Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Scarlet Elder, Red-berried Elderberry, Red Elderberry

Scarlet Elder, Red-berried Elderberry, Red Elderberry

Sambucus racemosa (Sambucus pubens)

Sun to light shade; moderately wet to medium moisture level; prefers deep, loamy, nutrient-rich soils but tolerates rocky or sandy loams over bedrock, medium loams to moderately fine silt loams; slightly acid to slightly alkaline pH.

6-12 feet height by 6-12 feet spread; blooms spring into summer; creamy white flowers; clusters of pea-sized brilliant red berries.

Growth Rate:  Fast

Maintenance:  Infrequent disease and insect problems.  Frequent ice and wind damage in winter.  Severe pruning will prevent a spindly growth habit.  Dead terminal twigs are common.

Propagation:  Easy from cuttings.  Difficult from seed.  Seed has a double dormancy; pre-treat 30-60 days warm moist (20-30 degree C.) and then 90-150 days cold moist (5 degrees C.)

Large deciduous shrub or small tree in the Honeysuckle family with a broad, arching form.  Red fruit is inedible for humans with a disagreeably bitter taste, but birds love the berries.  All parts can cause serious illness for humans if eaten.  Shade tolerant but prefers a sunny exposure.  Very high wildlife value.  Attracts birds, hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.  Cultivars available.

shrub;sun;wet;loam
shrub;sun;wet;sand
shrub;sun;wet;rocky
shrub;sun;medium;loam
shrub;sun;medium;sand
shrub;sun;medium;rocky
shrub;sun/shade;wet;loam
shrub;sun/shade;wet;sand
shrub;sun/shade;wet;rocky
shrub;sun/shade;medium;loam
shrub;sun/shade;medium;sand
shrub;sun/shade;medium;rocky
shrub;shade;wet;loam
shrub;shade;wet;sand
shrub;shade;wet;rocky
shrub;shade;medium;loam
shrub;shade;medium;sand
shrub;shade;medium;rocky

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