The Sambucus racemosa is a leggy deciduous shrub grows up to 20 feet tall, and has soft, pithy stems. Leaves are composed of long, narrow leaflets divided into five to seven leaves. The creamy-white flowers are arranged in dense, pymramidial clusters. Fruits are bright red berry-like drupes; not palatable when raw.
Grows mostly in clearings, in moist to dry soils. Full sun to partial shade.
Twigs and leaves are preferred by deer and elk and flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Berries are eaten by numerous small mammals and birds.