Red Elderberry, also known as Red-berried Elder (Sambucus Racemosa) is a shrub in the Moschatel Family (Adoxaceae). It’s native to most of North America and Eurasia. Blooms Apr-Jun and grows 7-15 ft. Abundant near streams in forests and savannas; in swamp and wetland edges; also common in moist soils in all types of forests. Likes wet to moist soils and full shade to partial sun exposure.
Red Elderberry looks similar to Blue Elderberry (Sambucus Cerulea [Sambucus Nigra]). Differences are: Red Elderberry it’s more shade tolerant, it leafs out, blooms and produces fruit sooner. It commonly has 5-7 leaflike leaflets vs 5-9 (commonly 9) on Blue Elderberry. It has pyramidal clusters of flowers vs flat-topped clusters of flowers on Blue Elderberry. It grows smaller 7-15 ft vs 10-25 ft of Blue Elderberry. Both plants have a strong unpleasant odor on flowers and when leaves are crushed.