Sambucus racemosa – th’iwuq’ (Island Halkomelem)
Deciduous shrub to a small tree with white flowers and clusters of red berries.
Height: Up to 6m
Edible: The fruits are reportedly safe to eat when cooked, but potentially poisonous when raw.
Other Uses: N
Poisonous: Y (when raw)
Soil: Found on a wide variety of soils but favors deeper, loamy sands and silts and nutrient rich sites with good drainage and ample moisture.
Watering: Dry to moist
Sun: Sun to part shade
Usually found at: Stream sides, bogs, swamps.
Pollinators & wildlife: Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds.
Ornamental: The dense roots and rhizomes of red elderberry make it useful for soil stabilization and erosion.
Leaves: Leaves are opposite, pinnately divided into 5-7 leaflets. Leaflets are lance-shaped, toothed on the margins, and often somewhat hairy underneath. The foliage, branches, and flowers have an unpleasant odor when crushed.
Flowers: Tiny, white to creamy flowers are borne in pyramidal clusters.
Berries: Berries are usually bright red, sometimes purplish-black, or rarely yellow or white.
First Nations uses: It has been used as a traditional medicinal plant by the Bella Coola, Carrier, Gitksan, Hesquiaht, Menominee, Northern Paiute, Ojibwa, Paiute, Potawatomi, Tlingit, and Haida peoples. The uses included as an emetic, antidiarrheal, cold and cough remedy and dermatological aid.