Sambucus cerulea

blue elderberry

Blue elderberry is a tall, 2-4 m shrub with large leaves, opposite or pinnately compound leaves. The white flowers grow in large flat-topped clusters, unlike red elderberry flowers which grow in a pyramidal group. 

Cultural Narrative: 

Blue elderberries were particularly favored among groups living in what are today's interior Canadian provinces. Berries could be eaten fresh or dried. Some groups would leave the berries on the shrubs until late fall before harvesting. Berries might be mixed with black tree lichen for flavoring. Today people use the berries to make james, jellies, and syrup.

Location Description: 

Blue elderberry grows in wet but well-drained valley bottoms, streambanks, and gullys throughout the interior Northwest and is sporadic on coastal islands.