Gardening for You: Sweet showy Sambucus mexicana

Sambucus mexicana, the Mexican elder, is a beautiful, small tree that has a place in Southwest landscapes. Sambucus mexicana is valued for its artsy trunk and showy floral display as one specimen will bear hundreds of inflorescences, giving a creamy cast to the light green foliage.

The inflorescence of Sambucus mexicana is botanically called a panicle, a single blossom that produces a large cluster of small florets. Inflorescences open over a progression of several months, providing for pollinators a continual source of fresh flowers from late spring into the summer. When blossoms first open, petals of the florets are a buttery yellow that gradually turn to a paler creamy white. Blossoms are fragrant with prominent anthers that remain a creamy yellow. The day this photo was taken syrphid flies were happily buzzing around gathering pollen from the fragrant blossoms.

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