Coefficient of Conservatism:
Coefficient of Wetness:
RED-BERRIED ELDER, RED ELDERBERRY
B. S. Walters
Primarily in beech-maple forests, especially along borders, trails, and clearings, but also with conifers and in mixed forests, thickets, occasionally swamps.
The bright red fruit is very attractive to the eye, but is usually said to be inedible or even poisonous to humans.
This is a variable species, with several allied taxa in the West. Eastern American plants have often been called S. pubens Michx., which is now usually treated as subsp. pubens (Michx.) House or var. pubens (Michx.) Koehne of the European S. racemosa, which is sometimes cultivated. Typical S. racemosa is essentially glabrous, while our plants are usually slightly to densely pubescent on new branchlets and in the inflorescence. There is also much variation in leaflet shape. The uncommon yellow-fruited form [f. xanthocarpa House] has been collected in Mackinac and Washtenaw Cos. A cut-leaved variant has rarely been found—sometimes as a branch on an otherwise normal plant.