I was hiking in the Southern Canadian Rockies yesterday and was paying special attention to all the plants I'm not familiar with, one was these bushes with these clusters of tiny blue berries. The berries are only about 4-5mm in diameter. What are they, and are they edible?

(Nalgene for scale)

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  • Do you happen to have any pictures of the whole bush? Is it tall and the weight of the berries are making it fall over, or it is just a low-growing bush? Does each cluster of berries have its own stem? What color are the little tiny stems that each berry is attached to? I assume the dark leaves with the pointy edges are the ones for that bush, correct? Also, where were you exactly? Some sites are narrowed by exact geographical region. If you think of anything helpful, just add it into your answer. Especially when discussing edibility, we have to be really careful! Thanks! Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 0:56
  • @Sue, these berries were at eye level for me, and I'm over 6ft tall. i didn't take any other pictures, I'd been on the move for 10 hours at this point and gone over a mountain twice (and through it once) I was pretty tired.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 5:58

1 Answer 1


It seems to be elderberry (or Sambucus). Most of the species are edible according to that Wikipedia article.

  • 2
    I would add that they should be cooked to be edible.......... "Although the ripe, cooked berries (pulp and skin) of most species of Sambucus are edible,[5][9][10] uncooked berries and other parts of plants from this genus are poisonous.[11] Sambucus nigra is the only variety considered to be non-toxic, but it is still recommended that its berries be cooked slightly for culinary purposes.[9] The leaves, twigs, branches, seeds, and roots of Sambucus plants can contain a cyanidin glycoside. Ingesting a sufficient quantity of cyanidin glycosides may produce illnesses."
    – Nate W
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 15:41
  • 1
    @NateWengert yikes, that's kind of an important detail not to leave out of an answer...
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 15:42
  • Agreed! Probably won't kill you but could ruin a day hike lol
    – Nate W
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 15:45
  • 2
    I think this answer is only part of an answer. You've identified the genus, but what about the species?
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 21:03
  • @all Feel free to edit the answer if have something to add. Or add your own answer. As for me comments work pretty fine as well.
    – user13675
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 6:51

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