Sambucus canadensis ‘Adams’ – ‘Adams’ Elderberry

Published on June 9, 2012 by Casey

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'Adams' Elderberry
‘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. Big clusters of dark purple to black, berry-like fruits follow 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.

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  • 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.

Native Range

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

Native Trivia

The pithy stems of elderberry are hollow and can be whittled to make flutes, whistles and blow guns. Stem sections were once used as drains (spiles) in tapping sugar maple trees.

Characteristics & Attributes

    Plan Sub Group
    • Medium to Tall Shrubs

    • Sun
    • Filtered Shade

    Soil Moisture Preference
    • Moist
    • Average

    Attracts Wildlife
    • Songbirds
    • Beneficial insects

    Bloom Time
    • Summer

    Habitat Collection
    • Butterfly
    • Wet Sun
    • Songbird

Source: abnativeplants Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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