Elderberries (Sambucus canadensis) have surged in popularity for their unique taste in jams, jellies, juices and pies. Some people have gone one step further and use them in winemaking. Others have discovered that they are fabulous to use as a natural color in food products. Not only does this member of the honeysuckle family grow in the wild, many choose to propagate elderberry as an ornamental shrub.
There is no surprise that this deciduous bush attracts birds and butterflies because it produces a plethora of white umbel flowers that transform into dark purple fruit later in the summer. The fruit grows in drooping clusters and each berry grows to about a pea size. Although the flowers and berries are edible all other parts of this bush are poisonous containing toxic calcium oxalate crystals.