Sambucus nigra L.

Common Elder

Mostly a soft-wooded shrub to about 2-4 m tall with corky bark and lenticels on the young shoots. Leaves to about 30 cm long, sometimes with slender stipules. Leaflets 3-5, ovate to elliptic, 4-7 cm long, 2-4 cm wide, with a pointed tip, the margins sharply toothed in the upper part. Flower clusters flat-topped, to about 20 cm wide. Flowers creamy white, with a rather unpleasant smell; spring to early summer. Fruit about 5 mm long, black.

W Asia, N Africa, Europe

Occasionally naturalised in SA, NSW, Vic and Tas.

Source: Spencer, R. (2002). Caprifoliaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 4. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 3. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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Distribution map

Sambucus nigra 'Aurea'

Leaves deep yellow.

An old cultivar originating before 1883.

Sambucus nigra 'Marginata'

Leaves variegated with a border of cream-yellow. ['Variegata']

Possibly the same as 'Albomarginata' although the latter may have whiter variegations.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Asteranae
order      Dipsacales
family       Caprifoliaceae
genus        Sambucus L.