Get the PDFPatrick Byers
Regional horticulture specialist

Andrew Thomas
Research assistant professor
Southwest Research Center

Mihaela Cernusca
Marketing specialist
MU Center for Agroforestry

Larry Godsey
MU Center for Agroforestry

Michael Gold
Research professor
MU Center for Agroforestry

American elderberry is a rapidly emerging new perennial crop for Missouri and the Midwest. The American elderberry, native to much of the eastern U.S., is a medium to large multiple-stemmed shrub, bush or small tree.

American elderberry bears large crops of nutritious berries the second year after establishment. Elderberry is a beautiful plant with showy flat cymes of white flowers in June followed by clusters of bright purple to black berries in mid- to late-summer. Ornamental forms are important landscape plants. At present, use of both fruit and flowers for wine, juice, jelly, jam, colorant and dietary supplement products is on the rise. Although European elderberry is grown as a commercial fruit crop in Europe, the American elderberry appears better suited for commercial production in Missouri. Based on identified market size and demand, opportunities exist to increase both the production and processing of elderberry across the market value chain.

This guide explains the basics of establishing, managing and marketing an American elderberry orchard. Topics include site and water requirements, updated cultivar selections, methods for establishing orchards, pest and weed management, fertilization, pruning, harvest and postharvest handling, processing and storage. The guide also includes highlights from the Center's nationwide elderberry market and consumer analyses, and a brief look at elderberry economics. An up-to-date section on elderberry resources completes the guide.




  • American elderberry
  • Sambucus canadensis
  • Production
  • Marketing
  • Value chain
  • Economics


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