Sambucus mexicana

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Sambucus mexicana
Sambucus mexicana
Sambucus mexicana

Species Name: Sambucus mexicana
Common Name: Mexican Elderberry

Bees love the flowers and songbirds relish the fruit. Grows fast and tolerates both moisture and drought. Pretty grass green color stands out on hillsides. Caution: unripe fruits are toxic.

Plant Family: Caprifoliaceae
Plant Type: Tree
Height by Width: 25' H x 25' W
Growth Habit: Rounded, multi-trunked
Deciduous/Evergreen: Winter deciduous
Growth Rate: Fast
Sun Exposure: Full to part sun
Soil Preference: Adaptable
Water Requirements: Drought-tolerant to moderate
Cold Hardy to: 6000'
Flower Season: Spring
Flower Color: Cream
Endangered?: Not Listed
Distribution: Northern California to Baja
Natural Habitat: Widespread: streambanks, open places in forest, dry slopes in Coastal Sage Scrub, Chaparral

Songbird iconA.jpg Butterfly iconA.jpg Clay iconA.jpg Slope iconA.jpg

Care and Maintenance

  • Introduced into cultivation in California by Theodore Payne.
  • From California Native Plants, Theodore Payne's 1941 catalog: "A deciduous tree with attractive light green foliage and large clusters of creamy white flowers appearing abundantly in spring and early summer. The flowers are followed by clusters of blue berries which are excellent for pies, and for making wine. Of very rapid growth and especially valuable where a quick effect is desired. While this tree is deciduous it comes out into leaf very early in the spring and drops its leaves late in the fall, so that it is only bare for a short time. Gallon cans, 50c."
Other Names
  • Bornstein, Carol, David Fross, and Bart O'Brien. California Native Plants for the Garden. Los Olivos, CA: Cachuma Press. 2005.