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Sambucus racemosa variety racemosa
Sambucus racemosa variety racemosa
Sambucus racemosa variety racemosa  (Red Elderberry).  Synonym: Sambucus microbotrys.
Adoxaceae (Muskroot Family)

Montane, subalpine. Disturbed areas, openings. Spring.
Bolam Pass Road, July 2, 2014 (above photograph) and
Ryman Creek Trail, June 16, 2005.

Red Elderberry bushes are very common along roadsides, trails, meadows, and open woods. The bushes often have a number of light brown dead stalks that easily snap, exposing a pithy stem.  Early summer clusters of white flowers are followed by red/black berries.  These do not last long since they are favorites of bear, deer, and elk which bite off the entire berry cluster leaving a snipped stalk. Elderberries of the eastern United States are prized for pies and wine, but S. racemosa of the western U. S. is usually dry and bitter.

Linnaeus named this genus and this species in 1753; his name for the species was Sambucus racemosa. The species was later renamed Sambucus pubens in 1803 by Andre Michaux from a specimen he collected in "the mountains of Pennsylvania".  Per Axel Rydberg renamed the species Sambucus microbotrys in 1901 from a specimen collected by Charles Bessey on Pike's Peak.

Recent genetic research places the Sambucus genus in Adoxaceae.

"Sambucus", an ancient musical instrument, refers to the use of the hollow stems as a whistle and "microbotrys" means "tiny grapes".  "Racemosa" refers to the raceme structure of the flower cluster.

Sambucus racemosa variety racemosa

Sambucus racemosa variety racemosa

Sambucus racemosa

Sambucus racemosa variety racemosa  (Red Elderberry).  Synonym: Sambucus microbotrys.
Adoxaceae (Muskroot Family)

Montane, subalpine. Disturbed areas, openings. Spring.
Ryman Creek Trail, June 16, 2005 and Colorado Trail, July 2, 2013.

Sambucus racemosa variety racemosa
Sambucus racemosa variety racemosa  (Red Elderberry).  Synonym: Sambucus microbotrys.
Adoxaceae (Muskroot Family)

Montane, subalpine. Disturbed areas, openings. Spring.
Navajo Lake Trail, June 30, 2008.

A young Sambucus racemosa gains its chlorophyll and stretches upward.

Sambucus racemosa variety racemosa
Sambucus racemosa variety racemosa  (Red Elderberry).  Synonym: Sambucus microbotrys.
Adoxaceae (Muskroot Family)

Montane, subalpine. Disturbed areas, openings. Spring.
Road to Sharkstooth Trail, August 24, 2011.

Sambucus racemosa variety racemosa
Sambucus racemosa variety racemosa  (Red Elderberry).  Synonym: Sambucus microbotrys.
Adoxaceae (Muskroot Family)

Montane, subalpine. Disturbed areas, openings. Spring.
Road to Sharkstooth Trail, August 24, 2011.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Sambucus racemosa

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