes egg-shaped; margins sharply toothed; upper surface shiny, bright green, smooth; lower surface paler, barely or densely hairy. Twigs are rigid, round but sometimes angular or grooved, smooth, light yellowish brown or grayish brown, with prominent pores. Bark on trunks lacks grooves; the large, raised pores make it feel rough. The wood is white, soft, with a large pith.
Mulberry vs. Elderberry
You may have seen elderberries laden with clusters of dark purple berries growing in the wild along roadsides, woodlands and streambanks, but never considered growing them yourself. All can be attractive additions to the garden. In addition to their ornamental qualities, they are a valuable contributor to the ecosystem. Providing food and shelter for many species of songbirds and nectar for pollinating insects, elderberries can turn any garden into a beautiful wildlife sanctuary. The flowers and berries have been used for centuries for both culinary and medicinal purposes.
Elderberry, Sambucus spp. Europeans have used the flowers and fruit of Sambucus nigra for thousands of years, while Native Americans and European immigrants used Sambucus nigra ssp. Figure 1. Elderberry and elderflower cymes. The purpose of this paper is to provide information on growing American elderberry in Florida as an alternative crop for commercial growers as well as homeowners.