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Sambucus nigra subsp. caerulea

Higher Taxonomy
Family: AdoxaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: [Perennial herb], subshrub to tree; hairs often stellate or glandular. Leaf: generally opposite, simple or compound, generally toothed; stipules generally 0. Flower: generally bisexual; calyx teeth or lobes [2]5; corolla small, radial, rotate, lobes [3--4]5; stamens [4]5, epipetalous; ovary +- inferior, chambers 1 or 3--5, 1-ovuled; styles +- 0 or 3--5. Fruit: drupe.
Genera In Family: 5 genera, 200 species: especially northern temperate, also South America, southeastern Asia, tropical Africa. Note: Incl in Caprifoliaceae in TJM (1993), and possibly in future.
Unabridged Note: Incl in Caprifoliaceae in TJM (1993), and possibly in future according to the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (, which states, in part, "The whole lot might usefully be combined in a Caprifoliaceae s.l. (see also APG 2003), since similarities between the families are considerable and differences are mostly slight."
eFlora Treatment Author: Charles D. Bell, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: SambucusView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Generally shrub to small tree, deciduous; main trunk generally 0. Stem: pith large, spongy. Leaf: 1(2)-odd-pinnately compound; leaflets serrate. Inflorescence: panicle of cymes, terminal, generally +- dome-shaped. Flower: ovary chambers 3--5, ovules pendent; style +- 0, stigma lobes 3--5. Fruit: drupe, berry-like. Seed: 3--5.
Species In Genus: 20 species: temperate, subtropics some cultivated as ornamental. Etymology: (Greek: for stringed instrument made from wood of genus) Toxicity: Toxic in quantity (except cooked fruits).
eFlora Treatment Author: Charles D. Bell

Sambucus nigra L. subsp. caerulea (Raf.) Bolli
Habit: Plant 2--8 m, generally as wide as tall. Leaf: leaflets 3--9, 3--20 cm, elliptic to ovate, glabrous to hairy, axis often bowed, base often asymmetric, tip acute to acuminate. Inflorescence: 4--33 cm diam, +- flat-topped; central axis generally not dominant. Flower: petals +- spreading. Fruit: +- black, densely white glaucous (appearing +- blue). Chromosomes: 2n=36.
Ecology: Common. Streambanks, open places in forest; Elevation: < 3000 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA-FP, GB, DMtns; Distribution Outside California: to British Columbia, Utah, New Mexico. Flowering Time: Mar--Sep Note: Variable, in need of study.
Synonyms: Sambucus caerulea Raf.; Sambucus mexicana C. Presl ex DC., misappl.
eFlora Treatment Author: Charles D. Bell
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botanical illustration including Sambucus nigra subsp. caerulea


Citation for this treatment: Charles D. Bell 2017. Sambucus nigra subsp. caerulea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 22, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 22, 2017.

Sambucus nigra subsp. caerulea
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© 2015 Neal Kramer
Sambucus nigra subsp. caerulea
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© 2008 George W. Hartwell
Sambucus nigra subsp. caerulea
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© 2008 Thomas Stoughton
Sambucus nigra subsp. caerulea
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© 2008 Keir Morse
Sambucus nigra subsp. caerulea
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© 2003 Steve Matson
Sambucus nigra subsp. caerulea
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© 2015 Barry Breckling

More photos of Sambucus nigra subsp. caerulea in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Sambucus nigra subsp. caerulea:
CA-FP, GB, DMtns;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.