Black elder Sambucus nigra 'Madonna' Photo/Illustration: Mark Schofield 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Black elder (Sambucus nigra 'Madonna') sam-BOO-kus NY-grah Genus: Sambucus This choice specimen livens up the garden all season long with its stunning leaves of green splashed with gold. It bears flattened, creamy white flowers that mature into glossy black fruit. It grows more slowly than most elderberries. It makes an attractive specimen. Noteworthy Characteristics: Sambucus is suitable for mixed or shrub borders, or for naturalizing in wild areas. The fruits of this genus have culinary attributes when cooked, but can cause illness if eaten raw, or if the poisonous seeds are consumed. Care: Grow in moderately fertile, moist but well-drained soil, in full sun to partial shade; this cultivar benefits from afternoon shade. Sambucus may be pruned minimally to maintain a healthy framework, but it benefits from hard pruning to restrict its size. If desired, cut back annually to within 2 or 3 buds from a permanent framework. Propagation: Sow seed in a cold frame in the fall; take softwood cuttings in early summer and hardwood cuttings in winter. Problems: Powdery mildew, canker, dieback, rust, fungal leaf spots, borers, virus diseases. Overview Height 6 ft. to 10 ft. Spread 6 ft. to 10 ft. Growth Pace Slow Grower Light Full Sun to Part Shade Moisture Medium Moisture Maintenance Low Characteristics Attracts Song Birds, Attracts Butterflies, Fragrant Flowers, Showy Flowers, Showy Foliage, Showy Fruit Bloom Time Summer Flower Color White Foliage Color Variegated Foliage Uses Beds and Borders, Flowering Tree, Hedge, Poisonous, Specimen Plant/Focal Point Style Cottage Garden Seasonal Interest Spring Interest Type Shrubs Related Plants to Sambucus nigra 'Madonna' 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Black elder Sambucus nigra 'Marginata' 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Hedgehog rose Rosa 'Blanc Double de Coubert' 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 European red elder Sambucus racemosa ‘Sutherland Gold’ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Hedgehog rose Rosa rugosa var. alba View the discussion thread.