Black elderberry (Sambucus racemosa var. melanocarpa) belongs to the family Caprifoliaceae (the Honeysuckle family). It is a small deciduous tree that is native to western North America, from central British Columbia to California east to Alberta, Nevada, and northern New Mexico. This tree grows in moist woods, moist roadside ditches, and riparian areas, and it can reach 1-4 m in height. The leaves are pinnately-compound with 5-7 elliptic to lanceolate leaflets. The creamy or white flowers bloom in hemispheric panicles in late spring to mid summer. The fruit are shiny black or purple-black berries. The black elderberry contains high levels of hydrocyanic acid which can lead to cyanide poisoning if consumed.