Golden American Elder

Sambucus canadensis 'Aurea'

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Golden American Elder (Sambucus canadensis 'Aurea') at Shelmerdine Garden Center

Sambucus canadensis 'Aurea' in bloom

Sambucus canadensis 'Aurea' in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Golden American Elder (Sambucus canadensis 'Aurea') at Shelmerdine Garden Center

Sambucus canadensis 'Aurea'

Sambucus canadensis 'Aurea'

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 10 feet

Spread: 8 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone: 3a


A large, vigorous shrub featuring golden foliage all season long and attractive clusters of small, white flowers in spring followed by bright red berries, quite coarse in winter; very adaptable, survives with minimal care but tends to sucker

Ornamental Features:

Golden American Elder features showy clusters of lightly-scented creamy white flowers held atop the branches in early summer. It has attractive yellow foliage throughout the season. The compound leaves are ornamentally significant but do not develop any appreciable fall colour. The red fruits are held in clusters in early fall. The smooth tan bark is not particularly outstanding.

Landscape Attributes:

Golden American Elder is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.

This is a high maintenance shrub that will require regular care and upkeep, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. It is a good choice for attracting birds to your yard. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Suckering

Golden American Elder is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • General Garden Use
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens
  • Hedges/Screening
  • Mass Planting
  • Accent

Plant Characteristics:

Golden American Elder will grow to be about 10 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 8 feet. It tends to be a little leggy, with a typical clearance of 2 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under average home landscape conditions. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments.

This is a selection of a native North American species.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Accent Massing Screening Garden Naturalizing
Flowers Fruit Foliage Color Attracts Wildlife
Ornamental Features