Black Lace Elderberry Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla 'Eva' (PBR)

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
elder 'Eva'


Commonly known as 'Black Lace' elderberry, this ornate plant is distinguished by its dark and lacy foliage. The leaves are a rich, deep purple, almost black, and are finely cut, creating a delicate, finely textured appearance. When it blooms, this elderberry produces large clusters of tiny, soft pink flowers that contrast strikingly with its dramatic foliage. These blossoms give off a light and sweet fragrance, attracting an array of pollinators to the garden. Following the flowers, the plant may also bear dark berries, which stand out against the purple leaves and can provide food for birds and wildlife. Overall, 'Black Lace' elderberry presents a stunning visual of deep purple foliage and light pink flowers, offering a gothic twist on a traditional garden shrub.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Black Lace Elderberry, Black Beauty Elderberry, Purple-leaved Elderberry.

    • Common names

      Sambucus nigra 'Eva', Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Black Lace elderberry, in all parts, may contain cyanogenic glycosides, particularly when raw. These substances can cause gastrointestinal distress and, in severe cases, can lead to cyanide poisoning. Symptoms of poisoning can include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and dizziness. The most toxic parts are the leaves, stems, roots, and unripe berries. Ripe berries are commonly used for making jams, jellies, and wine but should always be cooked to remove toxicity.

    • To pets

      The Black Lace elderberry contains components that can be toxic to pets if ingested, especially the leaves, stems, roots, and unripe berries. These parts contain cyanogenic glycosides that can lead to symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and more seriously, cyanide poisoning. Cooking ripe berries destroys the glycosides, making them safe for human consumption, but it's best to prevent pets from having access to any part of the plant.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      6 feet (1.83 meters)

    • Spread

      6 feet (1.83 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value - The plant, commonly known as Black Lace Elderberry, has dark purple-black foliage and pink flowers, providing high aesthetic value to gardens and landscapes.
    • Wildlife Attraction - Its flowers attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, while its berries are a food source for birds.
    • Edible Fruit - The berries can be used to make preserves, wines, and syrups, though they should be cooked to detoxify them before consumption.
    • Drought Tolerance - Once established, Black Lace Elderberry is fairly drought-tolerant, reducing the need for frequent watering.
    • Fast Growth - This plant tends to grow quickly, filling in spaces and achieving its full size within a short period.
    • Easy Propagation - It can be easily propagated from cuttings, making it simple for gardeners to create more plants.
    • Seasonal Interest - Black Lace Elderberry provides interest throughout the growing season with changing colors, from flowers to berries, and autumn foliage.
    • Privacy Screen - Due to its size and density, it can be used as a privacy screen or hedge in landscapes.
    • Shade Tolerance - It can tolerate partial shade, allowing it to adapt to various planting locations in a garden.
    • Soil Adaptability - This plant is adaptable to a wide range of soil types, although it prefers moist, well-drained conditions.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Immune System Support: Elderberry, the common name for Sambucus nigra, is traditionally used to boost the immune system.
    • Cold and Flu Relief: Bioactive compounds in elderberry may have a mild protective or symptomatic relief effect on flu and common colds.
    • Anti-inflammatory Properties: Elderberry may help reduce inflammation due to the presence of flavonoids and anthocyanins in the plant.
    • Antioxidant Effects: Elderberry has a high antioxidant content, which might protect cells from oxidative stress and damage.
    • Antiviral Activity: Components in elderberry have shown in vitro to inhibit the replication of some viruses.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Sambucus nigra 'Eva' can be used for natural dyeing purposes, with its leaves and bark producing different shades of green and brown.
    • The wood of the Black Lace Elderberry is suitable for making small instruments like whistles and flutes due to its easily hollowed branches.
    • As a wildlife garden plant, it provides shelter and food for birds and beneficial insects, contributing to biodiversity.
    • The flowers can be infused to make a fragrant and natural room freshener or added to potpourris.
    • The foliage can be used as a natural pest repellent in gardens since some pests dislike the scent of elderberry leaves.
    • Branches of Sambucus nigra 'Eva' can be used in basketry and weaving crafts, offering an interesting purplish hue to the finished products.
    • Its dramatic dark foliage offers an artistic medium for photographers and artists to use as a striking background or subject matter for their work.
    • The plant can serve as a natural indicator of seasonal changes, as the foliage and flowers respond to environmental cues.
    • Elderberry cuttings from pruning can be used in flower arrangements, adding height and a unique texture to the display.
    • In permaculture, the plant is utilized within forest gardens to offer both aesthetic appeal and functionality, such as attracting pollinators and serving as a windbreak.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Black Lace Elderberry is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Black Lace Elderberry is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Protection: The Elder tree, which Sambucus nigra is commonly known as, has long been thought to ward off evil spirits and provide protection to homes and gardens where it is planted.
    • Healing: Elder has a rich history of medicinal use; every part of the plant is believed to have healing properties, symbolizing good health and recovery from ailments.
    • Transformation and renewal: Elder trees are associated with rejuvenation and metamorphosis, as the plant itself can easily regenerate from damaged branches, symbolizing new beginnings.
    • Death and the afterlife: In some mythologies, Elder trees are considered sacred to the goddess of death and rebirth, representing the transition between the worlds and the cycle of life.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Black Lace Elderberry ('Eva') prefers moist but well-draining soil, so water this plant deeply once a week, ensuring you apply enough water to soak the root zone. During hot, dry spells, increase watering to twice a week. Use approximately 1 to 2 gallons per watering session, adjusting for rainfall, as overwatering can lead to root rot. Reduce watering in the fall and water sparingly in winter, only when the soil is dry to the touch. In spring and summer, consistently moist soil is key for healthy growth, but avoid waterlogged conditions.

  • sunLight

    Black Lace Elderberry ('Eva') thrives in full sun to partial shade conditions. It's best placed in a spot where it can receive at least six hours of direct sunlight each day, though it can tolerate some shade, especially in hotter climates. Too little light may result in less vigorous growth and fewer blooms, so aim for a balance of sun and light shading for optimal plant health.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Black Lace Elderberry ('Eva') is hardy and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures; however, it grows best within the range of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It can withstand cold down to about -20 degrees Fahrenheit and can survive up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, though prolonged temperatures at these extremes can be stressful for the plant. Ideal growing conditions are cool to moderate climates with protection from extreme heat.

  • scissorsPruning

    Black Lace Elderberry ('Eva') should be pruned to maintain shape and promote vigorous growth. Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth begins, removing any dead or damaged branches. Additionally, you can prune after flowering to shape the plant or encourage a second bloom. It's typically not necessary to prune annually unless you are shaping the plant or removing dead wood.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Black Lace Elderberry thrives in moist, well-draining soil with a pH of 5.5-6.5. A mix of garden soil, compost, and peat moss can create an ideal environment for healthy growth. Regular mulching helps maintain moisture and soil structure.

  • plantRepotting

    Black Lace Elderberry, being a large shrub, is not commonly repotted as it's usually planted directly in the ground. If grown in a container, it should be repotted every few years when it outgrows its pot or the soil becomes depleted.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Black Lace Elderberry prefers moderate humidity levels but is quite adaptable and can thrive in the varying humidity conditions typically found outdoors in its hardiness zones.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Not ideal for indoors; requires full sun, space.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in well-draining soil, full sun.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-7 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The Black Lace elderberry ('Eva'), as commonly known, begins its life cycle when a seed germinates, typically in early spring. After sprouting, the seedling stage ensues, with the young plant developing roots and shoots. As it matures into a vegetative stage, the elderberry starts to form its distinctive dark purple, almost black foliage and woody stems. The reproductive stage follows, typically in late spring or early summer, when small, pink flowers bloom in large clusters, attracting pollinators. Following pollination, the flowers develop into small, dark purple-black berries by late summer or early fall, which harbor seeds for the next generation. Finally, the plant enters a period of dormancy during the winter months, shedding leaves and resting until the next growth cycle begins in spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The Black Lace Elderberry, known botanically as Sambucus nigra f. porphyphylla 'Eva', is most commonly propagated by softwood cuttings. The optimal time to take these cuttings is in late spring to early summer, when new growth is mature enough yet still pliable. To do this, a 4 to 6 inch cutting is taken just below a leaf node, the leaves at the lower end are removed, and the cutting is dipped in rooting hormone to facilitate root development. It is then placed in a mixture of peat and perlite or a similar well-draining medium and kept moist. With consistent warmth and humidity, roots should begin to form within a few weeks, after which the new plants can eventually be transplanted outdoors.