Stems: woody. Leaves: pinnately compound; leaflets lanceolate, acuminate at the apex, sharply serrate. Flowers: in thyrsoid cymes, white to yellowish. Fruit: small, scarlet.

This shrub, which grows from ten to thirty feet high and has spreading branches and ample foliage, is widely distributed over the continent. In fields and forests, by the roadsides and in neglected gardens, you will find it springing up and thriving with undaunted hardihood amid the most barren surroundings. It also grows at many elevations, being seen in quantities at the sea level and also flourishing abundantly at an altitude of 6000 and 7000 feet. The leaves are divided into from five to seven leaflets, and the creamy fragrant flowers grow in elongated clusters at the ends of the branches. The fruit is a bright scarlet drupe, with a pungent acid flavour.

Sambucus melanocarpa, or Black-berried Elder, does not grow quite so luxuriantly as the preceding species, yet its sweet-scented misty clusters adorn many a patch and thicket.

The fruit, as the name denotes, is a rich blue-black colour and very juicy. It is from this shrub that Elderberry wine is made.