Around Powell River you can see Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) plants both in town as garden ornamentals, and out in the bush in their natural environment. They make a tree-like large shrub with beautiful white flower clusters in spring, and bright red berries in summer.
They grow in moist areas along streams, in disturbed or open areas, and in lowland forests. The flowers provide food for hummingbirds and butterflies. The red berries are an important early season source of food for birds such as robins, thrushes, finches, and grosbeaks. Of course, this also helps with seed distribution.
Caution needs to be taken in the use of the red berries. Some sources say this variety is toxic, others differ. I err on the side of caution unless I know for sure (and I don't). Do you use red elderberry plants for any purpose, either in your garden or otherwise? -- Margy