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American elder

By: Garden Gate staff
A quick way to identify American elder is to crush a stem or a few leaves and you’ll get a disagreeable odor.

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American elder Sambucus canadensis

IDENTIFICATION — A quick way to identify this tree seedling is to crush a stem or a few leaves and you’ll get a disagreeable odor. Break or cut a mature stem and you’ll discover a spongy white pith in the center. And last but not least, the creamy white flowers in spring and the dark purple fruits that follow are in large, flat-topped clusters.

FAVORITE CONDITIONS — Full sun to part shade in moist, fertile soil is where you’re likely to find American elder. It also tolerates moderately dry conditions.

CONTROL — Pull or dig out saplings or spray with a nonselective herbicide like Roundup®.

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