The red elderberry is a locally common shrub or small tree that grows to 30 feet in height. All parts of the plant are poisonous if eaten, though apparently the berries can be eaten if cooked, but overall the plant is best ignored. It has clumps of small white flowers in the same general shape as the berry clump. This contrasts with the blue elderberry which makes quite a good jam. It's hard to tell the plants apart, but the flower group of the blue elderberry is flatopped as compared to the red flower groups that are somewhat pointed.
Seasonally, the Red elderberry seems to come on much earlier.