Common Elderberry Sambucus canadensis
Family: Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle)
There are two native species of Elderberry, and they are both quite
similar. They share common characteristics of large, greenish red
buds, stout twigs, raised warty lenticels on the bark, and a spongy
pith (the twigs can often be pinched between the fingers). Common
Elderberry has flat-topped fruit clusters and white pith, while Red
Elderberry has cone-shaped fruit clusters and brown pith.
Probably the most similar shrub is Lilac, which also
has lenticels and very similar-looking buds. Lilac pith is quite
solid, though, and the twigs cannot be pinched like Elderberry.
End bud of Elderberry. Often it has a double end bud.
Another view of the end bud
Lateral buds. Notice the raised warty lenticels.
Another view of the lateral bud
A closeup of the raised lenticels
The twigs are easily crushed due to their spongy pith
Common Elderberry pith is white
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© 2008 Josh Sayers
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