Arizona Naturalists >>> Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Sonoran Desert Flora >>> Caprifoliaceae >>> Sambucus mexicana

Mexican Elder

Sambucus nigra caerulea
Sambucus mexicana

pen&ink © by Michael Plagens

TREE: Large shrub or small tree with usu. multiple trunks and dark green leaves.

RANGE: Fairly common in riparian zones as a component of mesquite bosques mostly at elevations above 800 m in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. Occasionally used in landscaping in Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona. Various taxonomic treatments have lumped or split the Mexican Elder with other populations of the Blue Elderberry that ranges through much of the western United States.

FLOWERS: Large, flat topped panicles of small white flowers in mid to late spring and occasionally into summer.

FRUIT: Small dark berries, summer to fall.


LEAVES: Large compound leaves are opposite on the stems.

flowers of mexican elder - fruit of mexican elder

Caprifoliaceae -- Honeysuckle Family

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More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 5 July 2007
updated 18 Sept. 2012