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Sambucus racemosa - Michx.

Common Name American Red Elder
Family Caprifoliaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the leaves and stems of some, if not all, members of this genus are poisonous[9, 76]. The fruit of many species (although no records have been seen for this species) has been known to cause stomach upsets to some people. Any toxin the fruit might contain is liable to be of very low toxicity and is destroyed when the fruit is cooked[65, 76]. NC State University have noted Cyanogenic glycoside and alkaloids can cause low toxity if eaten.
Habitats Moist to wet soils along streams, in woods and open areas from valleys to around 3,000 metres[212].
Range N. America - British Columbia to Newfoundland, south to Georgia, Iowa, Colorado and California.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (1 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Sambucus racemosa American Red Elder


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Wsiegmund
Sambucus racemosa American Red Elder
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Wsiegmund

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Sambucus racemosa is a deciduous Shrub growing to 4 m (13ft 1in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in flower from June to July. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Sambucus racemosa pubens leucocarpa. (Torr.&Gray.)Cronq.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Fruit
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[105, 161, 257]. A bitter flavour[183]. The fruit is quite nutritious, having a relatively high fat and protein as well as carbohydrate content[212]. The fruit can be dried prior to use, it will then lose some of its rank taste[183]. The fruit is about 5mm in diameter and is borne in large clusters making it easy to harvest[200]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Flowers - raw or cooked. The root is made into a tea-like beverage[105, 161, 183].

Medicinal Uses

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Anodyne  Carminative  Depurative  Diaphoretic  Diuretic  Laxative  Purgative  Resolvent  
Vulnerary

The bark and the leaves are used as a diuretic and purgative[212]. The blossoms have been used in the treatment of measles[257].

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Edible Shrubs provides detailed information, attractively presented, on over 70 shrub species. They have been selected to provide a mix of different plant sizes and growing conditions. Most provide delicious and nutritious fruit, but many also have edible leaves, seeds, flowers, stems or roots, or they yield edible or useful oil.

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Other Uses

Repellent  Straw  Wood

The stem is easily hollowed and can be used to make a whistle[212].

Special Uses

Scented Plants

Cultivation details

Tolerates most soils, including chalk[200], but prefers a moist loamy soil[11, 200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates some shade but is best in a sunny position[1]. Tolerates atmospheric pollution and coastal situations[200]. Closely related to S. racemosa and considered part of that species by some botanists[43]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].

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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame, when it should germinate in early spring. Stored seed can be sown in the spring in a cold frame but will probably germinate better if it is given 2 months warm followed by 2 months cold stratification first[78, 98, 113]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If good growth is made, the young plants can be placed in their permanent positions during the early summer. Otherwise, either put them in a sheltered nursery bed, or keep them in their pots in a sheltered position and plant them out in spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[78]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, 15 - 20cm with a heel, late autumn in a frame or a sheltered outdoor bed[78].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Sambucus australasicaYellow ElderberryShrub6.0 -  LMHSNM20 
Sambucus caeruleaBlue ElderShrub3.0 4-8 MLMHSNDM423
Sambucus chinensisChinese ElderPerennial1.5 7-10  LMHSNM21 
Sambucus ebulusDwarf Elder, Dwarf elderberryPerennial1.2 4-8 FLMHSNM12 
Sambucus gaudichaudianaWhite ElderberryShrub3.0 -  LMHSNM20 
Sambucus javanicaChinese ElderShrub0.0 -  LMHSNM12 
Sambucus latipinna Shrub0.0 -  LMHSNM10 
Sambucus melanocarpaBlack Elder, Rocky Mountain elderShrub4.0 5-9  LMHSNM22 
Sambucus mexicanaMexican ElderShrub1.0 3-9  LMHSNM210
Sambucus microbotrysRed ElderShrub2.0 5-9  LMHSNM10 
Sambucus nigraElderberry - European Elder, Black elderberry, American black elderberry, Blue elderberry, EuropeaShrub6.0 5-7 FLMHSNM435
Sambucus nigra spp canadensisAmerican ElderShrub4.0 3-9 FLMHSNM433
Sambucus pubensAmerican Red ElderShrub4.0 4-8  LMHSNM311
Sambucus racemosa kamtschaticaRed ElderShrub3.0 4-8  LMHSNM322
Sambucus racemosa sieboldiana Shrub4.0 0-0 MLMHSNM102
Sambucus racemosa var. racemosaRed Coast ElderShrub3.0 5-9  LMHSNM322
Sambucus wightianaElderPerennial1.0 -  LMHSNM02 
Sambucus williamsii Shrub0.0 -  LMHSNM12 

 

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Expert comment

Author

Michx.

Botanical References

1143200

Links / References

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Readers comment

   Jan 2 2012 12:00AM

This plant is mentioned as poisonous in every Swedish flora there is. How come it's taken so lightly on here and even mentioned in the edible section?

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Subject : Sambucus racemosa  
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