Mystery Tree

Asked November 8, 2017, 12:27 PM EST

We came across this blossom on a tree yesterday. The leaves resemble elderberry leaves. The base of the tree has many trunks. It is on the edge of the woods but could be an “escaped” domestic/ornamental...Any idea what it could be?

Clackamas County Oregon

3 Responses

The pink stems and few dark berries do look like elderberries (Sambucus) to me, as a first guess. Perhaps other experts will recognize this and chime in here.
Post some photos of the whole plant and leaves, bark, if possible. A positive identification from only one plant part is seldom possible. We don't offer advice on edibility of plants or berries because positive identification is so difficult with photos.

At first glance, this fruiting structure does appear to be something akin to American elderberry (Sambucus canadensis). Alternatively, there are a few features that do not seem consistent with Sambucus but rather more like an Aralia spp. Aralia cordata is a common landscape plant in Oregon and its fruiting structure appears similar to the one in the picture, though I understand that there are other Aralia species that could be candidates. My best guess is that this plant is an Aralia escapee from a nearby garden.

California spikenard (Aralia californica)?