Lemony Lace™ Sambucus

As many of you know I have a fondness for Sambucus (elder or elderberry). Here is a new variety that should be a great garden companion to Black Lace Sambucus. This one is called Lemony Lace elder and is the result of a cross between Sambucus racemosa 'Sutherland Gold', a gold leaf selection from Les Kerr, and Sambucus racemosa 'Dropmore Fernleaf', a finely cut, green leaf plant that came from Canadian plant breeder Frank Skinner.  Lemon Lace elder combines the best characteristics of each parent giving us a compact plant, with extremely fine cut, lemon-lime foliage.  

This is one rugged plant. The seedlings that come out of the initial cross were planted out in full sun to cull out the weaker, more burn susceptible plants. After four years and a lot of dead and tattered seedlings, Lemony Lace elder emerged the survivor of the fittest.


Much like 'Sutherland Gold', the foliage emermges an attractive dark red, then changes to yellow as the foliage matures. Unlike Black Lace and Black Beauty  which are cultivars of the European species Sambucus nigra, Sambucus racemosa does not have showy flowers. And instead of edible, black fruit, this species has bright red fruit that should never be eaten. 

Hardy in zones 3-7, Lemony Lace elder is adaptable most climates and to most well drained soils. In northern regions it will do best in full sun and will require some dappled shade in warmer southern climates. It appears that this selection is lower and wider in stature compared 'Southerland Gold'. It is most certainly smaller in stature than Black Beauty and Black Lace elderberries. If you love yellow leafed plants or if you like fine textured plants Sambucus Black Lace then this may be a plant for you.  


  1. Those are some AMAZING pictures! beautiful work.

  2. Lordy, this is magnificent. Two questions please. How can I obtain this plant? I live in north Atlanta, USDA Zone 8A. Do you think it could thrive here?

  3. Have 3 Black Lace ... would love 'Sutherland Gold' too!

  4. I was cursing myself for planting 2 Sutherland Golds this year until I read that LL is shorter and wider - and I don't have room for any more width. How nice that more of these lovely shrubs are being offered, though. Your photos prove this one is gorgeous.

  5. Anonymous4:30 PM

    Are berries of the Sutherland Gold plant edible?

  6. Deborah, from what I have read, the red, berry-like fruit, of Sambucus racemosa is unpalatable when eaten raw and may be toxic to some people. I do not recommend it!

  7. Where can I buy this in the U.K>???? Wisley and some other horticulturalists will have it available hopefully soon' but nobody is offering it yet that I can find.


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