Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

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Sambucus canadensis
(American black elderberry)

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Datasheet

Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 16 March 2021
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Sambucus canadensis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • American black elderberry
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Sambucus canadensis is a deciduous multi-stemmed shrub or small tree native to North America and Central America. It has been extensively cultivated as an ornamental and for its fruits. This species has escaped cultivation and can be foun...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Flowers and foliage. India. December 2016.
TitleFlowers and foliage
CaptionSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Flowers and foliage. India. December 2016.
Copyright©Rison Thumboor/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY 2.0
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Flowers and foliage. India. December 2016.
Flowers and foliageSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Flowers and foliage. India. December 2016.©Rison Thumboor/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY 2.0
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Fruit. India. December 2016.
TitleFruit
CaptionSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Fruit. India. December 2016.
Copyright©Rison Thumboor/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Fruit. India. December 2016.
FruitSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Fruit. India. December 2016.©Rison Thumboor/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Inflorescence. Madikeri, Karnataka, India. March 2011.
TitleInflorescence
CaptionSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Inflorescence. Madikeri, Karnataka, India. March 2011.
Copyright©Dinesh Valke/via Flickr - CC BY-SA 2.0
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Inflorescence. Madikeri, Karnataka, India. March 2011.
InflorescenceSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Inflorescence. Madikeri, Karnataka, India. March 2011.©Dinesh Valke/via Flickr - CC BY-SA 2.0
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Inflorescence. Madikeri, Karnataka, India. March 2011.
TitleInflorescence
CaptionSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Inflorescence. Madikeri, Karnataka, India. March 2011.
Copyright©Dinesh Valke/via Flickr - CC BY-SA 2.0
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Inflorescence. Madikeri, Karnataka, India. March 2011.
InflorescenceSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Inflorescence. Madikeri, Karnataka, India. March 2011.©Dinesh Valke/via Flickr - CC BY-SA 2.0
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Inflorescence. Udhagamandalam, Tamil Nadu, India. November 2011.
TitleInflorescence
CaptionSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Inflorescence. Udhagamandalam, Tamil Nadu, India. November 2011.
Copyright©Dinesh Valke/via Flickr - CC BY-SA 2.0
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Inflorescence. Udhagamandalam, Tamil Nadu, India. November 2011.
InflorescenceSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Inflorescence. Udhagamandalam, Tamil Nadu, India. November 2011.©Dinesh Valke/via Flickr - CC BY-SA 2.0
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Flower. Howard County, Maryland. Decemeber 2017.
TitleFlowers
CaptionSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Flower. Howard County, Maryland. Decemeber 2017.
CopyrightPublic Domain - Released by USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab (taken by Helen Lowe Metzman)/via Flickr
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Flower. Howard County, Maryland. Decemeber 2017.
FlowersSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Flower. Howard County, Maryland. Decemeber 2017.Public Domain - Released by USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab (taken by Helen Lowe Metzman)/via Flickr
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Immature fruit. Skaneateles Conservation Area, Onondaga County, New York, USA. August 2015.
TitleImmature fruit
CaptionSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Immature fruit. Skaneateles Conservation Area, Onondaga County, New York, USA. August 2015.
Copyright©R. A. Nonenmacher/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Immature fruit. Skaneateles Conservation Area, Onondaga County, New York, USA. August 2015.
Immature fruitSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Immature fruit. Skaneateles Conservation Area, Onondaga County, New York, USA. August 2015.©R. A. Nonenmacher/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Fruit. Skaneateles Conservation Area, Onondaga County, New York, USA. September 2015.
TitleFruit
CaptionSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Fruit. Skaneateles Conservation Area, Onondaga County, New York, USA. September 2015.
Copyright©R. A. Nonenmacher/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Fruit. Skaneateles Conservation Area, Onondaga County, New York, USA. September 2015.
FruitSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Fruit. Skaneateles Conservation Area, Onondaga County, New York, USA. September 2015.©R. A. Nonenmacher/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Fruit. Skaneateles Conservation Area, Onondaga County, New York, USA. September 2015.
TitleFruit
CaptionSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Fruit. Skaneateles Conservation Area, Onondaga County, New York, USA. September 2015.
Copyright©R. A. Nonenmacher/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Fruit. Skaneateles Conservation Area, Onondaga County, New York, USA. September 2015.
FruitSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Fruit. Skaneateles Conservation Area, Onondaga County, New York, USA. September 2015.©R. A. Nonenmacher/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Inflorescence. University of Mississippi Field Station, Abbeville, Mississippi, USA. June 2015.
TitleInflorescence
CaptionSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Inflorescence. University of Mississippi Field Station, Abbeville, Mississippi, USA. June 2015.
Copyright©Fredlyfish4/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Inflorescence. University of Mississippi Field Station, Abbeville, Mississippi, USA. June 2015.
InflorescenceSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Inflorescence. University of Mississippi Field Station, Abbeville, Mississippi, USA. June 2015.©Fredlyfish4/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Flowering habit. Skaneateles Conservation Area, Onondaga County, New York, USA. July 2015.
TitleFlowering habit
CaptionSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Flowering habit. Skaneateles Conservation Area, Onondaga County, New York, USA. July 2015.
Copyright©R. A. Nonenmacher/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0
Sambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Flowering habit. Skaneateles Conservation Area, Onondaga County, New York, USA. July 2015.
Flowering habitSambucus canadensis (American black elderberry); Flowering habit. Skaneateles Conservation Area, Onondaga County, New York, USA. July 2015.©R. A. Nonenmacher/via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Sambucus canadensis L.

Preferred Common Name

  • American black elderberry

Other Scientific Names

  • Aralia sololensis Donn.Sm.
  • Sambucus mexicana C.Presl ex DC.
  • Sambucus nigra subsp. canadensis (L.) Bolli
  • Sambucus oreopola Donn.Sm.
  • Sambucus simpsonii Rehder

International Common Names

  • English: American elder; Arizona elderberry; dane-wort; dwarf elder; hairy blue elderberry; New Mexican elderberry; sweet elder; tree of music; velvet-leaf elder; wale-wort; wild elder
  • Spanish: flor sauco; sauco blanco; sauco del Canada
  • French: sirop blanc; sureau blanc; sureau d'Amérique; sureau du Canada

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Kanadischer Holunder; Nordamerikanischer Holunder
  • Netherlands: Amerikaanse vlier
  • South Africa: kanadese vlier

EPPO code

  • SAMCN (Sambucus canadensis)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Sambucus canadensis is a deciduous multi-stemmed shrub or small tree native to North America and Central America. It has been extensively cultivated as an ornamental and for its fruits. This species has escaped cultivation and can be found colonizing disturbed areas along roadsides and railroad lines and in disturbed thickets and forest edges. It is a fast-growing species that spreads by seed but can also spread aggressively by underground rhizomes. Currently, S. canadensis is listed as invasive in South Africa and Cuba where it is altering successional processes in disturbed areas. It also has a shallow, aggressive root system with the potential to displace native vegetation.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Dipsacales
  •                         Family: Caprifoliaceae
  •                             Genus: Sambucus
  •                                 Species: Sambucus canadensis

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The genus Sambucus has been traditionally placed within the family Caprifoliaceae. However, both morphological and DNA studies have demonstrated that the genera Sambucus, Adoxa and Viburnum form a monophyletic group clearly separated from the remainder of the Caprifoliaceae (Donoghue et al., 1992; Eriksson and Donoghue, 1997; Donoghue et al., 2001). To accomplish the removal of these genera from Caprifoliaceae, it was suggested that these genera might either be placed in their own families (e.g. Adoxaceae, Sambucaceae, Viburnaceae), or treated as a single family, Adoxaceae (Applequist, 2015). In 2009, the APG (Angiosperm Phylogeny Group) III recommended placing all these genera into Adoxaceae (Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, 2009). However, since then the circumscription and correct name for the combined family has been very controversial. In 2013, the Nomenclature Committee for Vascular Plants recommended the use of Viburnaceae based on revisions of the ‘publication date’ of the names (Reveal, 2008; Applequist, 2013). In 2016, the General Committee for Botanical Nomenclature decided that the correct name for this combined family should be Viburnaceae (Wilson, 2016).

Sambucus canadensis was previously treated as a subspecies of the European elderberry S. nigra as S. nigra subsp. canadensis. However, it is now considered a separate species native to North America (USDA-ARS, 2020).

Description

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The following description is from Spjut (2015) and Flora of Missouri (2020):

Rhizomatous or stoloniferous subshrubs or shrubs, or multi-stemmed small trees, 1-10 m tall, usually with stout, spreading rootstocks and suckering from the roots. Bark yellowish brown, tight, lacking ridges but appearing roughened or warty. Twigs 3-5 mm thick, the pith white. Leaves with the petiole 3-7 cm long, glabrous except in the ventral groove, where densely pubescent with minute, scurfy hairs. Leaflets (5-)7-9 per leaf, 5-12(-14) cm long, 2-6(-9) cm wide, lanceolate to narrowly oblong or elliptic, the upper surface glabrous, the undersurface usually minutely hairy along the veins, rarely also hairy on the tissue between the veins. Inflorescences more or less flat-topped, lacking an elongate main axis, instead with usually five primary branches (these repeatedly branched). Corollas 3-5 mm wide, white. Fruit is a drupe bright red prior to turning purple-black, 5 mm diameter.

Plant Type

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Perennial
Seed / spore propagated
Shrub
Tree
Vegetatively propagated
Woody

Distribution

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Sambucus canadensis is native to North America (Canada, USA and Mexico) and Central America. It has been introduced in South America, the Caribbean, tropical Asia and Africa and Australia (Charlebois et al., 2010; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; POWO, 2020; USDA-ARS, 2020).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 15 Mar 2021
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

BurundiPresentIntroduced
RwandaPresentIntroduced
South AfricaPresentIntroducedInvasive

Asia

BangladeshPresentIntroduced
CambodiaPresentIntroduced
IndiaPresentIntroduced
IndonesiaPresentIntroduced
-JavaPresentIntroduced
-Lesser Sunda IslandsPresentIntroduced
LaosPresentIntroduced
ThailandPresentIntroduced
VietnamPresentIntroduced

Europe

BelgiumPresentIntroducedNaturalized
SpainPresentIntroducedCanary Islands
-Canary IslandsPresentIntroduced

North America

BarbadosPresentIntroduced
BelizePresentNative
BermudaPresentIntroduced
Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba
-Sint EustatiusPresentIntroduced
CanadaPresentNative
-ManitobaPresentNative
-New BrunswickPresentNative
-Nova ScotiaPresentNative
-OntarioPresentNative
-QuebecPresentNative
Cayman IslandsPresentIntroduced
Costa RicaPresentNative
CubaPresentIntroducedInvasive
DominicaPresentIntroduced
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroduced
El SalvadorPresentNative
GuadeloupePresentIntroduced
GuatemalaPresentNative
HaitiPresentIntroduced
HondurasPresentNative
JamaicaPresentIntroduced
MartiniquePresentIntroduced
MexicoPresentNative
Netherlands AntillesPresentIntroduced
NicaraguaPresentNative
PanamaPresentNative
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroduced
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroduced
United StatesPresentNative
-AlabamaPresentNative
-AlaskaPresentNative
-ArizonaPresentNative
-ArkansasPresentNative
-CaliforniaPresentNative
-ColoradoPresentNative
-ConnecticutPresentNative
-DelawarePresentNative
-District of ColumbiaPresentNative
-FloridaPresent
-GeorgiaPresent
-IllinoisPresentNative
-IndianaPresentNative
-IowaPresentNative
-KansasPresentNative
-KentuckyPresentNative
-LouisianaPresentNative
-MainePresentNative
-MarylandPresentNative
-MassachusettsPresentNative
-MichiganPresentNative
-MinnesotaPresentNative
-MississippiPresentNative
-MissouriPresentNative
-MontanaPresentNative
-NebraskaPresentNative
-New HampshirePresentNative
-New JerseyPresentNative
-New MexicoPresentNative
-New YorkPresentNative
-North CarolinaPresentNative
-North DakotaPresentNative
-OhioPresentNative
-OklahomaPresentNative
-OregonPresent
-PennsylvaniaPresentNative
-Rhode IslandPresentNative
-South CarolinaPresentNative
-South DakotaPresentNative
-TennesseePresentNative
-TexasPresentNative
-UtahPresentNative
-VermontPresentNative
-VirginiaPresentNative
-West VirginiaPresentNative
-WisconsinPresentNative
-WyomingPresentNative

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroduced
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedNaturalizednaturalized in Northeast Queensland on parts of the Atherton Tableland mainly at higher elevations, over 800 m

South America

BoliviaPresentIntroduced
BrazilPresentIntroduced
-AcrePresentIntroducedCultivated
-AmapaPresentIntroducedCultivated
-Distrito FederalPresentIntroducedCultivated
-GoiasPresentIntroducedCultivated
-Mato GrossoPresentIntroducedCultivated
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentIntroducedCultivated
-ParaPresentIntroducedCultivated
-ParanaPresentIntroducedCultivated
-Rio de JaneiroPresentIntroducedCultivated
-Rio Grande do SulPresentIntroducedCultivated
-Santa CatarinaPresentIntroducedCultivated
-Sao PauloPresentIntroducedCultivated
ColombiaPresentNative
EcuadorPresentIntroducedCultivated
VenezuelaPresentStatus uncertain

History of Introduction and Spread

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In Belgium, S. canadensis is regarded as ‘escaped from cultivation’ and was first collected in the wild in 1972. Now, it grows in deciduous woodland in habitats similar to those of the native S. nigra (Alien plants of Belgium, 2020).

Habitat

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Sambucus canadensis commonly grows in moist and wet open places, swamps and damp places, riverbanks, lakeshores, meadows, pastures, woodlands, oak forests, riparian forests and along canals. It can also be found colonizing disturbed areas along roadsides and railroad lines and in disturbed thickets and forest edges (Stevens, 2001; Charlebois et al., 2010; Spjut, 2015; Flora of Missouri, 2020).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ManagedRail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedRail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedRail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ManagedUrban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedUrban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedUrban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalRiverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalRiverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalRiverbanks Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalWetlands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalWetlands Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalWetlands Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalScrub / shrublands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalScrub / shrublands Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalScrub / shrublands Present, no further details Productive/non-natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for S. canadensis is 2n = 36 (Spjut, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2020).

Reproductive Biology

Flowers of S. canadensis do not have nectaries and it is thought that this species is pollinated by wind (Charlebois et al., 2010).

Physiology and Phenology

In North America, S. canadensis produces flowers from May to September and fruits from July to October (Stevens, 2001). In tropical areas, it produces flowers and fruits throughout the year (Charlebois et al., 2010). The flowers are faintly perfumed.

Longevity

Sambucus canadensis is a short-lived perennial species. In the wild, plants often produce flowers and fruit after 2-3 years and can reach full size in 3-4 years (Stevens, 2001).

Associations

In North America, elderberries are important sources of summer food for many species of songbirds, grouse, pheasant and pigeons (Martin et al., 1951Stevens, 2001).

The valley elderberry longhorn beetle, Desmocerus californicus dimorphus, a species listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act, uses S. canadensis as a food plant. The elderberry beetle is endemic to oak [Quercus] woodlands in Sacramento and the upper San Joaquin Valley of California where S. canadensis grows. The primary threat to this beetle species is loss of habitat, insecticide and herbicide use and lack of elderberry shrubs as a food plant (Stevens, 2001; US Fish & Wildlife Service, 2017).

Environmental Requirements

Sambucus canadensis can grow in temperate, tropical and subtropical climates with mean annual precipitation ranging from 400 mm to >2000 mm and mean annual temperature ranging from 5°C to 20°C (tolerates temperatures down to -20°C). In the northern part of its distribution range, this species overwinters in temperatures as low as -40°C. S. canadensis grows best in moist soils with pH ranging from 4.2 to 8.0. It is adapted to grow in swamps and bogs and in transition zones between wetland and upland (Stevens, 2001; Charlebois et al., 2010).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Tolerated Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Ds - Continental climate with dry summer Tolerated Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
45 30

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -40
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 5 20

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall400 >2000 mm; lower/upper limits

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Corticium koleroga Pathogen Leaves not specific
Erysiphe penicillata Pathogen Leaves not specific
Phyllactinia guttata Pathogen Leaves not specific
Podosphaera macularis Pathogen Leaves not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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In North America, deer, elk and moose [Alces alces] browse the stems and foliage of S. canadensis (Stevens, 2001).

Adults of Desmocerus californicus dimorphus eat elderberry leaves and flowers, while larvae eat the inside of stems. The currant borer, Ramosia tipulijormis, attacks the fruit (Stevens, 2001; Charlebois et al., 2010).

The larvae of the following species feed on the leaves of elderberry in North America: Hyalophora cecropia, Malacosoma americanum, Malacosoma disstria, Langium atroviolaceum and Macrophya trisyllaba (Arnett, 2000; Eaton and Kaufman, 2007; Charlebois et al., 2010).

The following pathogenic fungi have been reported on Sambucus species causing leaf-spot disease, stem cankers and powdery mildew (Charlebois et al., 2010):Cytospora leucosperma [Leucostoma persoonii], Cytospora sambucicola, Cytospora chrysosperma, Neonectria coccinea, Sphaeropsis sambucina, Ascochyta wisconsina, Phaeoramularia catenospora, Cercospora depazeoides, Cercosporella prolificans, Ramularia sambucina, Sepiotia sambucina, Erysiphe penicillata, Erysiphe grossulariae, Phyllactinia guttata, Podosphaera macularis and Corticium koleroga.

Several viruses have been reported in S. canadensis including tomato ringspot and cherry leafroll virus (Jones, 1972; Ellis et al., 1992).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Sambucus canadensis spreads by seed and vegetatively by root suckering, underground rhizomes and rooting (layering) of procumbent stems where they touch the soil surface. Seeds are dispersed by animals including birds, bears [Ursidae], squirrels and other rodents (Stevens, 2001; Finn et al., 2008; Charlebois et al., 2010; Alien plants of Belgium, 2020).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Crop productionCultivated for its fruits Yes Yes Stevens (2001)
DisturbanceCommon in disturbed areas Yes Yes Stevens (2001)
Escape from confinement or garden escapeEscaped from cultivation, naturalized Yes Yes Alien plants of Belgium (2020)
Garden waste disposalSeeds, rhizomes, fragments Yes Yes Charlebois et al. (2010)
HorticultureCultivated for its fruits and as an ornamental Yes Yes Charlebois et al. (2010)
Intentional releaseCultivated for its fruits and as an ornamental Yes Yes Charlebois et al. (2010)
Internet salesSeeds and plants for sale online Yes Yes
Medicinal useUsed in traditional medicine Yes Yes Stevens (2001)
Nursery tradeCommercialized for its fruits and as an ornamental Yes Yes Charlebois et al. (2010)
Ornamental purposesCultivated as an ornamental Yes Yes Charlebois et al. (2010)
People foragingCultivated for its fruits Yes Yes Charlebois et al. (2010)
Seed tradeSeeds and plants for sale online Yes Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesSeeds, rhizomes, fragments Yes Yes Charlebois et al. (2010)
MailSeeds and plants for sale online Yes Yes

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative
Human health Positive and negative

Environmental Impact

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Sambucus canadensis is currently listed as invasive in South Africa and Cuba where it is altering natural successional processes. Its shallow, aggressive root system indicates a potential to displace native vegetation (Macdonald et al., 2003; Charlebois et al., 2010; Oviedo Prieto and González-Oliva, 2015).

Social Impact

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The leaves, stems, roots, seeds and unripe fruits of S. canadensis are toxic to humans due to the presence of cyanogenic glycosides and alkaloids; seeds and fruits should therefore not be eaten raw (Stevens, 2001).

Risk and Impact Factors

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Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Gregarious
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Has high genetic variability
Impact outcomes
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - smothering
  • Poisoning
  • Rapid growth
  • Rooting
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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Sambucus canadensis is harvested from the wild and also commercially cultivated for its fruit. Fruits, flowers, leaves and the inner bark of S. canadensis are used in traditional medicine and dyes for basketry. Fruits are used to make jelly, syrup, candies, pies and wine. Leaves and bark are used as an insecticide. The wood is hard and used to make combs, spindles and pegs while the hollow stems are used to make flutes and blowguns. All parts of the plant are highly appreciated by Native American people and have multiple uses including medicinal and religious uses. This species is frequently planted as an ornamental in pond and lake margins and along roadsides (Moerman, 1998; Stevens, 2001; Spjut, 2015; PFAF, 2020).

Uses List

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Drugs, stimulants, social uses

  • Religious

Environmental

  • Agroforestry
  • Amenity

General

  • Ritual uses

Human food and beverage

  • Beverage base
  • Fruits
  • Spices and culinary herbs

Materials

  • Dyestuffs
  • Poisonous to mammals

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • Christmas tree
  • Cut flower
  • garden plant
  • Potted plant
  • Propagation material
  • Seed trade

Wood Products

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Woodware

  • Industrial and domestic woodware
  • Musical instruments

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Sambucus canadensis is similar to S. nigra and the distinction between these two species is not always straightforward. It has been suggested that ‘fruit colour’ is the best trait to separate these species although fruits eventually turn dark purplish in both species. Also, S. canadensis always has more leaflets and nutlets are also more numerous than in S. nigra. Additionally, S. nigra tends to be a single- or few-trunked large shrub or small tree, whereas S. canadensis can have many stems and can spread aggressively by underground rhizomes (Finn et al., 2008; Alien plants of Belgium, 2020).

Both species can be distinguished on the basis of the following characteristics:

S. canadensis: leaf with 5-11 leaflets, usually seven; petals white in life; carpels with (3-) 4 (-5) stigmas; branchlets with sparse lenticels; drupe bright red prior to turning purple-black, 4-5 mm wide; plants up to 2.5 m tall. Often rhizomatous.

S. nigra: leaf with 3-7 leaflets, usually five; petals yellow-white in life; carpels with 3 (-4) stigmas; branchlets with abundant lenticels; drupe dingy purple prior to turning black, 6-8 mm wide; plants 3-10 m tall. Not rhizomatous.

References

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Acevedo-Rodríguez, P., Strong, M. T., 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies, Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution.1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Alien plants of Belgium, 2020. Manual of the alien plants of Belgium. In: Manual of the alien plants of Belgium , Belgium: National Botanic Garden of Belgium.http://alienplantsbelgium.be/

Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, 2009. An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 161(2), 105-121. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x

Applequist WL, 2013. Report of the Nomenclature Committee for Vascular Plants: 65. Taxon, 62(6), 1315-1326. doi: https://doi.org/10.12705/626.49

Applequist, W. L., 2015. A brief review of recent controversies in the taxonomy and nomenclature of Sambucus nigra sensu lato. Acta Horticulturae, (No.1061), 25-33. http://www.actahort.org/books/1061/1061_1.htm

Arnett RH, 2000. American insects: a handbook of the insects of America north of Mexico, (2nd edition) . Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA: CRC Press.1024 pp.

Charlebois, D., Byers, P. L., Finn, C. E., Thomas, A. L., 2010. Elderberry: botany, horticulture, potential. Horticultural Reviews, 37, 213-280.

Donoghue MJ, Eriksson T, Reeves PA, Olmstead RG, 2001. Phylogeny and phylogenetic taxonomy of Dispacales, with special reference to Sinodoxa and Tetradoxa (Adoxaceae). Harvard Papers in Botany, 6(2), 459-479.

Donoghue MJ, Olmstead RG, Smith JF, Palmer JD, 1992. Phylogenetic relationships of Dipsacales based on rbcL sequences. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 79(2), 333-345. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/2399772

Eaton KR, Kaufman K, 2007. Kaufman field guide to insects of North America, Boston, USA: Houghton Mifflin Co.391 pp.

Eriksson T, Donoghue MJ, 1997. Phylogenetic analyses of Sambucus and Adoxa (Adoxoideae, Adoxaceae) based on nuclear ribosomal ITS sequences and preliminary morphological data. Systematic Botany, 22(3), 555-573. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/2419828

Finn, C. E., Thomas, A. L., Byers, P. L., Serçe, S., 2008. Evaluation of American (Sambucus canadensis) and European (S. nigra) elderberry genotypes grown in diverse environments and implications for cultivar development. HortScience, 43(5), 1385-1391. http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/

Flora of Missouri, 2020. Flora of Missouri. In: Flora of Missouri Cambridge, MA, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria.http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=11

Jones, A. T., 1972. Purification and properties of Elderberry latent virus, one of four sap-transmissible viruses obtained from American Elder (Sambucus canadensis L.). Annals of Applied Biology, 70(1), 49-58. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7348.1972.tb04687.x

Macdonald, I. A. W., Reaser, J. K., Bright, C., Neville, L. E., Howard, G. W., Murphy, S. J., Preston, G., 2003. Invasive alien species in Southern Africa: national reports and directory of resources, [ed. by Macdonald, I. A. W., Reaser, J. K., Bright, C., Neville, L. E., Howard, G. W., Murphy, S. J., Preston, G.]. Cape Town, South Africa: Global Invasive Species Programme.125 pp. http://www.gisp.org

Martin, A. D., Zim, H. S., Nelson, A. L., 1951. American wildlife and plants. A guide to wildlife food habits, New York, USA: Dover Publications.500 pp.

Moerman, D. E., 1998. Native American Ethnobotany, Oregon, USA: Timber Press.927 pp.

Oviedo Prieto, R., González-Oliva, L., 2015. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2015. (Lista nacional de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2015). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba, 9(Special Issue No. 2), 1-88. http://repositorio.geotech.cu/jspui/bitstream/1234/1476/4/Lista%20nacional%20de%20plantas%20invasoras%20de%20Cuba-2015.pdf

PFAF, 2020. Plants For A Future Database. In: Plants For A Future Database Dawlish, UK: Plants For A Future.http://www.pfaf.org/USER/Default.aspx

POWO, 2020. Plants of the World Online. In: Plants of the World Online London, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.http://www.plantsoftheworldonline.org

Reveal, J. L., 2008. (1800-1802) Proposals to conserve the name Viburnaceae (Magnoliophyta), the name Adoxaceae against Viburnaceae, a "superconservation" proposal, and, as an alternative, the name Sambucaceae. Taxon, 57(1), 303.

Spjut RW, 2015. Sambucus: Adoxaceae (Caprifoliaceae). In: The World Botanical Associates . http://www.worldbotanical.com/sambucus.htm

Stevens M, 2001. Plant guide for common elderberry (Sambucus nigra L. ssp. canadensis (L.) R. Bolli. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA: USDA-National Resources Conservation Service, National Plant Data Center.5 pp.

US Fish & Wildlife Service, 2017. Valley elderberry longhorn beetle, Desmocerus californicus dimorphus. In: Species information , USA: US Fish & Wildlife Service.https://www.fws.gov/sacramento/es_species/Accounts/Invertebrates/valley_elderberry_longhorn_beetle/

USDA-ARS, 2020. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. In: Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory.https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx

Wilson KL, 2016. Report of the General Committee: 15. Taxon, 65(5), 1150-1151. doi: https://doi.org/10.12705/655.14

Distribution References

Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong M T, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. 1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Alien plants of Belgium, 2020. Manual of the alien plants of Belgium. In: Manual of the alien plants of Belgium, Belgium: National Botanic Garden of Belgium. http://alienplantsbelgium.be/

Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants, 2010. Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants. Version 6.1 - December 2010. In: Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants. Version 6.1 - December 2010. Queensland, Australia: CSIRO. http://keys.trin.org.au/key-server/data/0e0f0504-0103-430d-8004-060d07080d04/media/Html/index.html

Bernal R, Gradstein SR, Celis M, 2015. Catalogue of plants and lichens of Colombia. (Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia)., [ed. by Bernal R, Gradstein SR, Celis M]. Bogotá, Colombia: Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia. http://catalogoplantasdecolombia.unal.edu.co

CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Hopkins D L, Purcell A H, 2002. Xylella fastidiosa: cause of Pierce's disease of grapevine and other emergent diseases. Plant Disease. 86 (10), 1056-1066. DOI:10.1094/PDIS.2002.86.10.1056

Jørgensen P M, León-Yánez S, 1999. Catalogue of the vascular plants of Ecuador. 1182 pp.

Jørgensen P M, Nee M H, Beck S G, 2014. Catálogo de las plantas vasculares de Bolivia. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden Press. 1741 pp.

Macdonald I A W, Reaser J K, Bright C, Neville L E, Howard G W, Murphy S J, Preston G, 2003. Invasive alien species in Southern Africa: national reports and directory of resources. [ed. by Macdonald I A W, Reaser J K, Bright C, Neville L E, Howard G W, Murphy S J, Preston G]. Cape Town, South Africa: Global Invasive Species Programme. 125 pp. http://www.gisp.org

Oviedo Prieto R, González-Oliva L, 2015. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2015. (Lista nacional de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2015). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba. 9 (Special Issue No. 2), 1-88. http://repositorio.geotech.cu/jspui/bitstream/1234/1476/4/Lista%20nacional%20de%20plantas%20invasoras%20de%20Cuba-2015.pdf

POWO, 2020. Plants of the World Online. In: Plants of the World Online, London, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. http://www.plantsoftheworldonline.org

Tillman P G, 2015. First record of Sesbania punicea (Fabales: Fabaceae) as a host plant for Chinavia hilaris (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Florida Entomologist. 98 (3), 989-990. http://www.bioone.org/loi/flen DOI:10.1653/024.098.0333

USDA-ARS, 2020. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. In: Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database, Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx

USDA-NRCS, 2020. The PLANTS Database. In: The PLANTS Database, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA: National Plant Data Team. https://plants.sc.egov.usda.gov

Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Contributors

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15/06/2020 Original text by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Institute of the Environment, University of Connecticut, USA

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