Botanical Name: Sambucus nigra 'Thundercloud'
Common Name: Thundercloud Elderberry  
Plant photo of: Sambucus nigra 'Thundercloud'
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Water Saving Tip:

Replace turf with groundcovers, trees, and shrubs. If you have areas where no one uses the grass, patches that do not grow well, or a turf area too small to water without runoff, consider replacing the turf with water-efficient landscaping.

  • Anatomy

  • Culture

  • Design

Plant Type



Height Range



Flower Color

Pink, White


Flower Season

Spring, Summer


Leaf Color



Bark Color



Fruit Color



Fruit Season

Summer, Fall


Full, Half, Shade



Low, Medium, Extra in Summer


Growth Rate

Fast, Moderate


Soil Type

Sandy, Clay, Loam, Rocky, Unparticular


Soil Condition

Average, Rich, Poor, Well-drained, Moist, Dry


Soil pH

Acid, Neutral, Basic


Adverse Factors

Attracts Bees, Invasive, Poisonous

Design Styles

English Cottage, Woodland


Accenting Features

Showy Flowers, Unusual Foliage


Seasonal Interest

Spring, Summer, Fall


Location Uses

Background, Foundation, Walls / Fences


Special Uses

Cut Flowers, Erosion Control, Hedge, Naturalizing


Attracts Wildlife


Information by: Stephanie Duer
  • Description

  • Notes

Thundercloud elderberry is a deciduous shrub that grows 6 to 10 feet tall and wide. The leaves are pinnately compounded, and of an extraordinary blackish-burgundy color. May/June flowers are whitish-pinkish and grow in clusters that eventually give way to edible blue berries. Berries are loved by birds, but they are also good for making jams, jellies, and wine. Useful as an accent, in low spots in the garden that collect excess water. Tolerates dry shade. Foliage is fabulous in arrangements.
Best in moist soil although will tolerate dry soils. Grows in sun to shade, though will tolerate drier conditions when planted in part to full shade areas. Thrives under acid or alkaline soils. Best if pruned immediately after blooming. May be pruned to the ground each year and treated like a perennial, though this may compromise flowering. This plant will benefit from a good hard pruning as a young plant. According to the Humane Society of American, Sambucus leaves, bark, roots, and buds can be toxic to pets. This means that the plants are generally identified as having the capability for producing a toxic reaction.