Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: European Red Elder, Red Elderberry
Sambucus racemosa 'Sutherland Gold'

Family: Adoxaceae (a-dox-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sambucus (sam-BYOO-kus) (Info)
Species: racemosa (ray-see-MO-suh) (Info)
Cultivar: Sutherland Gold

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

6 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By Gabrielle
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There are a total of 15 photos.
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4 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive plantgnome1 On Jun 28, 2014, plantgnome1 from nowhere land, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:

I have one in a partial shady area under tall trees, it is so pretty and delicate. The color is striking. Mine has never gotten berries.
As for being poisonous-I have three toddler grandchildren who visit and I have educated them on plants and not to eat anything from them and I don't let them eat anything at all even if it is edible. Unless it is in the refrigerator, they don't eat it. And there are hundreds of plants that are poisonous as well. Kids should always being supervised. So yes the tree may be dangerous-so are swimming pools-kids shouldn't be left alone. .
Tired of seeing people give negative reviews because a plant is poisonous. Who goes around eating plants anyway?

Positive KariGrows On Apr 1, 2012, KariGrows from New Lisbon, WI (Zone 4b) wrote:

I have my Sutherland Gold elderberry in a morning sun , afternoon filtered, spot, just outside of my path to a woodland garden. It has had two winters with me and has grown quickly to about 4 feet tall and wide . I will prune it after blooming this year, and it is full of buds on each branch. I am not worried about the poisonous issue as there are no children here, although I do have a number of cats and two dogs. There are many poisonous plants around, .. I have not had any problems
I find this elderberry to be an asset to my garden, beautiful in its spring color and never seems to need special care. I bought this and black lace, but this is my favorite.

Positive Amoena On Mar 6, 2011, Amoena from Nashville, TN wrote:

I'm not sure why fhj52 is so down on this plant, when SOOO MANY, (if not MOST) ornamental plants are toxic if eaten. Even the foliage of potatos & tomatoes are toxic! I hardly think that is a good reason to ban them from the garden. Besides which, I have eaten numerous berries from the native species, P. nigra subsp. canadensis, which grows wild on my property. The berries are most assuredly NOT poisonous! (Just don't eat any other part.)
Anyway, I planted a specimen of S. racemosa 'Southerland Gold" about six years ago, in a dry, shady area. It never particularly thrived, but the foliage was very attractive. I have since moved, and decided to try again- this time in a moister, sunnier area. Although it has not bloomed for me yet, this is a lovely foliage plant, easy to grow, (with sufficient moisture,) but not nearly as aggresive as P. nigra, (which rockets to 12 feet in a year's time!)

Negative fhj52 On Nov 25, 2007, fhj52 from Blytheville, AR (Zone 7b) wrote:

All parts of the Sambucus * (elderberry) plant are poisonous except some specific cultivars' berries and the flowers produced for those. Red berried Sambucus are just flat out dangerous to have around.

Poisonous Part
Leaves, twigs (stems), roots, unripe fruits.
Toxic Principle
Cyanogenic glycoside and alkaloid.
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, coma.

The level of toxic response is determined by quantity ingested and the individual's level of susceptibility. It is difficult to state unconditionally what would happen because there are twin poisoning paths.

In 'english' that means a strong, healthy adult would most likely only get a severe stomach ache, but a child or sickly person could become unconscious. In the latter case ultimate result could be death although I have never heard of such ...the affected individual only wished they were dead due to the painful cramps.

The American Elder's *black* berries are edible and make nice jam and juice when properly processed. The flowers, a delicacy, are also edible.
I have no information that any other Sambucus' berry or flower is edible. The unripe green berries are poisonous and the ripe *red* berries found on some Sambucus ( e.g., this plant, Sambucus racemosa ) are poisonous. Do NOT eat them. Do NOT allow children or pets near them.

I am not so sure that the emergence of the Sambucus as a landscaping item is a good thing. Children put almost anything in their mouths ... especially "the pretty berries" they find.

Be careful where this plant is used.

Just as a completely non-scientific comment, the (wild) elderberry is most often found in places that are out of the way and not so easily reached. This may be part of the Grand Omniscious Design ...

Positive Soferdig On Aug 6, 2006, Soferdig from Kalispell, MT (Zone 4b) wrote:

This is an awesome chartreuse arching highlight to a shaded area in the garden. It looks like a green spray out of a firehydrant in the garden. Mine has lots of afternoon sun and thrives well in this area. I cut mine back to about 3 ' every year to get the fountain over my waterfall.

Neutral Gabrielle On Mar 12, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

My information says this can take partial sun.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Huntsville, Alabama
Blytheville, Arkansas
San Leandro, California
Susanville, California
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Townsend, Delaware
Batavia, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Washington, Illinois
Waukegan, Illinois
Grand Haven, Michigan
Muskegon, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Kalispell, Montana
Coram, New York
Cincinnati, Ohio
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Salem, Oregon
Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
North Augusta, South Carolina
Nashville, Tennessee
Lexington, Virginia
Smithfield, Virginia
Kalama, Washington
Port Angeles, Washington
Vancouver, Washington
New Lisbon, Wisconsin
Presque Isle, Wisconsin
Laramie, Wyoming

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