Skip Navigation
Poison Control Center
at The University of Kansas Health System
Happy family in a park.
Back to Poison Control Center

Elderberry or American Elder

Scientific name

Sambucus canadensis

Common name

Elderberry, American elder


Outdoor plant

Toxicity: 2-4

Ingestion may cause minor symptoms such as rash, vomiting or diarrhea. Ingestion in large amounts can cause serious effects. These plants are known to cause problems in animals.

Toxic parts

  • Leaves, twigs (stems), roots, unripe fruits


  • Bushy shrub with brittle, weak branches
  • Feather-like leaves are arranged in opposite pairs. Each leaf has 5-7 leaflets with toothed margins. When crushed, leaves have an unpleasant smell.
  • Star-shaped white flowers in large, umbrella-shaped clusters
  • Purple-black berry

We offer a variety of appointment types. Learn more or call 913-588-1227 to schedule now.


The list of poisonous plants on this Web site does not necessarily include every poisonous plant that is known or that might be found in a home or yard. Also, the plants are listed by common or scientific name but might be known to you by other names. The University of Kansas Hospital does not advise eating any of the plants on this web site. We discourage the use of any of these plants for self medication. The information on this site is taken from the literature, and the degree of reliability is unknown. In case of accidental exposure or ingestion, contact the Poison Center 1-800-222-1222.


Related links