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Trauben-Holunder (Sambucus racemosa) - HSBaum

Grape elder (Sambucus racemosa)

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The grape elder is also called mountain elder, red elder and deer elder. The botanical species name is Sambucus racemosa. The large shrub reaches heights of 1-4 meters and widths of 2-3 meters. The growth can be defined as upright. In exceptional cases, heights of up to 8 meters can be reached. The grape elder prefers a sunny to partially shaded location and blooms from April to May.

Pollination and foliage

Sambucus racemosa is monoecious. In addition to cross-pollination, insect pollination also plays an important role here. The green, yellow and white flowers bloom in April and May. These are so-called panicle flowers. The pinnate and serrated leaves of the deciduous shrub have an opposing leaf arrangement and a simple leaf structure. Sambucus racemosa can be distinguished from Sambucus nigra in a relatively simple way based on the leaves in particular. Sambucus racemosa is characterized by bronze-colored leaves in the leaf shoot phase. Sometimes the leaves of the mountain elder are also red in color during this phase. Only later do the leaves take on their green color.

Soil condition

The mountain elder is happy about a sandy to loamy, nutrient-rich and permeable soil variation with a low lime content. An acidic to weakly acidic pH value can be defined as optimal.


Sambucus racemosa is found in Europe and Western Asia. In Central Europe it is mostly found in higher altitudes. In the Alps it can also be admired at altitudes of up to 1,800 meters. Individual subspecies can also be found in North America.


The red elder can be used as a landscape wood as well as a pioneer wood. The hardy large shrub cuts a fine figure, especially in partially shaded locations. Similar to the black elder, the fruits of the mountain elder are also suitable for consumption. So nothing stands in the way of a culinary use of Sambucus racemosa.