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Elderberry or American Elder

High Risk
Also Known As:
Sambucus canadensis



  • Bushy shrub with brittle, weak branches
  • Feather-like leaves are arranged in opposite pairs. Each leaf has 5-7 leaflets with toothed margins. When crushed, leaves have an unpleasant smell.
  • Star-shaped white flowers in large, umbrella-shaped clusters
  • Purple-black berry

Outdoor plant

Toxicity: (2-4)
Note: Toxicity scale ranges from minor harm to most poisonous (1-4)

  • Ingestion may cause minor symptoms such as rash, vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Ingestion in large amounts can cause serious effects.
  • These plants are known to cause problems in animals.

Toxic Parts:
Leaves, twigs (stems), roots, unripe fruits

Call the 24-Hour Poison Help Line for Additional Support:


Additional Information


The list of poisonous plants on this Web site does not necessarily include every poisonous plant that is known or that might be found in a home or yard. The University of Kansas Hospital does not advise eating any of the plants on this web site. We discourage the use of any of these plants for self medication. The information on this site is taken from the literature, and the degree of reliability is unknown. In case of accidental exposure or ingestion, contact the Poison Center 1-800-222-1222.