Red-Berried Elder

Red-berried elder

Red-Berried Elder (Sambucus pubens)

Description:

Although easily confused with common elder, the red-berried elder has much larger buds and stouter twigs. It tends to be somewhat taller and stockier, growing up to 12 feet (3.7 m) high. Small, creamy flowers give way to cone-shaped clusters of small scarlet berries in June and July. Fruit is thought to be poisonous. Bark is light brown and covered with what appear to be warts. Buds are opposite and the largest of all our native shrubs.

 

Growing Conditions:

This elder thrives on fairly dry sites and is very intolerant of flooding. It is common along the edges of newly bulldozed forest roads or the sunnier edges of woodlands. Red-berried elder tolerates some shade but achieves best growth and fruit production in full sun.

Propagation:

Can be grown from cuttings, using the same methods as described for the common elder. Because it is quite common along forest roads, large numbers of young plants can often be transplanted. This can be difficult because of the deep, fibrous roots, but with some care and top pruning they survive quite well. Again, growing from seed is fairly easy due to the large numbers of seed produced. Collect when scarlet in July and early August. Germination will take place after the second spring and percentages can be low. Plant seeds 1/2 inch (13 mm) apart. Since the seeds are so easy to collect, try planting some at several different stages of ripeness, before they turn dark scarlet. This may speed up germination significantly and give you a higher success rate.

Wildlife Uses:

Berries are a preferred food of ruffed grouse, American robin, Swainson’s thrush, veery, cedar waxwing and rose-breasted grosbeak. Red-berried elder is also extensively used by many other birds for both food and cover. Red squirrel, chipmunk, skunk, raccoon, snowshoe hare and red fox also eat the berries. Red-berried elder often grows near fox dens, providing cover and food. In winter, ruffed grouse feed on the buds and snowshoe hare browse the twigs.

Areas of Usage:

As described earlier, it makes an excellent companion in plantings of common elder around the home. Flocks of cedar waxwings often arrive to devour the entire seed crop and it is worth planting red-berried elders just to attract these birds to your home. This plant is well suited to windbreaks and forest edges. On drier sites, red-berried elder is a better choice than common elder. It is sensitive to salt, so avoid planting it along shorelines and roadsides where salt spray occurs.

Additional Information:

The red-berried elder is also common throughout this province. It is a shrub from 2 to 12 feet high. The stem rise from the ground usually in clumps and extend to the top of the shrub. The branches are ascending and the crown is generally rounded in appearance. It is common in wet places, rocky hillsides, or along streams or brooks. It also occurs scattered among stands of sugar maple, yellow birch, beech and hemlock. The wood is of no commercial importance but the cream-white profusion of flowers and later the mass of brillant scarlet berries makes it an excellent shrub in ornamental planting. It is easily distinguished from the common elder by its scarlet berries and by its brownish pith.

Upcoming Events

Apr
29
Sat
7:30 pm Owl Prowl 2017 #3
Owl Prowl 2017 #3
Apr 29 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Owl Prowl 2017 #3 @ Macphail Woods Nature Centre | Vernon Bridge | Prince Edward Island | Canada
Come celebrate the wonderful world of owls at one of three Owl Prowls at the Macphail Homestead in Orwell on April 21, 22 and 29. The Sir Andrew Macphail Foundation will open up the Great
May
6
Sat
10:00 am Landscaping with Native Plants
Landscaping with Native Plants
May 6 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Landscaping with Native Plants @ Macphail Woods Nature Centre | Vernon Bridge | Prince Edward Island | Canada
The use of native plants to improve wildlife habitat, beautify yards and reduce the size of lawns is attracting a lot of attention these days. A wide variety of native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and ferns
May
13
Sat
8:00 am Birds 8 am and Breakfast 7 am
Birds 8 am and Breakfast 7 am
May 13 @ 8:00 am – 10:00 am
Birds 8 am and Breakfast 7 am @ Macphail Woods Nature Centre | Vernon Bridge | Prince Edward Island | Canada
Island woodlands are alive with birds and their songs. While year-round avian residents such as barred owls and juncos are already sitting on their nests, many migrants have just now returned and are singing up