Sambucus nigra L. ssp. caerulea (Raf.) Bolli

Mexican Elderberry
Adoxaceae (Muskroot Family)


Mexican or blue elderberry is a small tree or tall shrub growing to 25', but often shorter.  It has opposite, pinnately-compound leaves with 3-9 finely-toothed, elliptic to ovate leaflets with acuminate apices.  The many small white flowers are in a ± flat-topped inflorescence to 4" wide, and individually have five sepals and five petals that are fused at the base, five stamens with yellowish anthers and a single pistil.  The fruit is a nearly black berry, densely white glaucous, thus giving it a bluish cast.  This is a very common shrub along streambanks and dry open places, flats, valleys and canyons below 4500' in much of cismontane s. California, blooming from March to September.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Sambucus 2) nigra 3) caerulea.
Pronunciation: sam-BOO-kus NI-gra ser-OO-lee-a.
Formerly Sambucus mexicana.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.