Caprifoliaceae - honeysuckle family

Gerald A. Mulligan
Research Scientist and Research Institute Director (retired) and presently Honorary Research Associate, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada,
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C6, Canada

Awarded the George Lawson Medal by the Canadian Botanical Association in 2006.
Awarded the Faculty of Macdonald, McGill University, Most Distinguished Alumni Award on October 18, 2014.
Read his biography "The Real Weed Man" available in print and ebook.

Sambucus canadensis L., common elderberry, sureau blanc
A tall perennial shrub 5 to 10 feet (15 to 30 dm.) tall with many tiny white flowers crowded into flat, slightly rounded, umbel-like clusters. Each flower matures into small, spherical, juicy, purple-black to black, berries. Common elderberry is native to all of North America east of the Rocky Mountains, occurring in moist habitats of open woodlands, in abandoned fields, and along powerline cuts, roadside ditches and fencerows. Although the ripe fruit is considered edible, it can produce a mild feeling of being unwell and vomiting in some people. The leaves, stems, roots, and unripe fruit, all containing calcium oxalate crystals, can cause poisoning.

Click on a photo to view an enlarged image.
Weed Name Photo Weed Name Photo
common elderberry, sureau blanc
(in flower)
common elderberry, sureau blanc
common elderberry, sureau blanc
(unripe fruit)
common elderberry, sureau blanc
(ripe fruit)
common elderberry, sureau blanc
(plant with ripe fruit)
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