Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Sambucus mexicana

Higher Taxonomy
Family: ViburnaceaeView 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. Viburnaceae adopted as a conserved name in 2016 [Taxon 65(4):878--879, August 2016], so must be used instead of Adoxaceae for all taxa previously said to belong to Adoxaceae.
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.
Etymology: (Greek: for stringed instrument made from wood of genus) Toxicity: Toxic in quantity (except cooked fruits).
eFlora Treatment Author: Charles D. Bell
Reference: Bolli 1994 Diss Bot 223:1--256
Sambucus mexicana C. Presl ex DC.
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; the type of S. mexicana reinterpreted as applying to this species (Whittemore 2018).
Synonyms: Sambucus caerulea Raf.; Sambucus nigra L. subsp. caerulea (Raf.) Bolli
Jepson eFlora Author: Charles D. Bell
Reference: Whittemore 2018 J Bot Res Inst Texas 12:69--73
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Sambucus mexicana

botanical illustration including Sambucus mexicana

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Citation for this treatment: Charles D. Bell 2022, Sambucus mexicana, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, Revision 10,, accessed on May 23, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 23, 2024.

Sambucus mexicana
click for enlargement
©2015 Barry Breckling
Sambucus mexicana
click for enlargement
©2015 Barry Breckling
Sambucus mexicana
click for enlargement
©2015 Barry Breckling
Sambucus mexicana
click for enlargement
©2015 Barry Breckling
Sambucus mexicana
click for enlargement
©2015 Barry Breckling

More photos of Sambucus mexicana
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Sambucus mexicana:
CA-FP, GB, DMtns
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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).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).