Sambucus canadensis

Adams is a native elderberry. Very juicy, purple berries, excellent for elixirs, pies, syrups, wine, etc. Late ripening and a heavy producer. Zones 3-9. Pollinates with other native elderberries. Very large flower heads. Height 6' to 12'. Space 10' circle Zone 3-9.

Plant Characteristics
Pest Resistance Excellent
Disease Resistance Excellent
Drought Tolerance Very Good
Heat Tolerance Very Good
Humidity Tolerance Very Good
Sun Tolerance Very Good
Wet Soil Tolerance Fair
Shade Tolerance Good
No Spray Excellent
Salt Tolerance Good
Fresh for Kids Poor
Deer Resistance Fair
Thorns No
Plant Type Shrub
Soil Type Adaptable
Edible Type Fruit
Self Fertile


Elderberry Care Guide

Elderberry Johns in bloom
Johns elderberry in bloom

The berries of the Elderberry have been known for many centuries to possess valuable medicinal properties in addition to its common use in preparing elderberry wine, jam's and jelly or fresh eating. A popular and widely used Gypsy remedy for coughs and colds-perhaps because elderberries are good source of vitamins A, B, C and biotlavodoida-the berries historically have also been used as a treatment for skin ailments and for the relief of burns, eczema and rashes. Additionally, the elderberry slows sudorific (sweat-inducing) and diuretic (increasing the flow of urine) effects. Even though the medicinal use of the elderberry dates to the fifth century B.C. and is found in the writings of Hippocrates, Dioscoridies and Pliny, the most exciting use of the fruit is in its application against influenza. Recent research conducted in Israel has indicated potent antiviral
properties of the herbs.

The Elderberry is a small tree, 10 to 15' in height, and has a grayish bark and yellow-white flowers that gather in the shape of an umbrella. The fruit of the tree is a bright black berry when ripened and grows in clusters. The origin of the plant was in central and northern Europe, where it is still a common sight in country gardens. It grows in hedges and thin woods on the edges of roads and in undeveloped areas.

Elders grow in zones 3-9. Plant in sun or partial shade with at least 6 hours of sun per day. They are not fussy about soil type and are adapted to most of the United States.

Prune in early spring. Cut out all but five or six vigorous, erect, one year old canes and one or two two-year-old canes. All these canes should be grouped within a 2' circle. At the same time trim 6" off tips of the laterals on the older canes.

Pests are usually not troublesome enough to worry about, but some areas can be bothered by Elder Shoot Borer/Spindle Worms (same critter different life stage). The larval stage of the elder shoot borer, Achatodes zeae (Harris), is a worm that bores in the stems and shoots. The adult moth lays eggs in July and August in canes at least 1 year old. Eggs hatch the following April or May. The larvae feed first within the unfolding leaf whorls, then bore into new lateral shoots. When partially grown, they migrate to the ground shoots, entering these at the bases and feeding upwards into the shoots. When the larvae are fully grown in mid-June, they leave the ground shoots and tunnel into dead canes to pupate, leaving small piles of frass (sawdust) on the ground at the base of the old wood. To control, prune out infested shoots or canes. Eliminate dead canes to discourage pupation. Remove old canes with holes or with piles of frass at their bases. Destroy all prunings'.

Elderberries start to bear when 2 or 3 years of age. Allow fruit to ripen on the plant before picking. When they are ripe they are good out of hand.

Termed "The medicine chest of the country people" by Ettmueller, a scientist from the 1700s. The elder was held in such esteem as to have been the subject of an entire book, 'The Anatonie of the Elder,' authored in 1644 by Dr. Martin Blockwich.


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