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'Guiton' Red Elder Seed


Latin Name: Sambucus racemosa


Family: Caprifoliaceae

Native Range: Native to most regions of Canada and northern United States.

Seed Source: Natural stand of red elder near Thunderhill, Manitoba.

Height and Spread: 3m x 2m (5 years)

Overview: 'Guiton' red elder is a medium fruit-bearing shrub that is valuable for wildlife habitat. The seeds train was named in honour of William Guiton a tree planting technician at the Dominion Forest Nursery Station from 1913 to 1931. 

Fruits: A round single-seeded bright red cherry, 0.5 cm in diameter. Large clusters of small, bright red, fleshy berries appear in summer.

Average number of seeds/packet: 2,250


Stratification: Pre-soak seed for 24 hours then stratify in moist sand (10 percent moisture) for 90 days at 20C followed by 120 days at 5°C.

Ideal sowing time: Non-pretreated seed outdoors in late September (will germinate the following spring) or stratified seed in spring.

Sowing instructions: Outdoors - Sow 2.0 cm deep, 50 seeds/meter; Greenhouse - sow 3 seeds per cell.

Growing conditions: ‘Guiton' Red elder favors deeper, loamy sands and silts and nutrient-rich sites with good drainage, ample moisture, and a pH of 5.0 to 8.0. It is shade tolerant but prefers a sunny exposure.


'Guiton' red elder is used in Eco-Buffers and wildlife habitat plantings. Its dense roots and rhizomes make it useful for soil stabilization and erosion control on moist sites including streambanks. Red elder provides fair to good food and cover for birds plus small and large mammals. Hummingbirds collect nectar from the flowers.