Native Plant of the Month: Common Name: Blue Elderberry

By City Landscape Staff02 Native Plant Blue Elderberry

  • Binomial Name: Sambucus nigra
  • Soil Type: Moist to rather dry
  • Sunlight: Full sun
  • Form/Growth: Multi-stemmed
  • Plant Type: Shrub or small tree
  • Foliage: Deciduous
  • Flowering: Yes

The blue elderberry can be classified as either a shrub or a small tree depending on the size. They can usually grow anywhere from ten to thirty feet tall and around eighteen feet wide. Found in open woods and in valleys these trees are fairly drought tolerant, and can be found from British Columbia down into California and from the coast to Montana, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.

Tiny, cream colored flowers are produced from late spring to mid-summer followed by blue, waxy berries. The berries produced can be consumed and make great pies, jams, and wine, the flowers are sometimes used in cooking as well.  Butterflies and many species of birds frequent this native plant to enjoy the flowers and berries making it an excellent addition to any yard.

This Native Plant of the Month has been brought to you by the City of Beaverton’s Landscape and Urban Forestry Department along with Clean Water Services. Visit Clean Water Service’s Native Plant Finder webpage for interactive questions to help you find the right native plant to fit your needs!